So, it's Mother's Day and we decide a boat trip followed by a relaxed meal at a child friendly place in a picturesque setting would be perfect. I call beforehand, we can't book but we're reassured it will be fine.
We arrive at Meantime Brewery in Greenwich at 1.15. The sun is shining. We get a lovely table in the garden. Great. After we've been there 10 minutes we ask if we can order as 5 year old is hungry. I'm told that person I'm addressing (all staff wear the same uniform) can't take our order but he will send someone over. After 5 minutes we ask again and this time the staff member says she can't take our order but she'll send someone over who can. We've been there 15 minutes now and I tell her that this is the second time we've asked and she says 'ok it's just that I have allergies and I...' and then she's off. What on earth could the end of that sentence be?!
I know, I know. At this point we should have read the writing on the wall. We should have got up and left. But it was by now 1.30 on Mothering Sunday and we were in a place we didn't know. What was the likelihood of finding somewhere that could accommodate 5 of us given that my 70 something year old diabetic mum and 5 year old son needed to eat ASAP? Optimistically, we hope, this is a blip.
So someone does take our order. Time passes. 30 minutes later, after we're forced to ask where our drinks are, they arrive. We don't see our food for another half an hour. This is an hour after we ordered and an hour and fifteen minutes after we sat down.
I promise i'm not making this up: one side dish is missing. One burger initially comes without cheese before we point this out and its remedied. The burgers are cooked exactly the same even though we were asked how we'd like them cooked and different orders were given. The salad was requested with dressing on the side so 5 year old will eat half of it, it comes dressed. There are no crackers for my crab so I sit eating chips, salivating over my inaccessible crab while trying to get someones - anyones - attention. As the waitress later points out there's no finger bowl either but that's the least of our worries.
Amazingly when we get someone's attention to point all of this out the guy is just rude, telling us we're not being clear about which side dish is missing. It's the green vegetables. They only have one vegetable dish. He points at the salad and walks off. We call him back; I have to pick up the menu and point to the dish before he appears to be willing to go and get it. By this time my normally very placid mum was pretty upset.
So I don't know about you but when I'm thinking about going to a restaurant and I see a bad review I often wonder if the reviewer was just having a bad day. Or maybe an ulterior motive. Or maybe they revel in posting nasty stuff. This restaurant has enough passing trade to care not a bit about anything I write but if you don't want a lunch, let alone a lunch on a special day, ruined, you might want to leave it to those who havent had a chance to do a bit of poking about online for reviews first.
Full disclosure: halfway through eating and realising that indigestion had set in obliterating any chance of enjoying the food I went to speak to the manager. By the time I was halfway through the sorry tale he (all but with his hands over his ears) just started repeating 'I'll get rid of it, I'll get rid of it'. Meaning the bill. The problem is we won't get our Mother's Day lunch back and when your mum is 70 something, well...obviously, I'd just rather have paid for a good meal.