There has been much discussion online recently about how the public are getting tired of bloggers and their endless posts about amazing restaurants and hotels in which everything was seamless. Many people are influenced by reviews and blogs yet find themselves having a much different experience when they go to the same place. This can them make them feel they were misled by the blog post or review as they didn’t get the same experience when spending their hard-earned cash. This feeling of the blogger not being honest or true is more common when blog posts are sponsored or ‘comped’ it seems. I do try in my posts to be fair, to praise the positives and when things go wrong (which they do) be constructive in my criticism but there are times when it’s really hard to be positive. This is one of those times.
One of my new colleagues was organizing an evening out for staff and chose a restaurant in Maadi, a place which had been recommended. A booking was made for our large group without any problems and when we arrived and were taken upstairs to our table first impressions were good. The menus were brought out and our drinks order was taken. Slowly more people arrived and our group continued to order drinks and food. The menu was a good selection of pastas, fish and meat dishes and was reasonably priced. A great start!
After about an hour most people had ordered and the room was full of the buzz of new colleagues talking and friendships starting. Rather bizarrely a couple of steps away on a small mezzanine dance floor there was a few people dancing away and the music got louder and louder which wasn’t really a conducive atmosphere for our group who were trying to have conversations.
Greg and I had ordered calamari to share, and those of you who have seen my Instagram account you’ll know this was a bit of a disaster. The calamari was absolutely stone cold. I attempted one piece but it was cold, chewy and rubbery. We called the waiter over and he whisked it away. About 5 minutes later it was brought out again, this time slightly warmer (I suspect it had been reheated) but it didn’t look at all appealing. There were about 3 calamari rings and the rest of the plate was a mass of batter and broken tentacles. The person next to me looked at it and asked ‘what exactly is that?!’ which is never good a good sign. It didn’t scored well on taste still it was cold, rubbery and chewy. The couple sitting opposite didn’t fare much better in the appetiser department either as their bruschetta was on the burnt side of well done. With a sigh we pushed our uneaten calamari aside and hoped our mains would be better.
They arrived about 40 minutes later, by now we’d been at the restaurant quite a while. I just couldn’t believe what I was served. My rosemary chicken with ‘classic cut French fries’ and a rocket and cherry tomato salad was just depressing. I knew it was rosemary chicken as it had a huge sprig of rosemary in it, my fries were actually stale, cold potato chips (as in a packet of crisps). The rocket was mixed lettuce and there was precisely 1 cherry tomato cut in half. There were 3 elements to my dish…….2 of them were wrong. The chicken itself was tender and the cream sauce was rich but not too heavy. However, it was the only thing on my plate that I ate.
n fact everyone who’d ordered French fries had been served crisps, people who ordered lasagna were served vegetarian cannelloni and I was told the lasagna was extremely salty. While the staff were dealing with questions from people about their food others people hadn’t been served – in fact one person didn’t really get to eat her meal as her pre booked taxi arrived at pretty much the same time as her meal did! In the interests of fairness and balance it wasn’t all negative – Greg had steak with mash and he said it was ok, not good not bad just ok.
Others who’d ordered the gnocchi said they enjoyed it as did the person who ordered the seafood mix platter. It was just very hit and miss. It seemed obvious that the kitchen wasn’t prepared for such a large group and either didn’t have the produce available or understand the elements that made up the dishes on the menu. We left shortly before midnight and, as the bill hadn’t arrived, we left our money with a friend. By this point the downstairs bar area had started to get busier and it was a nice atmosphere. I don’t want to comment too much on the events later that evening as I wasn’t there but there were significant issues with the bill as everyone’s food and drink had gone onto the same cheque! Those who stayed had to sort this out with the manager. They went on to enjoy the bar area downstairs and had a great time dancing the night away. Their feedback to me was that it’s fun as a club and a place to go for drinks and dancing but the food wasn’t great. It’s a shame because the menu looked promising but it just didn’t deliver. I’m surprised they took a booking for such a big group without offering a set menu which would have been much easier for the kitchen to prepare and serve.