When the only options on a college menu are listed as ‘TBC’, you question the quality of the food you’re about to receive. Happily, all of Merton’s clunches are carefully planned out with a variety of colourful delights. A friend tells me to ‘expect a plate of brown, served with potatoes’, which, if I’m honest, after drinking a small vineyard worth of wine the night before, I’m all up for. I’m told by a reliable source, however, that I’ve made a big mistake coming to dine on a Saturday. And this from a man who applied solely on the grounds of Merton’s ‘top nosh’. A mistake indeed I seem to have made. Whilst it is well planned, the menu reflects a stunning lack of imagination.
The pork served à la apple baby food looks dry and rather unappealing. The Mertonian sat next to me looked reluctant to even try it, preferring to push it around his plate rather than to sully his taste buds. The carbonara looked edible at least whilst the moussaka was probably the best bit. It looked as palatable as carb upon carb laced with aubergine can be. For once, the grease doesn’t ooze from the *gine as you bring a forkful to your mouth and say a few Hail Marys for the damage you’re about to commit unto your body.
The best bit, ladies and gents, is the fabulous offer. A £3 lunch includes a main with two sides, a soup with bread, a salad bar serving quiche and various meats, and a dessert. I half expected someone to offer me a cheese board and a glass of port at the end, thinking I was so sleep deprived I’d slept through lunch and woken up mid formal. If I lived in Merton, you’d have to roll me out of college by the end of term – Christ knows how I’d look by finals. True, the food is nothing special. The soup is wet: what more can you ask for? It’s as full of veg as you could want, if somewhat lacking in flavour, and the chocolate sponge is top-notch school dinners standard. Luckily, the surroundings are pretty, all be it that getting a group of you onto a bench in hall involves an operation of military proportions and the potential loss of a few from the officer corps should you bring too numerous a group