I don't like writing bad reviews and I always try to be fair in my restaurant reviews so it is difficult for me to send this out but I think it is important simply because the service we received was beyond diabolical.
Last Friday, I arranged a small Christmas dinner at Jamie's Italian in Angel/Islington. I've been to the Covent Garden branch before and wasn't that blown away by it but you can never fairly judge a restaurant based on one visit.
Our party was a small 12 top at 3pm in the afternoon. We decided to have an early ‘dinner’ so we can relax and enjoy the night. Let's start with the positives:
Atmosphere: I do like this about Jamie's. It was warm and cozy. The restaurant was very big and the decor was very eye catching and atmospheric. The Christmas tree at the entrance really added some festive flare. 8/10
Food: We had the Christmas party menu. The antipastis were not bad. The waiter accidentally dropped a bowl of food on our side but he was very apologetic and brought back another portion as soon as he could. The flavors were balanced, the presentation is satisfying, no complaints there. Most of us had the Porchetta which was beautifully slow roasted and the taste was great. My colleagues who had the chicken and the vegetarian option were all impressed as well. The only thing that let down the food part is the dessert. I can't judge the others but I had the Amaretto chocolate pudding. Mine came..UNCOOKED. I mean, the chef literally plopped the cold pudding onto a place, scooped some ice cream and served it to me. I was pretty sure the pudding was suppose to be warm…anyway, told the waiter, he was apologetic, brought me another one. It was just okay. 7/10 overall
Now the bad parts:
The hostess. Someone needs to teach that girl the proper way to be a hostess. A hostess is the first person you see when you walk in. She was a. not friendly. b. not smiling and c. down right rude. I arrived a bit early, about 5 minutes early because I wanted to set up the table with some Christmas trinkets. She told me the tables were not ready. Not a single tone of apologies, just 'please take a seat *over there* (pointing at the bar) and we'll let you know when it's ready. She did not let me know, I had to ask again to another hostess who said, oh yes, your table is ready, let me take you. When she took me to our section, the server was still finishing setting up, which was fine. What wasn't fine was when the first rude hostess girl came up and said, ‘you have two hours and 15 minutes to dine. Thanks.’ then walked off! I stopped her and said, um…excuse me? It's a 3pm reservation. I looked around, the restaurant was not even half full. She then looked at me and said, 'you've signed the terms and conditions. Thanks.' I'm sorry but has this girl had too much botox or she just has no ability to smile? She walked off again then came back to me waving the terms and conditions in my face. Fine, even if we only have 2 hours and 15 minutes to dine, I'd expected her to be a. professional and b. not act like a reservation tyrant. I've been a hostess, I've been a server, I've been a restaurant manager, never have I ever come across someone so crash and rude. If this is who you want as the first person to represent your restaurant, there is something seriously wrong.
I wish I could say the rest of the services were flawless but I can't. Half of the time we couldn't find our server. Random people coming over taking our drink orders that took forever to turn up. An extra bottle of Prosecco appeared on our table and when I asked the table who ordered it, no one said yes. When I asked the waiter who ordered it, he said, 'I don't know, someone just told me to bring it over.' Disorganized much? When the food slowly arrived, you had one poor food runner who obviously was not supplied with a tray because he was bringing the food one 2 plates at a time. By the time we all got the food and the sides, some of our food were cold from waiting for the others to arrive. Then of course, lastly, the uncooked dessert mentioned above.
The final icing on the cake: Dessert took ages to arrive and I had to wait for my replacement dessert. We were then told, ‘you have ten minutes .’ I can understand it if we were just hanging out on the table not drinking, not eating, not doing much but we have just received our dessert no more than 8 – 10 minutes ago and we weren't even given a chance to enjoy it. We weren't even offer coffee or aperatifs. On average it took 10 – 15 minutes for an order of beer to arrive. Took another good 30 – 45 minutes for the main to arrive then we were given a measly 8 – 10 minute to finish our desserts and pack up and leave. Yes, we were given the option to sit at the bar and ‘continue to enjoying our drinks’ but by then, I think everyone was so defeated by the lack of service, we just wanted to leave. We were also told they will send some mince pies to the bar which they did, after I ask another waiter after 20 minutes of waiting in the bar, what's happened with the mince pies.
Overall experience: 5/10
I think if I wasn't so annoyed with the hostess' rudeness from the very beginning, I probably would've been more forgiven. Bless our waiter who tried his best but it just looked like his station was bombarded and he had no help.
They need to seriously consider retraining their staff or hire more competent ones.