All reader reviews by ateit

Le Vacherin

not good! we went as a table for 2 on saturday night. there is nothing particularly wrong with the food, it's fine enough although not as good looking as the restaurant's web photography makes out.

the problem was the service. the place was full and there were two or three big tables (8 people). clearly the restaurant had taken those bookings on the basis that the kitchen could cope, but from our experience the kitchen and the waiters were unable to do so. we were seated at 2040 and left two hours later having had a starter and a main and had just been offered a menu card for dessert. the gap between starter and main was eternal. the couple on the next table threw a wobbly when their mains eventually arrived. we should have done too but were too hungry by then to bother. I should say that we would happily have had cheese and a dessert but everything had taken so long that we didn't have time and had no idea whether that might take another hour or two.

so, after 2 hours we had had half a meal, and we ordered the bill. despite the obviously ridiculous delays, they were happy to present us (after another delay) with a bill, with 12.5% service charge added to it. we made it clear how dreadful our experience had been and they came back with two pre-dinner drinks removed and no service added. thinking back, it was bad enough that we shouldn't really have paid at all, save perhaps for the bottle of wine.

all in all, a shabby experience. those tempted to go in should consider trying the pub next door instead.

Monday, March 16, 2009
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 7 | Service 1 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 2

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Maybe we were lucky!

We ate at ADATD in mid-December on a busy Saturday night but had none of the problems anyone else has evidently had from the posted reviews; in fact we found the whole experience to be good.

The service was attentive and generous. we both ate the 4 course option which meant a separate full fish and meat course. the halibut and the steak I had were both absolutely delicious, and the rum baba dessert was great fun.

So, we had no problems with the table positioning, we didn't have the cheese course (which sounds ropey from other reviews), we weren't stung for (or offered, thank goodness) the champagne on arrival (have a drink at the Dorchester bar before you arrive instead, they transfer the tab); the wine list was good and prices absolutely standard for this kind of place; the food was correctly cooked, bread and butter appeared at the right moment, the extra courses thrown in all were all welcome, including petit fours on a huge piece of chocolate which you are at liberty to take home.

We've eaten at AD in paris, and several times at his one-star country inn in moustiers. This is not the paris restaurant, which was extraordinary but also much much more expensive than ADATD (really, there was not a bottle of wine at less than £100 in the paris restaurant). the food is pretty similar to the moustiers restaurant in quality, probably better, but more expensive obviously given the London venue.

We've also had much worse meals in London at the usual michelin starred options (Lindsay House springs to mind). Admittedly, we've also eaten better in London but not for much cheaper than this, and the setting at ADATD is rather grander than most of those.

I worry that expectations have been wrongly set by the existence if AD's two three-starrers in france. Also, the critics love the other restaurants at the Dorchester so this was always going to be given a tough time. That said, other reviewers have made it clear that they did have real problems so there may be a reliability issue!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7

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