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“Christmas Afternoon Tea - DISGUSTING!!!”
Review of Squares

Squares
Ranked #17,222 of 23,718 Restaurants in London
Price range: US$20 - US$40
Cuisines: European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighbourhood: Trafalgar Square / Embankment
Description: Squares is recognised as a restaurant that offers high quality food and superior service. Situated within The Royal Trafalgar Thistle Hotel, Squares is ideally located just five minutes' walk from Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square tube stations. On a quiet street adjacent to the National Gallery, the kitchen team creates quarterly changing menus using the best seasonal and regional produce. Squares offers a delicious selection of modern European cuisine, with a covered terrace for year-round al fresco dining.
Reviewed 7 December 2013

We only went to this hotel for the Christmas Afternoon Tea deal and it was the absolute worst dining experience of my life and I still feel sick by the memory of it.

For reference, here is the description they posted for the afternoon tea:

'Upon arrival, you and your lucky companion will be seated and treated to a warming glass of mulled sparkling wine. Then kick off the feast with delicate sandwiches including turkey and stuffing, brie and cranberry and smoked salmon and cream cheese before moving on to chocolate cake, mulled wine poached pear tart, mince pie crème brûlée, winter berry scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, all served with lashings of vanilla and cinnamon whipped cream and accompanied by a frothy cappuccino or cup of tea. '

First of all, my companion was anything but lucky, in fact I was embarrassed to have suggested going to this event and I'm sure to him it felt more like a punishment than something exciting or pleasurable in any way. Now moving onto why...

'A warming glass of mulled sparkling wine' - as suggested in the description, mulled wine is expected to be hot, it is also spicy and sweet. Upon arrival we were offered a glass of cheap champagne, when I questioned it saying that we were told we would be getting mulled wine we got a confused response of 'Oh, well yes, the champagne is the mulled wine'. At this stage we accepted it and anything but warming we were given a glass of what tasted like Lambrini, whatever it was it wasn't mulled wine in any way.

Obviously if this was all that was wrong with the meal I wouldn't be writing. Unfortunately for us this was just the beginning.

Our afternoon tea arrived and it was 'delicate' sandwiches made with bread so stale it was rock solid. The bread was absolutely inedible and in the end I complained about it to the waiter and he eventually made us a fresh load of sandwiches, I can imagine that the food they were serving had been made in the morning or perhaps even the night before and been left out to spoil. The contents of the sandwich were no better; the turkey and stuffing was cheap turkey slices that tasted heinous with unrecognizable 'stuffing', the brie and cranberry was in fact brie with what tasted and smelt more like jam. There were also egg mayonnaise sandwiches again the bread was incredible stale and I had a small mouthful of the egg filling and was revolted to realise that it was warm and it instantly made me feel sick.

The sweet food consisted of two bite size chunks of chocolate cake, one stale and inedible mince pie, one creme brulee and one droopy, unappetizing berry and custard tart. There was no sign of the poached pear tart and the 'winter berry scones' were one stale plain scone and one stale sultana plain scone. There was no sign of a frothy cappuccino or cup of tea.

Myself and my guest hardly touched a thing despite having paid £24 for it. I felt ill from the warm and stale egg mayonnaise sandwich and as i said, even now the memory of it is making me heave.

At £24 it is still grossly overpriced for what we received - You couldn't pay me to go there again, let alone charge myself and my friend £12 each for the displeasure. The deal was a huge rip off and it felt like a lazy attempt to cash in on christmas.

The staff knew that we were unhappy with our meal, especially as we had left almost everything, but didn't offer any solution or condolence. There is no way in hell I would serve what I was served today to anybody without embarrassment, Thistle Hotel made Fawlty Towers look like a haven.

    • Value
    • Service
Thank Stephanie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7 - 11 of 26 reviews

Reviewed 3 October 2013

We arrived just after 5:30 pm and had the choice of any table as we were the first to arrive. We ordered a bottle of wine and then ordered the meal. Then the waiting .....
It took an age for the starter to arrive, the main course took just as long. I am not sure where the staff were most of the time; however, a young girl did appear to put glasses on the tables but dissappeard, too.
The food was really dulll and uninspiring: an overpriced prawn cocktail followed by a Chicken Tikka that was really no different to a ready meal from the Co-op. My partner's prawn cocktail starter plate was not cleared until he was halfway through his main course.
We were there for just over an hour and during that time only 2 other diners arrived. If the staff cannot attend 2 tables, what would it be like if the restaurant was full?
The bill arrived with a 12.5% service charge included (there was also space for your gratuity, too!!) I used my tastecard and did get the usual discount.
When we were asked how the meal was, I did say that I thought it was rather average, that it was a bit presumptuous to add a service charge and that the prices were very high for what we were served. The response was that the charges were justified because it is a 4 star hotel!!!
Now - I would be happy to pay 4 star hotel prices if we were served 4 star hotel food by 4 star hotel staff.
Happy to put this all behind us. My advise, find somewhere else - there's plenty to choose from around Leicester Square / Covent Garden.
I notice from previous postings that the restaurant manager has not replied to any of the postings here. Is he as elusive as his/her staff?

    • Value
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Thank marc01634
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2013

Please give this a miss, because there were 8 of us, table booked the day before and the gentleman who took the booking asked "are you restricted by time?" and the answer was "yes" as it was our lunch hour. So he said if you could have your orders ready when you come in it would be helpful. So, we did just that, even down to ordering the wine. WE WAITED ONE HOUR after walking into the restaurant until the food started to come out - and it wasn't particularly spectacular. Needless to say, we did not pay the "discretionary" 12.5% service charge!!!!!!!!!!!! There were three other tables of 2 people so, god knows, what would happen if the restaurant was full!!! (starve to death??)

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    • Food
Thank GillandPaul2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2013

I booked to have afternoon tea here for 2. We used a voucher we had purchased. We were seated straight away (awful view I was opposite the tv of the massage parlour so whilst there I had Demo's of foot massages!)
The service wasn't a bad pace, however it wasn't particularly attentive. We received our sparkling wine, then waited a while before our drinks order or food arrived.
Between 2 we received 2 croissants, one sandwich and 2 mini rolls. Quite a few of these were fish fillings, either tuna or salmon (it would have been nice to have more that weren't fish).
The most disappointing thing for me was that the scones and cakes were shop. If I wanted Mr Kipling angel cakes or bake wells I wouldn't have chosen to eat them here.
The 3 stars I gave is because for the voucher price it was worth it. I wouldn't be saying that if. Paid full price.

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Thank Carol S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2013

Me and my partner went to the restaurant for a quick meal the waitress thought a jack Daniels and diet coke was food and was saying they didn't have steak or fish and we had to call another waiter to understand our drinks order. Then the first waitress came back we asked for a half roast chicken with just chips and gravy for myself and a fish cake for my partner we also wanted a bread basket which she said they didn't have we then ordered garlic bread with cheese as it was the nearest thing we then asked the other waiter and he said they do bread baskets so we ordered one for the starter. When we ordered the chicken and fish cake we asked for them to arrive at the same time with the garlic bread we then waited 25 mins and just the fish cake arrived with the bread basket and garlic bread, the fish cake was rock hard and very disappointing. We then waited a further 30 mins for my chicken which was still not cooked yet so we asked the waiter how long it would be and he said a further 10 to 15 mins so we paid for what we ate and left without the main it is the worst experience we've had in any place we've eaten. I would never even order a drink here again as the service is terrible.

    • Value
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1  Thank Kingofthecastles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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