Fresh from an effusive Jay Rayner write up today, we decided to pop in here for some early pre gig food this afternoon.
We were there for 3, when they open for food on a Sunday.
Asked if we could eat - yes no problem. Decided we would first sit and have a drink and then move into restaurant area once a few more people showed up. It was literally empty af this point.
We explained this to them when we sat down as they tried to give us cutlery in the bar/coffee area but we explained we’d rather sit in the restaurant when ready to eat. Yes, no problem.
One hour later - we are ready to eat - can we go through?
We are asked- Do you have a reservation?
No we don’t- as we explained when we arrived.
Sorry no - fully booked.
Eh ? There are literally two occupied tables ( very much per the Rayner review).
Okay we’ll check….
Sorry no we have a date night on tonight and all tables are booked in the next hour.
Hmmm okay but we did say when we arrived and no one told us this. Sorry our mistake- we thought you said you had a reservation. Now this is total BS as why did they offer to seat us in the bag if they thought we’d booked the restaurant.
But hey, y’know, we are here now and hungry so let’s roll with it.
We’ll eat here then… and keep a close eye on the clock.
One hour later.
We have had some good food. Lovely anchovies and scoffable flatbread. Outstanding pea ‘smash’/ hummus.
Ace chips !
But really what we wanted was the Arctic roll and maybe their custard and rhubarb combo to see if it was more deftly handled than it was at the French.
They came to clear our plates and asked if we wanted the bill literally as they pick the last plate from the table.
No thanks we are fancying something sweet to follow……
And then we wait
No one comes near for a full 15 minutes
We had open menus in front of us.
We discuss them not ten feet from the staff .
We close them.
We wait some more.
There are staff all over the gaff as it’s dead.
We start to get annoyed and forget we wanted pudding.
In the end we asked for the bill.
Then we asked them to take the service charge off.
No one even asked why.
No manager came near us.
On my way out I went and spoke to one of the chefs. Told him the story. Explained we had been given a personal recommendation from someone in the street, as well as seeing it in Rayner’s column.
Told him how we’d been bullsh*ted about a table in the restaurant- not a single extra table came in during that hour. Said to him it’s almost criminal this - you are cooking great food but the place will remain empty if your front if house staff have this kind of attitude.
He seemed like a nice guy but may have been quite junior.
He thanked me for the feedback and said he hoped we’d come back.
After I was made to feel so welcome?
I give it six months, Rayner seal of approval or no.
It’s easy to be nice and serve a well known food critic but it’s us middle aged farts who will actually put repeat business your way if you treat them with just a little bit of care.
Manchester 2 visitors 0.