A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I had a pretty fab Sunday lunch in The Old Dairy. Good food, good service and good enough for a return visit, which we duly made yesterday. This time, things were different. The (unbooked) table we were given was on the ant trail between the restaurant and the bar, so there was constant, clumsy traffic past us. For most of the meal we had at least three toddlers being followed round and round the table by a succession of doting parents, as if we were a toddler airport and they were circling to land.
Ah yes, the food. My roast beef, ordered medium, was obviously off the ragged end of whatever industrial-sized meat lump the kitchen was currently hacking away at. Fatty and tasteless, most of it was left on the plate. The gravy was Oliver Twist-thin and the vegetables – including the potatoes – were watery and not roasted (not very much, anyway). The single cabbage leaf managed to give the whole thing a nasty, school-dinner aftertaste. A complaint to the manager brought the offer of taking the main off the bill, which is fine, but a table that complains is often then over- or under-attended by the staff. We got the latter. We suspect they had been given a rollicking and now morale was heading south. Coffee had to be re-ordered, processing the bill was tortuous and the manager wouldn’t meet my gaze on the way out.
Too big and too busy – good-bye for, ooh, let’s say, one year.