1950s London. In the kitchen of an enormous West End restaurant, the orders are piling up: a post-war feast of soup, fish, cutlets, omelettes and fruit flans. Thrown together by their work, chefs, waitresses and porters from across Europe - English, Irish, German, Jewish - argue and flirt as they race to keep up. Peter, a high-spirited young cook, seems to thrive on the pressure. In between preparing dishes, he manages to strike up an affair with married waitress Monique, the whole time dreaming of a better life. But in the all-consuming clamour of the kitchen, nothing is far from the brink of collapse.