We went to the Steam Packet with a couple of German friends last Saturday evening. It was a disaster! Drinks were ordered and they were OK but when it came to ordering food it all went sadly wrong. First, the waitress (also the manager it transpired) managed to knock a nearly full glass of lager shandy all over my wife as she was laying up the cutlery for us. OK, accidents do happen and she was absolutely mortified poor girl. They were very good about clearing up and drying my wife! Even the shandy was replaced.
But, in all this chaos the order got forgotten in the kitchen and nobody spotted that people all round us were getting their food long before we did. After about 30 minutes I raised the matter with a young guy behind the bar - he checked in the kitchen and informed us that the order was lost. He promised to ensure that it would be top of the list for the chef, and meanwhile he offered to replenish the drinks at no cost. So far so good. After a further 15 minutes or so nothing had materialised so I raised the problem again with him. Off he went into the kitchen again and immediately we were confronted with a woman (no apron or protective clothing) who said (in her Polish accent) that she was the chef and she was so so sorry she had lost the order – much wringing of hands at this point. She promised that all meals would be with us in 5 minutes. About 15 minutes later a man came out of the kitchen holding our German friends’ dinners, but he didn’t seem to know which table they were for. .Well, we got that sorted, and then my wife’s and my dinners arrived. They were both “old school fish and chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce” to quote the menu. Oh no they weren’t! Yes, they were fish and “chips” but no peas or tartare sauce. Instead there was the tiniest bit of salad with the end of a lemon sitting on top (but not enough to get juice out of) sitting next to a great pile of shredded lettuce. No dressing on the lettuce or salad, just naked, limp greenery. It tasted as though it was beginning to ferment, and reminded me of a poor imitation of Korean Kimchi. The chips were virtually inedible as well; they were not the usual crisp golden delights we all love but near-black limp tepid bits of something unpleasant. At this point we noticed that our friends’ sautéed potatoes were missing also. A quick wave to the lad again and he got them out in about another 5 minutes; they turned out to be surprisingly good. One of our friends asked if she could have a slice of brown bread and butter to go with her veggie dish. She got a piece of thick-sliced wrapped loaf with no butter. At this point the lad came over and offered us a glass of wine each “on the house”, refused all round. The fish wasn’t bad but was very small and extremely poor value at £9.95. Our German friends faired much better, pronouncing their meals as very good. Lucky them!
The final insult came when we asked for the bill. The manageress apologised about the problems (“the kitchen staff is new”) and offered to knock something off the bill. This she did but only £5 in total which was probably the cost of the 2 missing tartare sauces! What an insult! We were sof ed up we just left at that point to the final communication from the lad – “see you again soon”. Oh no he won’t!!!
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