I had been looking forward to treating myself to a nice dinner while on travel in London. The Goring Restaurant is where I chose. I was dining solo and arrived at 6 pm. The restaurant was completely empty until 15 minutes later when a family of 3 arrived and was seated right next to me. I didn't really mind but thought it would have been nice to at least have a table between us being as though the entire large dining room was empty for the next hour and a half at least.
But that was only the start. I got to watch the family of three get menus and then bread. I had arrived at least 15 minutes earlier yet I was still sitting there like a lump on a log. Finally I flagged someone down and asked to see a menu and to have some bread. The staff was very nice, I do have to say that. And someone did offer me a newspaper, which was nice since I was alone.
I was asked if I wanted to see the wine list, and when I said no, I was met with an eyebrow raise. Really? This is fine dining London style? I ordered from the Pre-Theater menu which considering the lavish look of the dining room was quite a bargain at 33 pounds (2 courses).
I placed my food order (goat cheese and beets and cod & chips). The goat cheese dish was delicious. The cod was just average cod, though they did serve the peas it came with in a separate pot which was cute. Nobody asked me if I wanted tarter sauce, and I guess I just assumed they didn't offer it. That is until the young girl who was part of the family of three got some. Guess I should have sat with them!
Then the bill came and it was about 30 pounds over what I had expected. Yes, I had gotten the still water which was just under 5 pounds (yikes!), but still. I mentioned this to the woman who brought the bill, that I didn't think it was the correct price. And she said I had the regular menu not the prix fix. I told her yes, I did. And she said (again) NO, you got the regular menu (loudly and I'm sure the family of three seated right on top of me was wondering what was going on). I insisted again, and she said she would go and check. Then she came back and apologized. Typically I would brush this off but this is a place that could be way more than the ~40 pounds it did cost me (with the prix fix menu!). And I felt that I wasn't really welcomed, not sure if it was the fact that I was eating alone?
To summarize, it's a beautiful dining room with some winners on the menu and some things that are just the same as you'd find in any restaurant (in fact I've had much better fish & ships in London). The staff (most of them) are very nice. However I felt like I was at a restaurant opening with all of the fumbles and missteps.
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