All reader reviews by Jane R

Le Cafe Anglais

My colleagues and I went to Le Cafe Anglais yesterday, 20th December, for what should have been a celebratory lunch. We had read good reviews of the restaurant. This is not going to be one of them.

There should have been 7 of us, but someone dropped out due to illness. 6 of us were put in Siberia, at a large round table originally destined for 8, in front of a full-length window and in a draught from the kitchen doors. Other tables for 6 were empty throughout the restaurant, but I was told they were all booked. (Not true.) Conversation with each other at our enormous table was extremely difficult as we all had to strain to hear.

After a long wait to try and get anyone to spot our existence, we were able to order. If the staff spent less time drifting about and/or chatting to each other, they might notice that there are customers waiting to be served.

The first courses, when we got them, were good. Not great, but OK. We had arrived for lunch at 1.20pm. Our main courses were served just before 3pm. If they had not arrived when they did, we were about to walk out: not least because at our Arctic table in front of the window, in the draught and under the air-conditioning vent, we were all freezing to death.

The interminable wait did, however, afford us the opportunity to spot the following: (1) dirty floor in the kitchen/food preparation area at front-of-house; (2) food and bits of paper on the floor in front of the preparation area, to both of which the staff remained blithely oblivious - stepping on the paper instead of picking it up; (3) a chef eating at the pass; (4) a lonely bowl of frites sitting on the bar area for 15 minutes, evidently homeless, (5) a similarly lost, refugee green salad left sitting in splendid isolation on the bar area for 30 minutes. The homeless frites eventually arrived at our table, destined to accompany the Dover Sole being eaten by one of my colleagues. Quite why the frites were ready a good 15 minutes before her fish was cooked will remain a mystery. They had, of course, to be sent back as they, like us, were quivering with cold. Rather like the Gratin Dauphinoise to accompany my (good) red mullet. The potatoes were raw.

Coffee, when it arrived, was gratefully received on the basis that it, at least, was hot, so we overlooked the coffee which had slopped down the sides of the cups, paid the bill and left. Not before having asked the girls at reception to which side of Whiteley's I should ask a taxi to wait for us. The girls didn't know the street names.

A relief to get out into a taxi: it was warmer than being in Le Cafe Anglais. No one reading this will be amazed to learn that none of us are going back.

Friday, December 21, 2007
Overall rating 1 stars
Food 1 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 1

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