Heard the one about the restaurant that told diners not to eat its food...? Well that would be Nobu, the celebrated sushi restaurant, which is advising diners to avoid ordering an endangered fish.And what’s wrong with that?
The chain, whose customers include Brad Pitt and Kate Moss, has put a notice on menus at its London restaurants warning customers that the bluefin tuna served for up to £32 a time is "environmentally challenged", adding: "Please ask your server for an alternative."
The slebs who want to wave their eco-credentials in each other’s faces will seize on the chance to declare their support for endangered species and select another overpriced dish to push around their plates for a while before leaving to do a few lines of coke at some nightclub, while those who don’t give a stuff for the latest eco-fad will have a nice meal.
But it doesn’t suit the campaigners, of course, who would prefer no-one had a choice at all:
The advice is a novel concession to a five-year campaign against Nobu's refusal to stop stocking the bluefin, a fish once so plentiful that it fed Roman legions but which now hovers on the brink of extinction.It seems to me that the greens aren’t very certain of their message, if five years later, people are still ignoring them.
Nobu's new policy, featured in a new feature film about the destruction of the world's fish stocks released next month, has bemused conservationists. "They shouldn't sell endangered species. They should change their menu to incorporate a fish that's sustainable and not one that's critically endangered," said Giles Bartlett, senior fishers policy officer for WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund.That’s a lot of ‘shoulds’ there, isn’t it?
Just why should they bow to pressure from a small bunch of politically motivated campaigners? Particularly as it’s likely to cost them a pretty penny:
Tom Aikens, the Michelin-starred restaurateur, said bluefin was probably one of Nobu's three best-selling fish and its withdrawal would hit the chain's profits hard.Err, Tom, I think you just answered your own question there as to why they don’t….
He described its advice to diners as "very peculiar."
"That's insane," said the chef, who stocks environmentally-friendly fish such as line-caught cod, ling and gurnard. "If you're serving it you shouldn't say don't order it. It's contradictory. They should take it off."