My partner and I visited for Sunday lunch at 2.30 without booking and although the marina area was extremely busy we were surprised to see that there were numerous tables available in La Marina. I am not at all surprised!
There were several waiting staff milling about aimlessly when we arrived so I thought the service would be excellent but, unfortunately this was not the case. We ordered a bottle of wine and a white wine spritzer which took an absolute age to arrive and only came when a second waitress asked if we'd ordered drinks. While waiting, I went up to the counter to look at the menu and opted for the crab bisque followed by roast lamb. I was astounded when the young man behind the counter said, "You do know that crab bisque is soup, do you madam?" How patronising and what an insult to my intelligence and my knowledge of food! I have been eating in fine restaurants for years.
I annoyingly replied, "Yes, of course I know it's soup. That's why I'm ordering it." He then tried to excuse his insult by saying that several diners had ordered it that day and sent it back saying it was not what they ordered as they did not know that bisque was a soup.
I don't think that was the real reason they sent it back. I am pretty sure that, like me, they were extremely disappointed with the quality of the soup. Firstly, if one orders crab bisque one expects it to taste of crab but there was not the slightest flavour of crab, there was no bread roll to accompany it and it was so ridiculously salty I couldn't eat it. I see that other reviewers mention that theirs came with bread so I guess the absence of mine was a kitchen/serving error.
I called the waiter as I thought I had been served the wrong soup but he insisted that the waitress had served me the correct dish and he offered to change it for the mediterranean fish soup which was slopped over the edge of the bowl as the waitress placed it in front of me. Sadly, although that did have visible traces of fish (and shreds of crab) it also was far too salty and I was able to eat only a few mouthfuls before abandoning the idea and hoping that the roast lamb I'd ordered for mains would save the day.
Unfortunately my disappointment continued. My lamb consisted of a load of scraggy pieces of flavourless meat served with 2 tiny pieces of what were supposed to be roast potatoes (tough as old shoe leather) and a dish of assorted uninspiring, luke warm, bland vegetables. Lamb is usually a very tasty meat but I don't think the chef had seasoned it at all before cooking...... I presume he'd run out of salt having used it far too generously when making the soups!
Although La Marina enjoys a pleasant location and is housed in a fine building it no longer deserves the good reputation it once had. I was totally disappointed with both the quality of the food and the service provided by the staff, most of whom need substantial training before they are let loose to serve customers. - Lesson number one for the young man behind the counter - Do not assume that your customers are idiots who don't know what they are ordering!
Needless to say I won't be returning. There are much better places to eat in the Cardiff/Penarth area where the food and service is a hundred times better.
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