26 November 2009
I had the gross misfortune of dining here last night in celebration of a family birthday. As we entered and took our seats we turned to oneanother and commented on the coldness of the room. We asked for the heating to be turned up on two occasions, a request which was eventually grudgingly met by the manager. I and three others at the table ordered steak frites (usually my favourite dish) with foie gras for starters. I didnt know where to look when the tiny caramelized portion of foie gras turned up, accompanied by some fairly pretentious dribbles of ‘jus’ It tasted much as I'd imagine dog food to, with a revolting cloying texture. I was prepared to overlook this at this point, however, but one of our party wrapped the entire thing in a handkerchief to throw away. My brothers onion soup had a broad strata of oil about half an inch deep across the top. The onions in the soup were undercooked and acid tasting. Sugar had clearly been added to counteract this, resulting in a revolting mess.
After the dishes were cleared, we endured a twenty minute wait for the main course. Drinks were delivered painfully slowly too, odd for a restaurant that appeared to only have four tables occupied. The table next to us also sent back a cold steak as we waited for ours.
The main course eventually arrived delivered in a characteristically surly fashion. I tucked in, eagerly anticipating a textured juicy steak with bearnaise sauce. I was met with a texture that resembled cotton wool. It tasted as if the steak had been frozen at some point. After one mouthful, I decided to give the steak a miss. I would say the chips were sub Mc donalds standard, actually grossly unfair, they were sub Mc Cains microwave standard, wooden flavourless, and dry. The steaks went back to the kitchen largely uneaten. The bearnaise sauce tasted like it had come from a sachet, awful. My sisters mussels also remained largely uneaten too, and duly sent back.
By this point we'd made the decision that this establishment was a dead loss, so decided not to dare with dessert or coffee. I made contact with the manager discreetly away from the table and told him in a very measured respectful tone that the food and service was not satisfactory. I didnt want to make a big fuss as this was a family occasion, and it really is not in my nature to complain, but I thought that as the manger he might want to know that his business was not up to scratch in this repect. I was met with a barrage of questioning as to why I didnt enjoy it in a pretty aggressive fashion. I didnt seem to be enough for the manager that no-one at the table enjoyed their food, and I was made to feel as if it was in some way my fault that the food was so poor. The managers attitude was extraordinary, he kept repeating that he has many customers and that the food was fine, so it was essentially my problem.
Eventually he returned to the table, and had subtracted service from the bill along with one steak, despite the plates piled with uneaten food. The bill still came to over 160GBP for the 6 of us.We were made to feel unwelcome and unwanted by the manager. What a relief to be out of there!
All in all, a supremely depressing experience. Lazy, conceited and just embarrassing. This was nothing like any of the fine french restaurants Ive dined in over the last 30 years, more of a parody. It was a pale facsimilie of a restaurant, with no atmosphere, very poor food, dire service and complete disrespect for their customers.