I tried to book this restaurant before we left home on 5th Feb, so I phoned the booking line and the auto reply said that the restaurant was fully booked for that day. So I sent an email (I avoided this at the beginning as I needed a quick response) and within 10 mins I had a "live" person reply that said no problem and accepted our booking. I wonder how many other people just accepted the auto reply non-availability message. So we were very pleased that we had got a table at the 11th hour. Our table was for 5.45pm and we arrived at the Arena at 5.10pm (never been before and there was no large sign saying that this was the Arena and had to ask a security guard). However, we found at that the doors do not open until 5.30pm so there was a group of us standing in the cold, windy rain staring at the lovely warm empty foyer with the guards on the inside looking very comfortable. When the doors opened we went to the a la Carte restaurant only to find it full of people having dinner. So I guess there must have been a secret entrance somewhere although I couldn't see this mentioned on the website!!!!! We sat down at our table and waited ages to have our order taken. In the meantime the people on the next table apparently had a 5pm reservation, so somehow they found the secret door. Our starter arrived and the food was excellent. But the moment we finished (seconds) our main course arrived, so a "bird in the hand etc", we accepted the main course and helped the waitress juggle trying to collect the empty starter plates as well as place down the main course. Halfway through the main course I noticed that the people next to us (the 5pm booking folk) hadn't any food. They had timed the wait and it was 1 hour apparently for their main course to be delivered. By then we had finished ours (feeling guilty!!). The main course was excellent so we decided to have desert which was also very good. So, food very good, but service staff need a lot of training. Also, don't always believe auto voice messages - people forget to update them, and finally a better welcome than standing out in the cold for 20 mins.
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