I really really want Artisan to do well. The ethos is in the right place, local and simply cooked food served in a delicious way. What could go wrong!? Certainly the food is very good, the meat/ fish platters are just simply luxurious, all main meals are very well proportioned and tasty and the price, although at the top end for that kind of food, remains reasonable. As for light refreshments - coffees and teas are fresh and lovely and coca cola is served with a slice of orange which is a revelation! The displays around the restaurant give you a chance to buy many local crafts and products is great and I could very easily spend a fortune there if allowed to.
Generally - service is shocking. I have been probably towards 10 times and not once has there been excellent service or even 'un-rememberable' service. When you get there expect to stand in a queue looking at empty tables whilst a member of staff attempts not only to seat everyone coming in but also take payment from everyone leaving. From then on you have a very formal introduction where they will tell you everything from what their name is to who will be taking your cash at the end of your meal reminding you to stay at the table and they will come and take payment. Through this you sit nodding awkwardly. Then .... you wait..... and wait... until someone comes and takes your drinks order. Then you wait.... and wait.... until your drinks turn up (It is at this point the most fainthearted have already left) Then you wait again for someone to take a food order. After that food turns up pretty quickly, but then you wait for another eternity for someone to come and take your money. When no-one does you eventually give up and go to the main desk - thus further contributing to the bottleneck you first experienced when you came in. Every member of staff is friendly, but don't ever expect to get everything you ordered on the first go. The good side to this is that if you didn't get it at the table it also doesn't turn up on the bill saving that awkward ' you have charged us for something we didn't get' conversation.
Booths - I love you, Artisan - I love your food. But that is the only reason I keep going back there. Sort your service out (it really isn't that hard) and you are on to a winner.
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