I’ve no idea how many restaurants Mandy and I eat in each year, but with reviewing, inspecting, judging and Squidbeaking it’s a lot.
We often find ourselves discussing our irritations, irks and annoyances about restaurants and so to kick off 2015 we each decided to make a list of our top ten hates about eating out.
As it turned out, surprisingly few are about the food and the number one on both our lists turns out to be the same thing. Restauraters, read and digest.
1. Asking if everything is OK. Stop it, we’ll tell you if it’s not OK.
2. Not taking your coat or offering menu, water or a drink on arrival.
3. Tasting menus in pubs and mid-priced restaurants and chefs not equipped to provide. Please, just give us a nice plate of food.
4. Websites with no phone number or opening times. You’d be surprised how many restaurants don’t have this basic information on their home page.
5. Sous vide, foams, pre-desserts and amuse gueules in casual dining restaurants when the chef is not up to it. Stop watching Masterchef and know your limits.
6. Menus that list every ingredient and waiters who describe them. It’s just embarrassing, especially being told how much I’ll love it.
7. The ‘No problem’ problem. Adding it to every sentence is getting epidemic. My favourite was when they brought the wrong dish. ‘No problem’, actually it was a problem!
8. ‘Optional’ service charge added to bill. I never quite believe this goes to the staff. The staff invariably say it does, but sometimes, I suspect, through gritted teeth.
9. Topping up your wine unasked.
10. The wrong music. Sticking any old tape on repeat will not do, especially when you are seated beneath the speakers.
1. Too much service: absolutely number one. Don’t ask me how my food is. If there’s something wrong, I’ll tell you.
2. Indifferent service.
3. Sniffy service.
4. Being sat by the bogs.
5. Poor lighting and tiny print on menus.
8. Skidmarks, particularly chocolate ones.
9. Chefs who think they know better than you about whether or not your meat’s cooked.
10. Outrageous mark up on wine.