Due to a computer failure, I lost the link to the TellTheChef website and was unable to confirm the meal selection I had made some weeks ago. The lack of a menu on the day meant that I couldn't recall what I'd ordered. A reminder email on the morning or the day before would have helped enormously. I wasn't the only one who had forgotten what they'd told the kitchen. As it was I got the quail instead of the seafood and the turkey instead of the steak.
The quail I found overdone and awkwardly presented between unoriginal grape and chestnut pieces dotted around in the coulis. The turkey, being a stuffing filled roll, was better suited to a kids dinner plate and was almost completely lacking in texture. It also came topped with pork, which I do not eat, but they looked dry and cliched. The vegetables were served in dishes far too heavy to pass comfortably around the table, and there was only one dish of each to go between 24 people, meaning that the food was cold by the time everyone was eating. The service was chaotic and slow, no doubt the size of the kitchen is an issue in this venue, but a serving hatch would have helped. The red cabbage had a peculiar and unpleasant taste and the sprouts were very overcooked. The parsnips, potatoes and carrot were good, being in a light honey glaze. The cranberry sauce again suffered from being only one dish between three tables and was served well after people had begun eating. In fact some people had finished eating before they got sauce.
The wine glass at my place hadn't been cleaned properly and had sharp bits of glass sticking out of the badly made rim, cutting my lip. I think these were very cheap glasses. The wine itself had been tempered, I think, in the kitchen or at least somewhere much warmer than the room in which it was served. It actually seemed like it had been heated, and would have been better served at a few degrees below ambient.
I didn't stay for a coffee course, if one was included. I liked the quirky decor, but frankly after the disappointing food I wasn't wanting to hang around. The presence of an overwhelming number of Rentokill boxes in the bar area was less than reassuring. One or two in discrete places, one expects, but they were everywhere.
This meal was quite a let down and I couldn't recommend The Fentiman Arms to anyone on the basis of this experience.