I thought I’d keep this blog positive, write about things that have interested and pleased me and leave out those things that have not. A dining experience earlier in the week has had me pondering how best to tackle writing about it without being too negative (and without making it seem as though I’m having a go at individual staff) and then, one last night was such a joke that I can’t not write about it. So, here goes, my first mainly negative post.
Restaurants: To book or not to book, that is the question. And, in my opinion, ideally a combination of both would be the answer. To say that you’re a tiny establishment and you’re not trying to be cool but can’t think of a better and fairer system than first come, first served is, frankly, nonsense:
Better would be to have some sort of marker outside to indicate what sort of wait you’re in for at a particular point (we later learned that from the point we joined the queue at, the average wait is one and a half hours).
Better would also be to indicate to people that when you do get seated after your one and a half hour wait (actually turned out that we waited for two and a half hours in total) there will be SEVERAL items on the menu that will be no longer available.
But of course, if you did that, people just wouldn’t wait, would they.
Fairer would be to take people’s orders once they are inside the bar area (where it turns out that you still have to wait – a further hour in our case) as if you’re in a group that’s larger than two you’ll find that people who arrived after you will get seated and served and in our case, seated, served, eaten their meal and left, before you’re seated. I’m not sure how it’s fair that a total of eight people, who had been behind us, were able to place their orders before us?
Better would be to not turn the lights up at 11pm, the time that the restaurant closes and no more than forty five minutes after we’d been seated, when there are only two tables left, indicating very clearly that it’s time to go. It would also be better not to start cleaning the few other tables when there are still customers left eating. We waited two and a half hours to be seated, Pitt Cue Co ran out of quite a few dishes including the only two carbs on offer (though they weren’t on top of supplies enough to know that they’d run out of bone marrow mash until after it had been ordered by two of my party), I honestly think that the better, no BEST, thing to do, as a matter of policy, would be to let people who have waited such a long time just finish their meal in peace, no?
Better would also be for the staff to hand coats back rather than for customers to work out where the coats are hung and fetch their own. It would also be good if one of the three out of four staff that had been involved with you took the time to acknowledge you upon leaving.
Having said all of that, I am pleased that I’ve been. Pitt Cue Co is somewhere that I’ve wanted to go for absolutely ages and actually, it was really cute and charming and it IS tiny so, we could see, once we were taken downstairs to the restaurant, why it had taken so long to get a table. The problem with having to wait so long is that really, nothing would feel worth it. Whilst we were upstairs in the bar, we ordered some loaded skins to keep us going and they were superb, absolutely bursting with flavour and texture. The mains were good enough but, they absolutely weren’t anything special. After a wait of thirty minutes, a perfectly nice main enjoyed in a sweet little restaurant would be great. If I’d gone up to the Pitt Cue Co food van, paid six quid and received the food that I ate last night, I’d have thought wow, that was really good, I’ll go back there. But unfortunately under the circumstances in which I did finally taste their wares I shan’t be returning (not that that matters a jot to them – or me really, as I’ve lots of other places on my list to work through).
I had a good night out, the children both came back from uni to celebrate my birthday with me and we would have had a good time, no matter what. We chatted away in the queue, playing word games and righting the world, and in the bar, supping away on Whatever draught ale (which, I believe is their own brew and very good it was too), Pistonhead lager and a specially concocted (super sweet) bourbon cocktail (formulated for a non bourbon drinker, as cocktails were all bourbon or rye based) but not quite so much over dinner (as we were too busy filling our mouths, and the bitter taste of disappointment was rearing its ugly head).
If there are only two of you, if none of you are averse to queuing, if it’s not a special occasion, if you’re not in a hurry, if you’re COOL enough to not care (but not cool enough to know it’s all a load of bollocks) then, I’d definitely say it’s worth queuing to check out Pitt Cue Co. It is a nice space, the atmosphere was good, the staff (besides what sounds like my moan against them – it’s more aimed at the policies) were pleasant and helpful and the food was tasty. It’s just a really really STUPID system, or…badly executed system, at best.
What do you think about walk up only restaurants?