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“Worst experience in a restaurant in my life”
Review of Cardamom Black

Cardamom Black
Ranked #195 of 442 Restaurants in Harrogate
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Indian, Asian, Balti, Eastern European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Special Occasion Dining, Groups
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
London
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Worst experience in a restaurant in my life”
Reviewed 18 September 2013

Two friends who live close to the restaurant recommended that we visit Cardamom Black for dinner. I ordered two dishes from the specials menu, "Surf & Turf" to start with (two small lamb chops and two king prawns) and "Special Biriani" for a main (biriani with dried plums, king prawn, prawn, chicken and lamb).

The starters came and were delicious. I asked if I could get the lamb rare, but when it came the chef had told the waiter that it was not indian cooking, therefore they were probably medium well at best. Having said this, the meat was good quality and very tasty. I moved on to the prawns and they were delicious. Cooked just enough for them to be set, but not chewy. I commented on them to my friends and said that the spice was just right and how pleased I was with my choice.

When my main course arrived, I noticed a strong smell. I picked up the king prawn with my fork and when I pulled it away from the shell, there was a very strong fishy / ammonia smell. The waiter, who was excellent, came over and asked if everything was okay. He too the dish and agreed that it smelled terrible. We were talking and as the smell was so bad, I had to ask the waiter to take it away as it was making us all feel unwell. The waiter offered to change the prawn, but I asked if they could just make me a chicken tikka biriani instead, as the smell had put me off that dish a little. The waiter agreed and we carried on talking. I mentioned how nice it was that they didn't make a scene and that although the starters were delicious, it was obviously just one bad prawn which can easily happen.

My replacement dish arrived about 15 minutes later, by which time my friends had finished their meal, but as we were not in a rush, we just chatted. The waiter came back over and started to tell me how the chef had said that the prawn was not bad and that the smell was just that of shell. I said that I was sorry, but I did not agree and that the stench of ammonia was a bad sign. He apologised and I started to serve up my food.

A moment later, the manager appeared at the table and whilst I was eating, started a tirade of abuse. I was told that there was nothing wrong with the prawn. His exact words were, "the chef said the prawn was perfect. He has eaten it himself, so we will know if you were right if he doesn't come in to work tomorrow". I was told: -

All seafood should smell of fish. I retorted that "fresh" seafood and fish should never smell of fish and definitely not of ammonia as this was a sign that it was not as fresh as it could be. The manager then told me that I had obviously not eaten much seafood before and that was why I didn't know the difference between the smell of bad and good.

The manager told me that he had 16 restaurants and he knew the difference.

I explained that I did not say the food was rotten, it was simply not fresh and that this did not mean that had I eaten it I would have been ill. He asked why I sent it back then. I told him that when a dish is served, if it doesn't smell "right" then I feel it is fine to send it back in case it isn't okay, as seafood can make you very unwell. He then asked me, "excuse me, but did you actually eat the prawn to check if it was okay". I said, "no, when it smelled bad, I didn't want to do this". The manager said, "when food is bad, the texture changes". If the texture is fine, then it doesn't matter about the smell. I told him that the first part of the prawn to go "bad" is the head, not the meat, and that if it smells bad I don't want to eat it. Once again he told me, "well there was nothing wrong with the meal that you sent back". You must not eat at good restaurants very often.

At this point I said, "I am not sure why we are having this conversation as I am trying to eat my meal". The manager told me "people like you just leave here and then tell all their friends how bad a place is". I was aghast and tried not to lose my temper. I explained that I had previously mentioned to my friends how nice it was for the waiter to just take away the dish, without any complaint and just replace it with another one.

The manager said that it was his duty to make sure that people didn't come in to the restaurant and send back food when it was fine. I didn't know what to say at this point.

This cycle continued over and over again, with the gentleman next to us just shaking his head at the managers behaviour. The whole of the restaurant was party to the fact that I had sent back my meal, which was very embarrassing to me and the rest of my party.

When I looked at my watch, the manager had spent almost 15 minutes berating me. I said that I was very unhappy with the way he had treated me and made the point that I did not appreciate him saying that the chef had eaten the food to prove that it was not off. He said that this was a joke. I said, "so he didn't eat it?". The manager replied "No, he did, I just thought it was funny to tell you that if he didn't come in then we would know you were right". The manager said said "well it was funny". I apologised for not understanding his humour, but didn't find it very amusing that I had ordered a meal, had to send it back, had two members of staff come over to tell me how what I had sent back was fine.

The manager had to have the last word and told me once again, "well it's not my fault that you don't know the difference between fresh and rotten food and what you sent back was perfect".

I asked for my food to be boxed up as it was not freezing cold and asked for the bill. The waiter came over, incredibly embarrassed and apologised for the manager. He asked if we would like any dessert or coffee on the house. We said that we just wanted to leave, but he pleaded with us to take something. We had coffee / tea and one of my friends had a dessert.

When the bill came, the waiter explained that he had not charged for the bad meal and he had not charged for the replacement, as I had not been able to eat it when it was hot. I thanked him and we left, with him apologising profusely.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank John B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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103 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    51
    19
    12
    10
    11
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Beats the Rest Hands Down!”
Reviewed 13 September 2013

We went here to celebrate our anniversary albeit belated and we had a lovely evening. We were asked if we wanted to be shown to our table straightaway or would we like a drink at the bar first, we chose to have a drink at the bar first and then when we were ready we made the waitress aware and we were shown to our table within a couple of minutes. It was a Friday night and the place was buzzing, the staff were all very friendy and attentive as usual. I asked the owner for suggestions on my main meal as I often choose a dish I am familiar with, his recommendation was perfect and I thoroughy enjoyed it. We never feel rushed when we eat here and always have a lovely evening, a big thank you to Nic and all his staff, keep up the good work! Neil & Andrea Bradley

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Andrea B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Meh!”
Reviewed 10 September 2013

The portion sizes were fairly small compared to other Indian restaurants. We had to wait very long times in between ordering, courses and paying the bill. It took 1 hour for them to bring starters...if it was busy I could understand but it must have been about 40% full. Waiting for the bill and getting change took about 40minutes. Would definitely not recommend to anyone.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Laura W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amersham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
136 reviews
115 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Unbelievable”
Reviewed 25 August 2013 via mobile

We visited this restaurant for the first time with friends and were apprehensive after booking due to the feedback on tripadvisor. However, we could not he had a better meal, with what can only b described as "world class" service.

The food was the best Indian food we have had in Harrogate and one of out friends said its the best Indian meal she had ever had.

Everything about this restaurant is qulity, the food, the service, the ambience, the location. Everything was amazing.

I can't praise this place enough and they deserve to be better on tripadvisor.

Give them a try, you won't be disappointed.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank cccsl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Bad customer service, lazy bar staff”
Reviewed 10 August 2013 via mobile

After coming for a drink and bring asked to take a seat, still waiting 15 mins later for one of the lazy bar staff chatting behind the bar to take the order, not good customer service !!!!!!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Woz_i_am
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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