Off Menu is one of those funny podcasts that, while technically revolving around a one-time guest per episode, it doesn’t really matter who they are. This is all down to the bizarre yet somehow relatable humour of hosts Ed Gamble and James Acaster, who aren’t only some of the most talented and popular British comedians at the moment but genuine friends who play off each other seamlessly. They are one of the reasons that Off Menu is my favourite podcast, while the other has to be that it revolves solely around food.
Each episode has the same basic format: with the help of the Acaster genie, the celeb is transported to their dream restaurant, where they can choose any drink, starter, main course and dessert. This simple framework allows all kinds of stories to ensue: where did they eat that? What food can’t they stand? Not only are you bound to laugh at the the hosts’ witty criticisms and the celebs’ weird and wonderful stories, but you yourself are transported to uncover a new kind of cuisine or a restaurant which you now feel compelled to try out. That is of course not forgetting when the celeb picks the banned ingredient, upon which they should be thrown out of the imaginary restaurant.
There are an abundance of episodes to enjoy and with new episodes being released in quarantine, this podcast has quickly become a popular favourite for many as well as having won multiple awards; 2019 Online Influence Awards and Pod Bible Poll Winners 2019 to name a couple. Some of the funniest episodes include Joe Lycett, Sophie Duker and Anthony Head as well as American celebs like Noah Schnapp, included in their recent trip to New York. Despite this, every episode feels so casual and lighthearted that it doesn’t matter if listeners are there for the celeb, the hosts, the food or the comedy as they all roll into one, inevitably causing you to become invested in all four elements.
Ultimately, Off Menu provides a relaxing and interesting experience to the listener with frequent laughs throughout and wacky restaurant recommendations (I still mean to re-listen every episode and write down every one). This is definitely a podcast to catch up on, although I warn you that James Acaster spontaneously screaming “POPPADOMS OR BREAD?” at the guest is likely to make you jump every time.
Off Menu is available to listen to here.