Yesterday (12/11/10) my husband and I went to Fredericks. It was Friday, but it was early, 6pm, so fairly quiet. You could tell it was quiet, as there were waiting staff standing around. Unfortunately, standing around looking bored does not mean being attentive to customers.
Our menus came. However, it was almost 10 minutes before a waiter came to take our order. We ordered our meal and wine. I'd finished my water and my husband had almost finished his. The waitress came to change the cutlery. Not a single word was said to us, no hello, nothing. Nor did she notice that we needed more water. Wine arrived halfway through our starter. We asked the waiter for water. He disappeared. Starters finished and we waited patiently for our water… Eventually we had to ask another waiter for it.
I'm quite happy to pour my own wine, but if Fredericks insists on keeping the bottle with the waiting staff, I think it is their responsibility to ensure that our glasses are filled. Yes, you guessed it, we finished our wine. I pointed out to my husband that there were four members of staff standing near the serving area and not noticing our empty wine glasses. I bet him that if I went to the loo, I'd come back and still find our wine glasses empty. I won the bet, so we had to ask the waitress for our wine.
The mains arrived at c.6.50pm, steak and chips. Firstly, Fredericks may think it looks attractive to have a steak on a plate and then the bearnaise sauce in a little pot on the plate and chips on a dish also placed on the plate, but all this ‘fancy stuff’ does is tell the diner that the restaurant is trying to make the plate look full when the steak is small and there are hardly any chips on the plate. Anyway I asked the waitress for mustard and Worcestershire sauce and then waited and waited and waited for it… Meanwhile my meal was getting colder and colder and seven minutes later she came back with the sauces. Regardless of how many dishes they crammed on the plate, the steak was tough and gristly. It was of such poor quality it was more like an onglet than a rump steak.
Oh, yes, then our wine glasses were empty again. This time the staff weren't standing around, even worse some of them were walking up and down the dining room, unfortunately just exercising, not being attentive, as none of them noticed the empty wine glasses so we had to ask again. I said to the waiter 'Please just fill my husband's glass', obviously they have listening problems too, as he still filled mine.
The only thing that arrived quickly was the bill, but even that was fraught, as the waitress couldn't get a signal with the machine… Oh well, more fool me for expecting anything less.
We were very disappointed with our visit as in the past although the food has been ‘ok’ what made up for it was the good service. I hope last night's experience was not a sign of how service is going to be in the future. However, I doubt very much if we'll find out too soon, as it may be a long long while before we return after that experience!
Meanwhile if any reader is looking for a decent steak and chips in the area, last time I went to the Wenlock and Essex it had a pretty large steak and loads of chips for £12! Much better value and more importantly tastier than Fredericks' pre-threatre ‘rump’.
Certainly not a contender for Ramsey’s Best Restaurant in terms of food or service.