Dinner at the Alexandra was an unforgettable experience for all the wrong reasons.
We came into the hotel entrance and we directed straight into the bar area. No welcome, no frontline presence, no one seemed in charge, I walked up to a woman standing at the bar and she ticked us off a list and said to have a drink in the bar until our table was ready. We took a seat. then she asked us for a drink, even though I hadn't see the menu yet. Was then handed the menus and chose our drinks. However, the barman was dashing between the bar and the garden and kept promising us a drink each time he sped past. In the meantime, other customers who arrived after us were taken into the restaurant before us. When I asked the woman at the bar if we could go through to our table, she said to take a seat again, 15 mins had passed and still no drink.
Eventually we were taken into the restaurant, and was seated in the middle row of this this long room. It was well decorated with a good view of sea but the restaurant was three quarters empty - not sure why we had to wait so long to be seated? The muzak played in the background were well known popular classics but songs sung by unknown singers, badly.
We finally got to order drinks at the table but then had to wait another 20 minutes to get them, so that's 35 minutes wait in total on a warm evening! The English sparkling wine tasted wonderful when it did arrive though.
The waiter took our food and drink order, but showed no interest in us: the paying customer, or offered no information the food he was selling, he didn't recommend a wine, he merely took the order in a perfunctory manner.
The next issue was getting a bread roll. Where we were seated you had a number of waiting staff rushing round you the whole time, all looking very busy, with plates both dirty and with food coming straight from the kitchen and looking rushed of their feet, but rarely stopping at our table. It seemed that all the staff had a turn carrying the bread roll basket, but a bread roll never reached our table until after 40 minutes, when I stopped our waiter in mid rush and said can we have one, he begrudgingly brought one through a minute later.
The food itself was very good. the scallops were moist and delicious, but with too much jus, the mains of beef sirloin were a bit too well done, supposed to medium to well, with not enough jus so the meat got a bit dry, the potato was a bit hard too. We could have done with some vegetables, but these were not suggested by the waiter when the original order was taken.
We decided not to stay for dessert, as no one had asked how our meal was during our meal and when our one and only drink ran out, no one offered us another drink. These simple service touches go a long way when adopted. It's a shame as the cheese board looked really promising.
I also decided not to add a tip, which I have never done before. The lack of service made me feel invisible as a customer throughout the meal, and when I did demand attention I was made to feel like an nuisance. The fact that the waiter snatched our debit card away from table and took it to the bar, without explanation, after I had entered the pin into the card machine was the 'icing on the cake' of an appalling evenings service. I thought restaurants weren't allowed to do this practice? If the waiter had simply explained that there was a bluetooth issue, I would have accompanied him to the bar if asked.
As we left the restaurant we caught two waiters rushing to our table to see what tip we had left. Shocking.
This restaurant is in urgent need of a restaurant manager to inject some leadership, direction and attach customer focus to the team to match the quality of food and drink. In the meantime I wouldn't recommend that you rush to reserve a table here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Georgian Dower house built in 1735 with large garden, panoramic views across Lyme Bay's Jurassic UNESCO World Heritage site coastline and the famous Cobb harbour. Pathway to beach through gardens. Treatment room and Gym. Sea view restaurant with attentive service. Delicious food using seasonal local produce. Total Seaside Chic. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Alexandra Hotel Lyme Regis
- Alexandra Lyme Regis
- Alexandra Hotel And Restaurant Lyme Regis, Dorset