Thursday, 26 June 2008

Bad service and no orange juice

Going out for dinner still holds a bit of sparkle and magic for me. Some folks see going out for dinner as a normal everyday thing to do, but even though I now go out a lot for food, I have never shaken off that thrill you get when going out for a 'treat'. Not sure if it is the hangover of student days where going out for food was getting a potatoe fritter from the chippy or what - it still seems special to me.

So it really annoys me when I go somewhere and it is disappointing. I wrote about Rick's a while back and gave it a good review. Well, consistency is everything. I took my friend Mac and I had been raving about the wonderful cocktails etc and so had built up the experience a bit.

The first issue was that on ordering drinks the waiter informed me they no longer did the espresso cocktail. Disaster. I had been licking my lips in anticipation. And really, I wish bars didn't chop and change their drinks menus so frequently - how can you develop a regular drink in a particular bar when they do that?

The second was that Mac wanted an orange juice and lemonade but - no orange juice. I mean, it is a bar and a restaurant, isn't OJ one of the key ingredients you would have? And if you don't, what about nipping to the nearest shop and getting some? Rick's is smack bang in the middle of town - it's not out in the sticks.

We got cranberry and lemonade - so no urinary tract infections for us - and got on to the business of food.

Mac had risotto - I can't remember what he said about it which to be honest implies that it wasn't great. Mac loves food as much as I do. I ordered antipasti as a main. Olives, cured meats, tomatoes, peppers and garlic mayo I was ok with (although garlic mayo is a bit strange - what about houmous or an oil/balsamic dip?) but there was only one slice of baguette bread. I expect there to be more bread when that is the only carb and is the main vehicle by which to savour the veg and meats with. Of all the things you could cut back on I wouldn't have said bread was top of the list.

The puddings did not endear us either. My mango cheescake was plain cheescake filling drizzled with a commercial mango sauce - definitely not made on the premises - and the base was soggy. I like a crunchy base to contrast with the filling. Mac had creme brulee which came in a tiny portion and while he did eat it wasn't exactly lighting his fire.

The service was also very slow and we had about three different waiters serving us. All in all, a bad experience and unfortunately for Rick's, bad tends to stick in the memory longer than good. If this had been an anniversary dinner or special occasion I woudl have been very annoyed. As it was, it marred a very good evening with Mac - who is always a delight to dine with!

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