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“Less gimmicks, better service and food.” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Garden Kitchen

Garden Kitchen
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Cafe, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Kids, Families with children
Dining options: Brunch, Breakfast, Lunch, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Sunderland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Less gimmicks, better service and food.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 25, 2012

We passed this place after parking in Eldon Gardens and had a good first impression the food looked lovely and everyone seemed to be enjoying their meals. We went back today for lunch and as mentioned previously it was busy and the service suffered. We got seated quickly, menu and drinks were prompt however after taking our order we had to wait 30 minutes for our food. This might have been acceptable had the food been of a good standard. My steak sandwich was fine a little chewy and they didn't cut the fat off a pet hate of mine either render it or get rid of it. My mothers soup was billed as carrot, coriander and ginger which sounded delicious however when it arrived it was cold and didn't really taste of anything but cream. In addition after waiting 30 minutes for the food to arrive she wasn't given a soup spoon so we had to ask for that, along with salt and pepper which aren't on the tables and then we had to send the soup back because it was cold and wait another 10 minutes for it to return by which point my food was nearly all gone as it was going cold. My steak sandwich came with a butter knife which considering I had to cut tough fat off it was not acceptable. On listening to a few other tables there were some issues with drinks being served incorrectly and another woman complained her food was just 'average'. It's such a shame they have a great location and they give a good impression chips are served in mini frying baskets, if you order a picnic it is served on a mini picnic bench but simple things are being overlooked.

Overall the service wasn't great we did complain but the member of staff just said 'oh im sorry' and that was the end of that. One member of staff didn't seem to know who food was for he wandered around with plates until he worked out who had food and who didn't and just approached people going 'is this yours'. The presentation of the food is faultless but I'd rather have something look ordinary and taste great than the other way round.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank chinarose87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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333 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    165
    106
    29
    19
    14
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Durham
Level Contributor
166 reviews
104 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“owners take note - service is just not good enough”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2012

Had quite a bizarre experience at this restaurant. Arrived at lunch time to find it very quiet, only 4 people eating so proceeded to take a table not realising that you were meant to wait to be seated. A staff member then seemed to come from no where to race after us and ask if she could help. When we said we were taking a table for lunch she said there was queue and ushered us out of the dining area where we noticed 2 people waiting. Yes that's right a near empty restaurant with 2 people awaiting seating. She then seemed to take delight in seating the 2 people before us. On her return another lady had arrived and she proceeded to try to seat her ahead of us, punishment for not waiting in line I suspect! When this lady pointed out that she was actually behind us we were reluctantly seated at the very table we had just attempted to sit at! .

The menu is good and having noticed the sign at the counter stating 'please order here' my husband placed our order, only for the same waitress to return to collect it 5 mins later. Apparently half of the restaurant is self service the other half waitress service. How could we know, both parts looked the same? The food arrived soon (and very nice too but minus our drinks).We waited about 10 mins before asking about them and then about another 5 before they arrived, after having to ask again - all of our food having been consumed by now. The order of a cappuccino and a pot of hot water for me seemed to throw them, The water arriving in a small milk jug without any cup. When I asked for a cup the waitress (a different one) tried to take the water back until I suggested she just get a cup.My husband who usually takes sugar in his coffee decided it was easier to just drink up and pay rather than risk any more confusion.

Come on Garden Kitchen get your act together or you will very soon go the same way as previous restaurants on this site. Customers don't want to be made to feel like naughty children and the idea of 2 different ordering/seating systems in an open plan area is plain silly.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank golferDurham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chester le Street
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Late lunch at the GK”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 17, 2012

We got a bit confused about the protocol and ordered before we had selected a table and the sandwiches took a while to come but the service was good. We ordered two sandwiches and two large Americano filter coffees.
My wife and I shared a Smoked Northumbrian Cheddar & Fruit
Chutney on Sun-dried Tomato Finger Roll (v) and a Cajun Blackened Chicken, Roasted Red Peppers, Cos Lettuce & Jalapeño Mayo on Ciabatta. Both were more substantial than we might have thought and both were very tasty. Due to the wait for the food we were delighted to be offered a complimentary large coffee and soft drink.
Lovely relaxing surroundings great for a break from the Christmas shopping. Well recommended.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Richard G M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
31 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Perfect place until it gets busy”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 15, 2012 via mobile

Me and my boyfriend had breakfast here and was our first visit.

We enjoyed a beautiful eggs benedict, sausage and egg sandwich, grapefruit juice and storm tea. Excellent value and very happy with the service up until the place started to get busy,

We wanted to finish our breakfast with a nice slice of cake and two coffees but the staff were too busy with the fresh customers coming through the doors instead of looking after us, so we went elsewhere for dessert.

I would eat here again 100% but hopefully when there is more staff or we're valued a little better.

    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank CheishM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yorkshire
Level Contributor
41 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“A Haven away from the Hustle and Bustle of Eldon Square”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2012

Garden Kitchen lives in that area of of quality and tranquility called Eldon Gardens, located adjacent to and accessible from the Eldon Square shopping complex.

We arrived a little later than normal, just before 2pm, and it was clear that the cafe had been very busy, but fortunately there was a table free and we were quickly shown to our table. we ordered a pot of tea which came promptly whilst we perused the menu.

The menu has a good mix of ordinary and different, that made a good contrast. We decided to go for a picnic and were pleasantly surprised by what I would describe as an up market ploughmans lunch. No space for desserts, but from what I saw when I paid the bill, the options looked appealing.

Looking at previous reviews it seems that the place does get very busy and service could suffer, but for us we had a relaxed lunch experience - food quality was excellent, service time was about average and service quality excellent from staff still able to smile after what had been a busy lunch time.

We will definitely be back next time we are shopping in town.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank RyedaleRambler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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