As I get older, I seem to be more aware of the immensely irritating practices and traits that are ubiquitous in many restaurants. So here they are, in no particular order, my restaurant nightmares…
1) You wouldn’t expect a waiter to pick up your fork and say ‘Open wide now’, would you? So why should I have my glass topped up as soon as I’ve had a sip. Stay the HELL away from my wine.
2) Waiting staff that almost sneer at you if you don’t reek of Prada and just treat you with such disdain. Why on earth would I want to be in an establishment that is determined to make me feel uncomfortable?
3) Nine bazillion percent on wine because a restaurant has a Michelin star. Nuts.
4) Just as bad, the vast majority of restaurants that I visit have sloppy wine lists that are unimaginative and way overpriced.
5) Packing them in. I am not a bloody sardine, neither do I wish to listen in to the neighbouring table’s conversations thank you very much.
6) Italian restaurants charging seventeen quid for a pasta dish. I’m sorry, I just can’t justify it, no matter how much they’re paying in rent and rates.
7) Really awful bread. There is just no need or any excuse in serving white, cotton wool muck that is cheap and nasty.
8) Up selling. I can’t bear it. I’d like a glass of wine please. ‘That’ll be a large glass? Would you care for still or sparkling water?’ Tap actually and wipe that look of disdain off your face.
9) A cover charge. What the hell for? Er, nothing. For sitting there. Sod off.
10) Appalling customer service. Has no one heard of going the extra mile?? Apparently not. People look at me as if I’m a bloody martian if I dare to ask for some lemon and olive oil or extra gravy with my Sunday roast. For god’s sake, they’re supposed to be in the service industry.
Not to end on a sour note, I can happily say that I have some favourite haunts that are consistently fantastic with their wonderful service, food and setting. They are, again in no particular order:-
Il Cibo Holland Park
The Gaylord W1
Pulia London Bridge
Humphrys at Stoke Park, Stoke Poges