A year or so back I ventured to an intriguing sounding Thai restaurant with a group of friends. It was the first time most of us had stepped inside the dimly lit and cosy feeling place on Stroud Green, Islington, London. We were blown away by the service and the food alike and when we decided to return this weekend we were all looking forward too it.
Like many things going back to something that was amazing is pretty risky and from time to time there will be the odd mistake. But when you go somewhere and the standards and quality have dropped so much you cannot help feel disappointed.
Originally beef literally sizzled in front of our eyes, pineapple rice came crammed into half an actual pineapple shell and the staff were attentive. It was theatrical masterpiece and seemed so resourceful. Doing something as simple as putting pineapple rice in half a pineapple was resourceful but provided a touch of magic.
Last night we ordered pineapple rice excited for that little piece of wonder, what we got instead was an incredible disappoint. A shallow dish formed into the shape of a pineapple with the rice just spooned into it. One of us ordered coconut rice and for a second we thought it had turned up in a coconut shell but sadly it was merely ceramic. This not only took away from the excitement of the meal but also made it apparent that they have decided to cut corners. No longer must they be including fresh pineapple or coconut in their rices (otherwise they would have spare shells anyway) and instead using tinned produce. That would explain why the chunks of pineapple were tiny and lacked that fresh punch you get from biting into a delightfully fresh piece of pineapple.
The service was challenging. A table was booked. We turned up at that time and they still had to push tables together and move seats around right in front of us. The lack of cutlery or napkins on the plate shows a clear lack of preparation or thought.
After ordering our initial wine it took multiple attempts to get another bottle. In fact one turned up with a glass ten minutes or so later and we said no we wanted a bottle and then there was no bottle arrive. So we asked a different waiter and about another ten minutes later the bottle finally arrived.
It is a good job I was happy to pass food down the table as the waiters were too lazy to walk to the other end of the table to give people their plates, glasses or food. Doing this for empty wine glasses is acceptable but trying to get people to move runny curries along the table causes serious spillage.
We were in there for two and a half hours. The last twenty minutes included us just sitting around. The bill arrived, as far as I am aware none of us had actually asked for the bill, it was a good job we didn’t seem interested in dessert (something they do serve because another table had some). A further sign of no coordination and a serious lack of awareness from the staff.
The food itself was okay. It didn’t blow me away. I could have ordered takeaway for about 1/3 of the price and the delivery driver would have been more friendly.
This restaurant has gone to the dogs.