When the meal arrived, we suspected something was not quite right. For a start, my partner received about 4 chips while I received a larger pile. The nearby chicken parmigianas came complete with a mountain of chips and a parmigiana large enough to be a small car's hubcap. Our meal on the other hand, was quite different. The eggplant parmigiana itself was tiny, perhaps the size of an average person's palm. Oh well, I thought, quality not quantity. After tasting the eggplant, I was literally eating my words.
The knife provided was woefully ineffective, I found myself sawing away at this strange piece of boot leather and making little progress. Perhaps a local tree lopper would have come in handy at this point. The eggplant was dry, leathery and thin. It consisted of soggy layers of "batter", eggplant with the skin left on (which had the consistency of old boot) and another layer of soggy batter.
I could not bring myself to finish the meal, instead I dissected it out of curiosity and left it for the waiter to collect. When dissected, I noted it resembled Dalek innards (Dr Who fans will know what I'm talking about!).
When cooked properly, an eggplant parmigiana is thick, juicy, trimmed of skin and crumbed and fried. This science experiment was thin, skin heavy, microwaved back to life (or perhaps the undead), possibly frozen and grilled to within an inch of its life. It is my fond hope that pub meals will include vegetarian food more regularly in their menus and employ qualified chefs who have the expertise to er... cook.