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I recently had the misfortune to dine in this restaurant on a Friday night. Let me clarify before I continue. The awful experience was as a result of the appalling service and pompous nature of the staff, rather than the quality of the food and the atmosphere of the restaurant.
I dine in similar restaurants on a fairly regular basis and have never before been made to feel the way the staff at Tom Aikens restuarant made me feel. I hardly remember a thing about the food, what I do remember is how the manager proceeded to humiliate me and my partner in front of the entire restaurant.
The issue arose when the manager approached our table and informed us that a spoon had not been returned to the kitchen and he was upset and disappointed as they are very expensive. Confident that we had nothing to do with the issue (as we have no desire to go around stealing spoons) I asked the manager what he was suggesting by approaching us with that statement. He had no other response than to repeat himself, shrug his shoulders and look at us questioningly. Not clear on what he was expecting from me I repeatedly asked what he was suggesting, even once offering to be searched and have my handbag searched. By this stage I was quite upset that a lovely evening had quickly spiralled downwards into false accusations and humiliation, particularly as he had chosen to do it in front of the entire restaurant.
As we left the manager apparently found the spoon under the table and proceeded to accuse us of bending the aforementioned item of cutlery! Constantly expressing how disappointed he was as it was a very expensive spoon, he made us feel even worse.
I am disappointed to say the least.
Firstly, had he dealt with the issue more discreetly the situation might not have been as awful as it was. Secondly, when dining anywhere one should not be made to feel like a common criminal, nor scolded like a small child. Particularly when one has not done anything wrong. Thirdly, it was about a spoon. A spoon. I thought that at a restaurant of this calibre the manager would be trained on discretion and diplomacy.
I vaguely remember the food being delicious, and very clearly remember how I felt at the end of the evening. Upset, humiliated and angry.
Avoid this restaurant if you are afraid you might accidentally drop something or spill something or knock something over. If being treated like a child and being humiliated in public is your thing, then I would highly recommend this restaurant as the food is (from what I can recall) really quite good.
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Food 7 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 1 | Value for money 4
Monday, January 24, 2011
A fabulous lunch. I arrived obscenely early on the coldest day of the year, but they were quite happy for me just to come in and thaw out for a while, read and chat to the waiter about books n stuff while I waited for my guest to arrive. This relaxed but attentive atmosphere set the tone for the rest of the afternoon (yep, we languished happily for hours). The place was by no means full, but whereas some restaurants insist on herding all their customers together into one corner of the dining room (presumably because it's easier for the staff), here we had all the space and privacy we could have wanted.
If the setting and the staff impressed without trying to impress, there was nothing self-effacing about the food. It set out to be spectacular and provided a great show. The languostine risotto was rich and gooey, the roast partridge should know that it laid down its life for a high cause, and the truffle and vanilla panacotta...hmm. In truth, I was running out of puff by the time we reached the desert but fortunately my companion has more staying power and did it full justice (not sure where she puts it all - she's only tiny). The only slightly odd bit was the John Dory with roasted cauliflower which was tasty but a bit weird and ever so slightly overcooked.
But all in all, a wonderful long and lazy afternoon. And the best bit? Well that was the company. Thank you.
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Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 9
Saturday, December 11, 2010
absolutely brilliant, relaxed, intimate , the food was sublime, pretty and the service was wonderful
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Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 9
Sunday, August 15, 2010