My wife and I entertained nine guests at the Brasserie Grand on Thursday 04 August. This was the first time I had eaten there since the days when this hotel was a Holiday Inn, back in the late 1980s, and when the restaurant had an excellent reputation.
At 19:50, as we took our seats at our reserved table everything looked promising; several waiters were in attendance, and the table was set with classic silver service – white tablecloth and napkins, and a full set of cutlery and wine and water glasses. I requested the wine list, and menus were distributed. I order a Sancerre and the house red, which were duly offered and poured.
It was then that the disappointments began.
The waiters melted into the background. Finally, we were able to order. Some guests chose a starter, others a main course only. After some time, an amuse bouche was presented to everyone. A little thought would have caused the waiter to enquire of the two guests who had ordered vegetarian starters and mains whether they were able to eat fish; in the event these two amuse bouche were returned, and vegetarian versions substituted. We then awaited the starters; wine glasses were emptied and, failing to locate a waiter, I reached for the nearby bottles and passed them around the table.
A waiter appeared with the starters and I requested further bottles of wine and attention to my guests‘ requirements. Some time after finishing the starters a waiter reappeared and cleared the plates. After a few minutes I again found it necessary to pass the wine bottles around the table.
And we waited.
And waited. Until well after 21:30
Finally a waiter appeared with the main courses. My daughter had by then reached the limit of her patience, stood up and informed the waiter of his shortcomings in no uncertain terms. Wine was served and another bottle was opened.
Again we waited for plate clearance. I offered desserts but no-one felt able to endure another potentially long wait. I called for the bill, paid and told the waiter of my deep unhappiness. He advised me that they were overloaded with a large private party in the adjacent restaurant extension. I responded to the effect that was of absolutely no concern to me.
Oh, and the food? Not bad – edible, fairly standard and not particualrly imaginative, but ruined by the long pauses and lack of service.
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