All reader reviews by Judith

The Fire Stables

It's not often that I get the urge to review a bar or restaurant but I've twice now made a mental note to do so after visiting the Fire Stables. Being a local to the area I've visited this bar and restaurant on a number of occasions and I'm sad to say that the quality of the food and service has become increasingly disappointing.

The Fire Stables has great premises in a fabulous location in the centre of wimbledon village but if the management think that this alone is enough to sustain successful long term business I believe they will be disappointed. I have twice now given them the benefit of the doubt but I won't be doing so again. My main bug bear apart from the average, somewhat overpriced food (but let's not forget this Wimbeldon village we're talking about) is the service or complete lack thereof from the waiting staff and the management.

Three visits ago I went for a meal with a friend and ordered a glass of wine with dinner. When the bill arrived they charged us for a bottle. Easy mistake to make granted but rather than apologise and correct the bill, the waitress argued with me and only when I pointed to the single glass did she apologise and correct the bill.

The next time I visited was with four friends. To cut to the chase most of us had a three course meal with aperitifs, wine and coffee. The meal was ok. We all fancied the same starter but there was only one left. Not a big deal as I think if you visit a gastro pub using what you hope to be fresh ingredients, popular dishes will likely run out at bsome point in the evening. After a pleasant evening, when the bill arrived we noticed a few random drinks which prompted us to run throgh it in more detail. In the event, it transpired they had over-charged us by well over £100. Given that this wasn't the first time this had happened to me, we politely pointed out the errors and asked if the waiter could please send over the manager. With a smaller amount we really wouldn't have bothered but for this sum it seemed warranted. There was no apology from the waiter who a few minutes later placed an adjusted bill on the table with no further comment. We had to call him over again and ask if the manager was coming. His response was that the bill had been adjusted. Still no apology. At this point two of us went to find the manager ourselves. After waiting at the bar for a few minutes I explained the situation to the manager who she said she had been too busy to come over and had asked him to re-adjust the bill. Still no apology. Only when I pointed this out did we actually get one. It transpired that the people at the table before us had paid with vouchers and they hadn't cleared the outstanding payment on their billing system from our table. I work in sales and am fully aware that accidents do happen, however a little customer service or a swift apology usually goes a long away. In such circumstances, I wouldn't normally expect to have to ask for one.

Two or three months later I had a friend to stay and we were planning a night out in the village. You really would have thought I'd have learned by now but ever the optimist I was still hoping that The Fire Stables I formerly knew and loved might have sprung back to life. I think the writing was however on the wall when we went in on a Friday night at 8pm and the restaurant area was half empty (this place used to be heaving). Two waiters were working that night. One seemed very attentive and pleasant (sadly he wasn't looking after our table), the other was the same waiter we had last time. The food came quickly but was nothing to write home about although there was a reasonable selection for my friend who's a vegetarian. The service was once again however exceptionally poor with a series of grunts and mumbles from the waiter. He was pretty much in his own world and spent most of his time re-arranging salt and pepper pots ot the service desk while customers tried to get his attention. There was also clear tension between the two waiters who had a quite blatant argument over in the service area.

Per the guidelines of this site, I have drawn the managements attention to what I personally consider to be poor service but I can only assume that the staff are picking it up from the management's 'easy come easy go' attitude. I think this is a huge shame. If they could improve the food and maybe show a bit more interest in customer service I think they could turn this around but I can't see this happening any time soon.

Sadly, I for one won't be returning any time soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 5 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 4

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