Written on: 13/12/2009
This restaurant has a very good reputation so I was looking forward to our meal celebrating my Birthday. Our table was booked for 19:30. On arrival (19:20) we made our way to the bar and were handed the menu. We sat next to a lovely large open fire to enjoy our pre dinner drinks and choose from the menu. So far so good. After about 20 minutes a jovial old chap (I assume to be the owner) came to take our order. From this point on the dining experience went downhill to what can only be described as farcical.
We sat for about 45 minutes waiting to be taken to our table. There were several other diners who had also booked for a 19:30 sitting who had arrived before us who were also left waiting. Eventually the old chap walked past us and another couple nonchalantly stating without addressing either couple that "its ready" before wandering away again.
As we weren't quite sure what "its ready" was an instruction to do and indeed not knowing where our table was located we sat and waited as did the other couple. After another 30 minutes the old chap re appears to tell us that we should go to our table. He was about to walk off again when we stopped him and asked where our table was located. He looked at his pad and told us we were on table 10 and started to walk off again. Again we stop him and ask where the table is. He tells us to go to the dining room and ask the waiting staff. By this time it is 21:00. So off we troop to a rather small dining room that is jammed with tables and diners such that you can barely get through the gaps. We are shown to our table and sit down. It soon becomes apparent that the table has not been set correctly and that the bottle of wine we had ordered was already opened and sat on another empty table across the dining room. Eventually the waiting staff set the table correctly, retrieve our wine and replace the basket of thinly sliced toast (I can only assume it was from the previous diners) with a new lot.
Because the dining room was so packed it was very noisy to the point that you could not hold a conversation without raising your voice and even then it was difficult to hear what was being said.
Our starter arrived and was ok although by this time we had lost our appetite. Eventually our table was cleared and our main course promptly arrived. I had ordered a rare fillet steak in stilton sauce. A medium to well done fillet steak in gravy arrived but because it was so late and my wife's food was on the table I just accepted it.
The vegetables were served by the waiter. The only greens available were Brussel sprouts which my wife does not like so she just had carrots. Again the food was ok (albeit not what I ordered!) but nothing special.
The table next to us (2 inches away) tried to order coffee. The arrogant waitress said "I don't take coffee orders" and walked off.
By this time we had had enough. We got up and squeezed our way out to the bar and asked for the bill. The bill came to £90. We left without any of the staff acknowledging that our custom was welcomed or indeed any interest in our dining experience.
Given its good reputation I suspect that the proprietor is either a victim of his own success or that he can get by with looking after their regular clients to the cost of first time visitors
So all in all it was a very disappointing evening out for us. The service was poor, the food average and overpriced. We will not be returning.