After reading so many good reviews about Tarragon, we decided to finally give it a go. And how I wish that we read the not-so-good ones before too, because we would not have bothered. It all started the second we walked in. We were greeting by the host who was rudely interrupted by the head chef (and owner) who could not find a particular wine that he was looking for. To make up for this rude interruption, the head chef attempted to make a “joke”, which was more of a snide remark about one of my boyfriend's tattoos. I must also mention that we did book a table but were told we have to wait as it was quite busy. Having no room to wait, we stood between the stairs and door watching one of the waiters try to fish out a lobster from the tank, making a mess and breaking his net in the meantime. I even had to look away at one point while he continuously smashed the lobster with his net in an attempt to get it in. Not very appetizing.
Eventually we were sat upstairs on an unset table, which the staff then set with cutlery and glasses while we sat there. Next came the menus which are on pieces of wood and are so faded that you can barely read them. What was worse, the wine list is so enormous, literally, it is the size of a tombstone! There was no room for it on the table, let alone room to open it! I had to set it between my lap and the table while I looked at the food menu.
Next comes the worst service that we have ever experienced. The waiter looked visibly stressed and busy, he looked everywhere but at us while taking our order, he even stopped to say something to another waiter whilst in the middle of taking our order. At one point he even had to remove his fancy ear piece just so he could actually listen to us. Which brings me to another point – waiters wearing ear pieces? I can understand that the restaurant has two floors, but come on, they looked more like bouncers than waiters in a high end restaurant. Not to mention they don't really seem to actually be using them to communicate either because they were non-stop shouting things to each other across the floor anyway. When the waiter came back to pour our wine, he was so busy talking to other staff that he dripped wine all across our table as he poured it into our glasses!
We had at least 6 different waiters/other staff come to our table to take our order, clear plates, bring new ones, etc etc, but not once did someone come and ask us how our meal was, pour our wine or check if we needed anything else.
One last point I must mention, we could not understand what the point is of having chefs constantly going in and out of the kitchen (one in particular had a filthy uniform) to serve dishes, and the head chef/owner spends the whole night waltzing around tables opening bottles of wine and trying to be funny, when his place should be in the kitchen! On our way out, he was sitting outside with a couple and didn't even acknowledge us or say thank you, nothing.
All that being said, our starters were very good (soup and ravioli), main courses were nothing special (chicken), and while my dessert was ok (crème brulee), my boyfriend thought that his was just horrible (summer pudding) and in fact he left most of it on his plate. And the bread was so dry, it was as if it was sliced 12 hours earlier and left out.
We left Tarragon feeling so cheated and our only comment was “what a waste of money”. Call it a bad day, call it what you like, but we will definitely not be returning.
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