I have often eaten in Hoopers over the years and was looking forward to visiting the newly refurbished restaurant. (It had needed an update for some time.)
It was so disappointing - completely lacking in character and very clinical. Rows of chairs and tables in straight lines and a decor of lime green and orange which I believe has been rolled out at all Hoopers restaurants and is obviously the "new' corporate image.
The tea at £2 per person was of a very poor weak quality. Hoping for some of their delicious cake led to another disappointment. The cakes on display consisted of a few tray bakes none of which were covered but open to the air and flies. There was a lemon drizzle cake which was covered but all the topping had melted and was lying in a pool around the base of the cake - the cake underneath was clearly visible and the edges were burnt. There was a chiller cabinet within a few centimetres of this cake and it would have benefitted from being displayed in that cabinet on such a hot day. Hoopers has always been known for its beautiful and interesting cakes, particularly cheesecakes. The chiller cabinet had a few tiny round individual cheesecakes described as raspberry and white chocolate - they were just a morsel at £3.95 each. If they had looked like a quality item the price would have been immaterial.
It's obvious that the idea is to emulate a Bistro feel to the restaurant so I couldn't understand why the two salads on display were Scotch Egg - they just didn't fit in with what is obviously an upmarket theme.
The staff I encountered were friendly. The newly refurbished toilets were excellent.
During the course of our visit a young woman collecting dishes from the table behind us, dropped some of them on the floor. As we were leaving we noticed a large spillage of cappuccino froth on the new carpet. No one had thought to clean this up.
To cap it all on a hot day no windows were open - we discovered they were locked and if the air conditioning was working it certainly wasn't noticeable.
I love Hoopers - indeed I am an account holder there and I am not anti change but it has to be change for the better and on first experience it wasn't. To be absolutely fair I will give the restaurant one more chance.
The view is beautiful but the management should realise that the view is not enough! If you want customers to return to this restaurant there has to be a vast improvement in quality and service.
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