We went to the Alchemist on a Friday evening after work. We had a reservation for 6.30pm and arrived at the restaurant a few minutes earlier only to be told that we would have to be out by 8pm...the manager didn’t even try to say it nicely. My friend mentioned she wasn’t warned about this when she booked the table, but the manager insisted that they must have explained this to her on the phone. As precious time was ticking away we agreed to disagree and sat at our table at which point I looked around and realised the restaurant wasn’t busy at all. We ordered cocktails which took a while to arrive, starters and mains were average. However, the waitress was in our face all the time, so we couldn’t really hold a conversation for longer than 5 minutes without being interrupted by the waitress asking us if we wanted more wine, more water, more food, etc...she obviously cared more about hitting her targets and selling more than about her customers enjoying a quiet meal. At 8 o’clock we still had half a bottle of wine left, but nevertheless the waitress came with the bill at 8 sharply without us asking for it. There were still a few empty tables at this point so we couldn’t really see why they wanted to rush us, but we felt so unwelcome we just wanted to leave. And then the greatest disappointment – the waitress came with the credit card machine and asked rather arrogantly what tip we wanted to leave on the card. We were going to leave a 10% tip in cash but this put us off completely so I said ‘None please!’. I would never go back to this place again...nor will I be ever going to the Grill on the Alley as it’s run by the same people (though I must say the service has been much better at the Grill on the Alley).
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