Sunday, October 15, 2006

The oddest lunch I've experienced for some time

We went to a local pub for Sunday lunch this afternoon.  We'd been before and found it reasonable.

This time, however, the alarm bells began to ring when we were met with hastily-printed signs warning us that "Due to unforseen circumstances, the kitchen will be open from noon - 4pm today".

The curious form of words should have sent us running (is the kitchen usually open for fewer hours? Is it normally closed and the unforseen circumstance was that the locks failed?)

Regardless, we found a table and placed our order. We were told they were busy and that it might take 35 minutes or so to be served. No problem.... it gave us time for a drink and a chat.

After 50 minutes, the food still hadn't arrived and I was about to chase it. At that moment, a harrassed-looking waitress appeared and asked which of us was "having the chicken". The answer ("none of us") sent her scuttling back.

Five minutes later, she reappeared with a single dish (there were five of us at the table) and informed us that the order three of us had placed "had run out".  My response ("WHAT?!!!") temporarily threw her until she formed a response (something about a "busy" kitchen...) and placated us with a promise of quick delivery of our second choice meal.

Ten minutes later, another single dish arrived.

At this point, I asked her if she could help us out: we had been served the wrong meal, been told fifty minutes late that they didn't actually have what we ordered and then failed to deliver the meals at anything approximating "the same time" as each other. Perhaps they would like to offer us a drink?

"Sorry. We can't do that. But we can offer you a free dessert".  The prospect of receiving my pension before dessert momentarily passed before my eyes and I decided to ask again if they could help us on the beverage front instead.

She went away to ask the manager before deciding that yes - they could offer us a drink each as compensation for the issues they were plainly experiencing in the kitchen.

Our meals arrived shortly afterwards and the situation appeared to be improving.... until we tried to leave.

As we were finishing our drinks, we heard a disturbance to our left and realised that the staff were locking us into the room we were in! Our next exit was down some steps, via an outside terrace and through the room next door. A family with a pushchair tried to leave and were told to exit via the kitchen.

What an utterly bizarre experience.


Andrew said...

Go on, dob them in. Where was it?

Richard Brown said...

It was a riverside pub in Wapping. I might name them if I'm still irritated with them tomorrow :-)