I have never even considered writing a TripAdvisor review before, but after my dinner at Rhubarb on Friday night I felt an overwhelming urge to articulate just how horrendous the whole experience was. I've had bad service and underwhelming dinners before, but my experience at Rhubarb was all-encompassing to say the least.
I went with my mom, little sister and her boyfriend to celebrate my sister's graduation. She'd been before on a mid-week evening and really liked the place, so it was her choice. My mom rang in advance to let them know I'm vegan, and they said they would buy in some foods that I liked and make something up for me, which we thought was super thoughtful and accommodating.
We arrived at around 9PM. There was a large party in the corner of what is an incredibly tiny restaurant. They were all incredibly drunk, which resulted in extremely rowdy behaviour- cackling, screaming, off-key renditions of Frank Sinatra's 'My Way'- this persisted for the entire two hours we were in the restaurant and was so loud that we were leaning across the table straining to hear each other.
After a fifteen minute wait to have our order taken (the other three ordered steaks) the waitress came back after another five minutes to let them know they had ran out of steaks. No problem, it happens; my mom ordered the chicken instead and the other two had a beef dish. My sister asked to substitute the gravy for a peppercorn sauce. When the meals arrived, they had forgotten to do this and she was told she'd have to wait another ten minutes.
The chef had prepared a vegan starter for me which consisted of one medium sized salad tomato roasted and quartered on top of no more than a tbsp of quinoa and a bit of cress. My main course was a small handful of tempura (I couldn't discern another vegetable other than green beans) and an incredibly tasteless sauce. Everyone else's portion sizes were equally small.
One of the benefits of the restaurant is presumably their BYO policy but when we asked for an ice bucket for the bottle of prosecco we'd brought to toast my sister's graduation, we were told they didn't have one.
Beyond the lack of ice bucket, pitifully small portions (the vegan one having been entirely miscommunicated) and a neighbouring table who were rendering our attempts at conversation inaudible, the service was slow and nobody bothered to ask the really rowdy customers to be mindful of the other tables in the rstaurant. When my mom tried to pay, she was told that they didn't have a card machine, so she was forced to get up and go out to find a nearby ATM. At no point during booking the table, or entering the restaurant was this communicated to us.
The dinner was supposed to be a very special occasion, but it was really ruined by the atmosphere of the restaurant, the slow service and what was really disappointing food.
My mom was upset because she felt like my sister's special night had been marred, and my sister was upset because she felt like she'd let us down by suggesting Rhubarb in the first place. It wasn't cosy, it wasn't relaxing, and it wasn't delicious. Maybe we visited on an off-night but regardless, everything accumulated to a horrible dinner and none of us will be going back.
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