Believe it or not the is my first negative review of any service. I am a Westport local who lives away and made a special trip home for the weekend. Unfortunately it was greatly soured by booking into this poorly fronted 'eatery'. I have eaten in many places ranging from basic to two star fine-dinning and I have never come across such a horrible place and what makes it worse, it's on my own door-step! In all honesty we were 20 minutes late for our booking, for which I was sorry for but don't worry we were punished for this. Greeted with ' oh yes booking for eight o' clock, emphasis on the eight and a stern look at his watch, fair enough. The restaurant wasn't half full at this point. I was especially surprised to have the acquaintance of a lovely dirty dish trolly left amongst the empty tables and a nice view of a disorganised looking reception area, nice clash to the grossly advertised wine bottle decor. We were seated and as a reminder to our tardiness, ignored. Unusually the bread was dropped off first and then eventually the menus. After we decided what to have from the menus, a while later Robert then greeted us with the specials, this felt really disjointed. Though they felt this was some kind of effective approach, I don't think so. Most if not all restaurants announce the specials as they deliver the menus or shortly afterwards, not after you have decided on from what you thought was the complete menu. He also had to read them from a scrappy notebook and was very weak in presenting them, he didn't make them come across good at all. After announcing the specials, he immediately took the order, giving no time to think and compare our existing choices, so what was the point. The starter was fine, an antipasti of fresh ingredients. As I had further plans later that night, two of us had to pop out for 'ten' minutes to make immediate arrangements. At this point the starter had not been cleared and considering service was slow (and understaffed) I felt I had the opportunity to do this, what a mistake! We rejoined the rest of my party to be told that they had asked the staff to hold the mains until we rejoined and they had said it wasn't a problem. Again I felt we were ignored even though he had seen our return and he knew we had other plans post-dinner. Fair enough, I'm sure the other less complicated diners seemed more appealing. When he did approach us, we got a bouncing finger hoping between my brother and I saying ah so you two are the ones holding everything up. It's funny because I didn't have the same reaction to his slow service. On arrival of two of the mains, he announced the steak must be well-done by now because it had to be left on the grill for soooo long. It took a while for the rest of the mains to be delivered, his excuse was that we had held up the whole restaurant, that the kitchen had come to a stand-still for us. I laughed awkwardly thinking he was joking but, like the rest of his comments I realised they were blatant digs. He really, really upset me, to the point I no longer wanted to eat his food or remain there. I eventually took a few bites of the main to keep contentment at the table, unfortunately the ravioli was bland and felt it had been stuffed with indistinctive fish paste. He made me feel so horrible for 'ruining' the running of his establishment that night. I didn't want to create a scene or upset the rest of my party further. And he noticed, but made no effort to enquire or make amends. On paying he was told the comments he made weren't particularly nice. To which he replied and raised his hands I have other customers to think about. I have never been spoken to or treated like that at any establishment in my life. No word of a lie, I ate in Mocha Beans earlier that day who were friendly, professional, accommodated me when I asked for something specific and served up a tasty meal, good job too considering the disaster to follow. I'm a professional, a dental surgeon in fact, who works in a busy dental practice carrying out complicated procedures. I have patients who arrive late, to which I do inform them of the importance of timing as I have no gaps between appointments. But I don't keep digging at them for it, I drop it, get on with my job and make them feel comfortable. I try and accommodate them even when they unintentionally disrupt my flow, I adapt and remain professional and organised. My advise is if you don't conform to Robert's idea of an adeqaute customer or are running late, just give it a miss. My friends in the area were shocked when I told them with at least one saying he had heard about the owner's reputation. We all have off days, but this felt more like an attitude problem.
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