There’s definitely a fine line between the enjoyment of food, and food snobbery to the point of being insufferable at the dinner table; think those who claim they can taste the minute differences between the caviar of the Caspian and the Black Seas. The latter form the majority of the group in “The Menu” that attend the remote restaurant “Hawthorn”, with the patrons from the parvenu aristocracy flaunting their wealth to pay for more than just a meal, but more so an experience.
The story begins with Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), a self-declared foodie, who takes along his female companion Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) to the exclusive restaurant, accessed solely by boat. As they wait for the transport to arrive, they are joined by other diners, including a famous food critic, an actor and some other folk who seemingly only want to spend their riches because what else is there to spend money on, but a teaspoon serving of raw fish on top of a literal rock?
The menu of molecular gastronomy is served up by Chef Julian Slowik, simply known by the staff as ‘Chef’ (Ralph Fiennes), and sees Tyler in tears of joy as he tries relentlessly to find the emotion in a bread-less plate of bread with accompaniments, the irony of which accompany absolutely nothing at all. The food critic Lillian Bloom (played by Janet McTeer) and her editor, the equally pretentious Ted (Paul Adelstein) devour the elements in pea-size portions, and really try their hardest to see the whole menu unfold as a performance just for them.
Over the evening, however, the vision for Chef Slowik slowly unravels as the guests begin to question what is being served up, and the surprises that are served up are probably beyond what they all intended on paying their big bucks for.
Director Mike Mylod has served up a positively delicious black comedy, that does more than just touch the sides of your stomach – it’s satisfying, filling, and a truly original offering. Taylor-Joy is just that, a true joy to watch on the big screen, and it’s quite obvious why she seems to be in every second film that is being released at the moment. Hoult’s character is so laughably pompous, that you’ll find your eyes just unconsciously roll back into your head when he or any of the other pontifical guests try to put their two-cents in about the overpriced seawater being served up to their tables. However it is Fiennes that is the true standout in “The Menu”, with his chaotic and unique nature first of all being a pleasure to watch on screen, and secondly his dry quips being something to look forward to as much as the upcoming course.
For foodies and the easily pleased alike, “The Menu” is a carte de jour for everyone. Now I’m off to grab a cheeseburger.