I had friends visiting from overseas who wanted to try British cuisine. I thought what better than to take them to Bumpkin, which has always done great things with British food. Boy, am I (still) regretting it.
The evening was just a disaster from the outset. I won’t go into all the details but I will pick out the “highlights”. One of my friends ordered steak medium-rare. When it arrived it was clearly not medium-rare. Anyone who has ordered steak even medium before will be aware that when you eat it some light juices should flow from it. Nothing was emitted from this steak, not even flavour. It wasn’t incinerated, but more on the road to medium-well done. We had a dilemma, we either sent it back or my friend would try to get through. Always being the generous type, we decided to give them a second chance and sent it back. The waitress, to her credit, was very apologetic.
However, when her manager brought back the second steak she was far from contrite. She told us she had “checked” the previous steak, it was medium–rare and that next time my friend should order rare steak. So much for the old customer service adage: “the customer is always right”. I don’t know if she was a vegetarian, but most people who order steak regularly, in several jurisdictions around the world (including England), know how they like their steak and how it should arrive. It was a bit like she was trying to tell us that the sky is green. All of us at the table could clearly see that the first steak had not been medium-rare. Importantly, a restaurant manager should never tell a customer how they like their food. Even Starbucks has managed to cotton-on to that concept.
To cover the remaining items in brief, we ordered a side of green vegetables, which never arrived (but somehow made it to the bill). A starter of macaroni cheese was tasteless, milky and devoid of cheese. The mashed potatoes as a side were dry, flavourless and akin to the packet variety. The second batch, which arrived after the first one was returned, was marginally better.
In sum, this was a massive disappointment from a restaurant which used to be great. I was mortified that I had taken my friends here on the assertion that the food was good and that it would be an impressive bit of British flag-flying. If Bumpkin continues in this vein they will lose their regulars. I live just around the corner and often go (went) because it was reliably good and convenient. Now, I will not be going back until I’ve heard that they’ve had a serious shake-up or change of management.