I visited The Rookery this Sunday gone (22 Oct 2017) as during the winter months my fiancé and me go out for a roast as often as we can. This Sunday we invited some friends out with us to visit Clapham and based off a quick google search and the fact that we could get a table, we chose The Rookery.
Our guests arrived first and 20 minutes early to be met by a less than welcoming member of staff who apparently couldnt quite get his head around the fact that they were early. When we joined all seemed to be going well, we ordered drinks and a selection of the tapas style starters from the decent menu. However when the starters arrived and we asked if it would be possible to have side plates, we were told by the same member of staff (mentioned earlier) that there weren’t any clean side plates and to make do before he scurried off. Realising this wasn’t right, I got up and had to ask another member of staff if we could have four side plates to which he agreed. When our roasts came they were off decent quality, the roast potatoes were particularly good but if i were nitpicking the portion side of the roast beef was very small.
We ordered deserts, a third member of staff to wait our table took the order (not using a pen & paper) and surprise suprise got the order slightly wrong. One of our guest ordered the 'sticky toffee pudding with warm toffee sauce’ as described on the menu. When it arrived the pudding itself was cold and dry as if it had been sat out for some time, but far more frustrating was the sheer lack of 'warm toffee sauce', it was as if the chef had dipped a small paintbrush into the sauce and tried to cover as much surface area of the bowl (again cold). Upon asking if it would be possible to have a small jug of extra toffee sauce were informed that it had run out hence why my guest's pudding looked as if it had just fallen out of a Victorian orphanage. To top it all off, when we asked for spoons to eat our respective deserts, there weren’t enough clean spoons so I was provided with a large dirty soup spoon that looked as if it had just been dug up from the back garden.
All the above was annoying but the roast had made up for the lack of service quality - where and why I now vow to never go back to The Rookery is because of the rude and patronising way in which we were treated when paying the bill (£180 for 4 people, so not the cheapest). When asked the question “was everything okay with your meal?”, I calmly explained that the food was good but it was sadly let down by the lack of plates and cutlery and that the toffee pudding was well below par. A young chap stepped in at this stage from behind the bar, we assumed the manager, who didn’t offer any form of apology but instead thought it best to suggest I was being precious for not being happy with having to use a soup spoon to eat my dessert. In addition he then put their failings on us by saying “You don’t appreciate that we are in the middle of a busy service” (the irony of him saying this as he tore off our receipt from the credit card machine). As we left we overheard two other tables raising complaints, I just hope they didn’t get spoken to the way we were.
All in all we left angry, disappointed and insulted. Therefore for anyone who is looking for Sunday lunch options in the Clapham area I would happily suggest The Windmill (opposite the Rookery), The Abbeville (5 mins walk from the Rookery), The Bobbin (in Clapham Old Town), PowderKeg or The Roundhouse (St John’s Hill) and The Avalon (Clapham South) - as far better options; I have been to all of them recently and all have been significantly better experiences than I and my friends had at The Rookery - we don’t intend to go back, ever!