I recently visited Chicama after many good meals there and had a shockingly bad experience. I complained politely about the meal and service (see my email at the bottom of the thread) and received the below from the owner. I do not usually write bad reviews about restaurants but felt obliged to share this....
The thing about being a restaurateur in todays economic climate, with the tornado of uncertainty that is Brexit looming over us all, is that more than ever before, we are given the chance to meet people at both their best and worst; the middle ground, apparently, is now a thing of the past.
The problem is that people nowadays tend to mistake kindness for weakness and want to try and squeeze as much as they possibly can out of business owners.
After reading your initial email, I sent you an offer of my hospitality, which, had you at the very least shown any sense of grace or gratitude about, would have resulted in you gaining so much more than I had initially mentioned.
I had cc’d in Tomer to assist with the arrangement of providing you with our best table and offered you a pair of complimentary free drinks and a pair of complimentary desserts. I would have personally insured that everything was absolutely perfect for you and undoubtedly provided an abundance of other complimentary treats.
After watching this matter unfold further, I came to realise that I had made an unfortunate error in offering this to you, which I hope you can forgive me for.
The quotes below are from your email responses to my hospitality…
“I would have expected that you invite us back to experience a meal.”
“I am disappointed by your response and look forward to hearing from you”.
“Have you had a chance to consider my email below?
I do not think your original response was satisfactory.”
I am not quite sure whom on earth you think you are addressing in this manner; perhaps you are constantly surrounded by lackeys and treat everyone with the same unfounded sense of self-importance. Speaking to me, however, in this imperious and rather dictatorial manner will get you absolutely nowhere.
I bid you good day, Madam.
Wheelbarrows full of love to you, from Nacho and the Pachamama family XxxX
MY ORIGINAL EMAIL
I wanted to bring to your attention the terrible experience my husband and I had at your restaurant last night. I have been to Chicama many times before, often for lunch and mid week dinners. I’ve always been pleased with the food and service so I decided to book it for dinner last night with my husband. The whole experience was shocking from beginning to end.
We were seated at a tiny table at the end of the row in front of the food station where your waiters and waitresses collect the food from. The table was so small that it could only fit two small dishes on the table at any time so we constantly spent the evening trying to quickly eat the food on the table as the next dish had arrived and there was nowhere to put it. Further and most annoyingly because too many tables were crammed into the restaurant, every single time someone passed my husband and my chairs, they hit against them. His was even worse as it was on the main passage to the front of the restaurant. This was extremely irritating.
We ordered a bottle of Chablis for £63. After about 3/4 minutes trying to open the bottle, the waitress had to allow my husband to open it for her. Not what we expect at a restaurant like Chicama, or indeed any restaurant.
During the meal, I accidentally hit my wine glass against my water glass and the stem of the glass snapped off. The wine was fine, I was holding the top part of the glass and I note it was a freshly poured full glass of wine. There was a waitress next to us at the time holding two empty wine glasses. We asked if she could pour it into one of the empty glasses but she took my full glass away and came back with an empty glass for me. We asked her why she threw away the full glass of wine and she said I wouldn’t be charged for it. A few minutes later a bar staff member came with another glass of wine but said it wasn’t the same. We had chosen the Chablis for a reason.
I complained to your manager about the above and he told me that the staff were new. They should have been trained properly before being allowed start working.When I mentioned the issues with the table, the manager told me to ask for table 18 next time. Every table in your restaurant should allow your customers an enjoyable experience. He agreed not to add service charge but made no deduction for the wine as the other waitress had promised. At this stage we were so fed up, we wanted to get out of the restaurant as quickly as possible, although we had only been there about 80 minutes. I paid the bill of £154.
It was the worst experience I have had in recent years in London. I should add that the food was delicious as always but our experience was ruined by the above.
I wish to give you the opportunity to investigate this complaint and respond to me with your findings and comments.
I look forward to hearing from you.