I have been a regular diner at Kensington Place since it opened, but have noticed over the last few times the beginning of the rot that blights restaurants that either feel they don't have to make an effort anymore or start employing staff that definitely give that impression. My visit last Friday showed off the above two traits admirably and explains why that visit will be my last. My wife, twelve year son and I arrived at the restaurant at 9 pm. The welcome was a little strained and for some reason we watched as our original table was hastily changed to one near the bar and wedged under an over hang. We then waited …and waited. I noticed the table next to us were also looking annoyed. Trying to catch a waiters eye was impossible so I stood up to get the managers' attention. He seemed genuinely concerned that I was standing up, but completely ambivalent to the fact that we hadn't been given any menus , bread , butter …recognition! We were then offered drinks which duly arrived and our waiter who seemed genuinely surprised we had interrupted his evening came over with a half empty basket of stale bread. KP used to be well known for its home baked breads and was something that you would never think would be allowed to decline. The waiter was more than happy to say that this was the only bread we were going to be offered. . My elder son then arrived, but with no one meeting or greeting at this stage I had to get the barman out of the cellar to take his coat and bag.
The menu has evolved into a single sheet and now shows signs that it is being written by a chef who has no experience of front of house, no interest or knowledge in his clientele and devised with his own ego at the fore front. Struggling to find something on the menu that actually sounded appealing I resorted to the sirloin steak. When I ordered this from our nonchalant waiter, (no pad, no interest, no charm) I was told that it was served medium rare. Fair enough , but I asked mine to be cooked a little more and served medium. There then followed the most unforgivable, arrogant and depressing reply. The steak…my steak I was informed, could only be served medium rare. The waiter without noticing my disbelief then tried to give me some story that the chef only wants it to heat the meat to 55 degrees. As this conversation was now heading towards farce I asked to see the manager. He also said that the chef would only serve the steak medium rare , but then lost the plot completely by saying that it could also be served well done. My protestations that I was the customer went unheeded, my idea that the chef could perhaps just pull the steak off the heat earlier on the way to cooking it well done did not receive any consideration..only the blank passionless argument that the chef only wanted to or was only capable of serving the steak those two ways. I was still in disbelief and shock when I looked at my two sons and realised that this sort of rudeness, arrogance, crassness and incompetence was not something I ever wanted them to think should ever be considered acceptable as customer service. We left straight away, not eating, hugely disappointed and fuming. I will never go back, the great thing about London is there is so many places that try hard and realise that customers aren't a never ending supply. That attitude was something that caterers fooled themselves into thinking was the case twenty years ago …we have all grown up a lot more since then and we have all witnessed the casualties of that misguided notion. I hope this review will put off enough people so the owner will realise that a re-think and review is essential and that remembering that putting the customer first again is only the start on what will then be a long road to recovery.