We had lunch at Browns Islington on Christmas day two years and very much enjoyed the meal. The food was fine, as was the service; in fact our only concern was that the portions were so generous that we were unable to finish the meal. We were happy to book again this Christmas and were looking forward to the meal.
But it was a very different and very poor experience this year. The food was of very poor quality, in fact at what point my 13 year old daughter said "This tastes like school dinners". How right she was. The starters were uniformly poor. One of our main courses (roast turkey) was of such poor quality it tasted like a microwave meal, while the other main course (lobster thermidor) was the smallest half a lobster I have ever seen. And who thought it a good idea to serve lobster thermidor with brussels sprouts, carrots and roast potatoes? These vegetables were, in any case, all but inedible - badly cooked and slathered in butter they made me feel quite ill. The desserts, like the starters, were not as awful as the main courses, but, like the starters, were of the sort of quality one would expect in a service station, not in a restaurant. The cheese plate, when it came, was not the generous mix of cheeses we were offered two years ago, instead it was a miserly selection of overly chilled cheeses and the size of the portion was surely intended for two at the maximum not four. And finally, the service was not a patch on two years ago, with the wine not arriving until we were well into the meal and repeated requests to hang our coats somewhere being met with blank incomprehension.
It is hard for me to understand how a restaurant can decline so far in just two years. You can rest assured that we will not be booking again next Christmas.
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