Along with no booking policies, restaurants that have a "concept" and Spurs, I'm not a fan of restaurants only letting you have a table for a set time period (anywhere from one-and-a-half, to the slightly odd two-fifteen at Lurra). That said, if you do have a policy, please respect it. Turning up at 8.40 for an 8.30 table, I expect to be sat straight away. To be told that the earlier sitting still hasn't got their bill is fine, provided you present it to them and move them on; ask them to move to the bar, don't suggest that we wait at the bar, unless you're proffering a free libation. Twenty minutes later still not having been sat, and still having been offered no glass of something to keep us happy is just poor. Poor from the staff, even more poor from the management.
At this stage the restaurant can still recover. It's easy: give glasses of cheap fizz to all, apologise, smile and be obsequious. No; staff at Lurra did not do this. Instead they did precisely nothing. 9.15 for an 8.30 sitting, and the only thing we have is water. No Drinks, no bread, no nothing. That's unforgivable. (It is interesting to note that it wasn't just our table either; four others came in just after us and had the same experience, although come 9.00, we had been sat and they were still standing, as bemused at the lack of interest from the staff or management in their plight as we had been with a similar lack to ours).
At this point, there really is little that the restaurant can do – they've lost their audience. Frankly, we should have left then but, wanting to try the fare that has been so highly praised, we stayed.
The food is ok; the stuffed squid was the standout starter, the bone marrow on sour dough toast perfectly fine (although they might have stopped us ordering this and the sourdough bread, as we didn’t really need both) and the stuffed courgette flowers sadly anaemic: stuffing with salt cod is an interesting twist, but a bland one compared to the more usual goat cheese.
The main, a great slab of beef from a 14 year old animal that had clearly lead a full life, was the standout dish, the one piece perfect for the four of us, coming with some decent chips and a paprika aioli.
The trouble is that the service worse than poor; it was positively poverty stricken. Not one aspect of the service shone: from the moment we crossed the doorsill, to the moment we departed (with no danger of us outstaying our two hour fifteen slot, or even the one-and-a-half we had left), it seemed that all we were there for was to be up-sold to. The steak was easily big enough for four, but we were recommended to get two of them; we told every waitress that one of our number was driving so wasn't drinking, but they just shrugged and filled up glasses anyway, a hand over the top of the glass proving the only way of preventing this. Maybe they didn't understand, maybe they didn't care; whatever the reason, serious attention needs to be given to the service.
I really liked Donostia (Lurra's sister restaurant over the road), and was looking forward to enjoying a relaxing evening with friends. Alas, it was nothing of the sort, and I won't be going back for the whole roast turbot; although tempting, life is just too short to waste on bad restaurants.