11 April 2010
Woe betide anyone who has the gall to complain to the staff about their experience at the Royal China on the Fulham road. To do so will elicit a defensive and aggressive response from the waiting staff, whose approach to customer service appears to be modeled on Faulty Towers, minus the laughs. When our shredded duck was cleared by the waitress, most of it untouched, we commented that it was dry, chewy and overcooked and, therefore not particularly pleasant. “You ate it too slow”, came the response.
Whilst we were mid-main course, the full waiting staff team began cleaning and re-setting the tables around us, talking loudly, and so making us feel uncomfortable and an unwanted presence in their dining room. When the waitress cleared our main course, we commented that we thought this was rather rude and that, at the very least they might have asked us if we minded. “What do you expect, it is 10pm”, came the response.
We asked to have the bill, and to speak with the manager, Rita. What we wanted to say to Rita was that, on the whole, our experience wasn't an especially good one – that some of the food, and the behaviour of the waiting staff, was not very appetising. We wanted to say this, but unfortunately we weren't afforded the opportunity. Instead, Rita shouted at us for having the effrontery to complain to her staff about the food. “No one else has complained; you are meant to eat the food quickly; you will just pay and go”, were the thrust of her comments. Somewhat shocked, we said we expected the manager to adopt a rather different approach in the circumstances and that, at the very least we would like her to offer to have the duck taken from our bill. Eventually and reluctantly she did take the duck from the bill, but all the while continued to shout at us. We certainly won't be going back, if you do go – I'd advise against complaining!