Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A touch of the grumpies I'm afraid

Now I know professional master chef is running and, just maybe, that is raising my horizons just a little but really..
We've been into Cambridge and 'done' Xmas. It had to be done as the Budd family continues to expand at a somewhat alarming rate and it's no good himself sitting in the armchair and poking about on the computer. So I made a list (we also have 4 family birthdays over the Xmas period) and dragged him into town with the carrot of a couple of pints and a bit of lunch once the mission was accomplished. Throwing off my usual bah humbug attitude we whizzed around empty shops and completed the deed in record time and amiable spirits before diving into The Mitre, a Nicholsons pub, in the centre of Cambridge.
We quickly spotted the 'meal and a pint' for £6 deal and settled down with our real ale whilst our lunch was prepared - it was gone 2.00pm and the place was empty. G went for chicken breast, chips and coleslaw whilst I opted for the smoked haddock, mash and wilted spinach. After about 30 mins we chased up our food and then another 10 mins passed before we were presented with 2 plates of luke-warm food. One minus the coleslaw and one minus the spinach. Mine went back and the coleslaw was delivered as they removed G's plate...and it was off! Sadly my lunch was never seen again, it disappeared into the kitchen despite 5 minute assurances that it was on it's way. I don't expect a lot for that money, but blimey ....if there are only 3 ingredients you expect to have them all ..... what happens when they're busy? Needless to say we had our money back so, in effect, we had a free pint; I'd rather have had my lunch though. So we went next door and had an excellent dinner (it was dinner time by then) in the Cote Brasserie with superb service to match.
We didn't eat out again until last Sunday when we joined Lesley and Joe for dinner at The Bridge Hotel at Clayhithe. It was absolutely packed, but our food was OK. It could have been hotter, the crackling didn't (nor did the requested replacement) and the bread and butter pudding was rubbery. On the plus side, the staff were very amiable, everyone's meat was tender and Joe said his steak was really good. On this experience we decided to take my visiting cousins there for lunch the next day. We all like our food and tend to have a bit of a splurge when we meet up as we don't see them often.
As you would expect on a Monday lunchtime it was a lot quieter. My visitors were delighted with the extensive menu as I'd hoped they would be. Our first 2 starter choices weren't available (why can't they tell you that when you arrive instead of waiting 'til you've decided and are really fancying it.). G's haggis came solid enough to hammer pins in with and his 'soft boiled egg' was of similar consistency. A new egg was, eventually, produced but came back withe same worn out old haggis. Camembert and moules were fine. Mikes gourmet burger was fine, the sausages on G's mixed grill had been hanging around for a day or two as had the gammon - both being of mallet consistency; his steak chewy. Sonia and I went for the Sea Bass risotto (£11.95; so not cheap meal deals). Two tiny fillets of crispy skin arrived - and there was no fish on the other side! I am not exaggerating it was a white one side, skin the other, crisp. That went back and was returned well cooked but miniscule and with no cutlery left in the cutlery box. The cutlery was requested and another box deposited, but with no forks, so off I went again in search of forks; all the cutlery was of dubious cleanliness.
The net result was 3 people ate starters and then one ate on their own. 2 people ate their main courses and then the other two ate theirs. Sonia and I (and my appetite is not large) were still hungry. I was really embarrassed as they had taken us out for such a lovely meal on their previous visit. We were only charged for drinks, 3 starters and 1 main but I wanted the meal to be right - not freebies.
We were told that the chef was new and only young - well, I'm sorry, but please could he go and practice on someone else.
Neither of these bad experiences were minor; I haven't even gone near salad garnishes left under hot plates, I just don't understand how places stay in business when things are so fundamentally flawed or are we just unlucky?
Oh and just to finish the grumps off and get them all out of the way - this is a photo of our 'defences' against the ram-rowers in Cambridge .......
No it isn't - I've used up all my gigabytes evidently, so I can't load the photos.
I know, I haven't blogged for weeks and all I've done is moan!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Well, you might be grumpy (and with good reason!) but the boys look full of good cheer - loving your new header photo!

    Sue, nb Indigo Dream

    1. Until I received your comment I hadn't realised G had changed the photo! It must have been taken just after a professional hair cut. I also notice that every time I respond to a comment it says I'm Graham!!!!