Like other reviewers I had a Travelzoo voucher which had to be used by the end of November 2012. I had managed to get a table booked for this last Friday and was told at the time of the booking that the only available time was 7.30pm. This suited me and my boyfriend so no problem there. My only concern at that point was that I hoped there wouldn't be any table turning - I say now at the outset that there is no such policy and the restaurant should be congratulated on that alone.
We arrived a little late (10 mins due to the Circle Line!) and were shown to the Bar and seated, coats and bags taken and a bar menu handed to us with the cocktails included explained. From the outset the service was charming and polite. I was half expecting a rather sneery approach as we were there on a voucher but I think a fair few others were too and the hotel was clearly taking the sensible approach that this made good business sense.
There was a good choice of cocktails. I recall 6 alcoholic and the same non. Unfortunately it took until 8 for someone to take our order for drinks but otherwise fine. The cocktails came with free nibbles and were good. Not the usual watered down variety that one often finds included in offers.
My boyfriend and I were in no real hurry as it was Friday night so we were pretty relaxed about the fact that by 8.30 we hadn't yet been shown to our table. I actually worried that perhaps we should have asked but when I did I was told that the table wasn't yet ready and we would be collected as soon as one was. Again, this was all done in the most charming apologetic way and I have no real complaint about it per se.
We went through to the restaurant at around 8.45 and were both now a little peckish. Here is where the timing of the service really let the place down and it is so sad as the staff were so lovely and teh food was great. We waited 10 minutes for menus, another 20 minutes for someone to take our order, another 15 for wine and so on and so forth. The food when it came was superb, i had the salmon to start and my boyfriend the duck. Both were so beautifully presented and tasted just as good. Likewise main courses, I had teh guinea foul which was sublime and he had the venison which was also superbly cooked. It is also nice to see a restaurant that doesn't push side orders and which serves portions which don't need them in any event. Desert was also beautifula nd delicious.
I honestly cannot fault the food or the staff for their charm. It is really sad that in all of this we didn't finish dinner until nearly 11 and then had to dash to get a train. Given we had arrived at 7.30 that was pretty epic for a three course meal! I couldn't fathom what the problem was either as the restaurant was not full. There was at one point a maximum of 14 tables seated and those were primarily tables of two. There were two waiting staff and a Maitre D'. I waitressed for years at university in a number of different places and have great sympathy with waiting staff for this reason. But it does mean that I could not understand why there was such slow service given that there were 14 tables between 3. I have in the past - and in decent restaurants too not McDonalds! - waited on sections with 15 tables at least and on busy Saturday evenings.
So overall, great. Really really enjoyed the food and the staff were lovely. It was just a very slow experience. I don't want to be rushed in a restaurant but 3 and a half hours from arrival to leaving is a bit of a stretch. Giving the benefit of the doubt it may have been a one off so that is why I am rating this restaurant highly. The service rating is based purely on speed as well as if I could judge it on the staff themselves I would have happily given them a 4 or 5.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.