We've visited this restaurant twice now, after friends introduced us to the Miller and Carter in Reading which impressed us.
On both our visits we were very pleased with the quality of the food - steaks, ribs, starters, desserts were all good. Some portions are a little on the mean side - for example the full-rack of ribs is only just enough, and one member of our group felt the soup portion was small but overall they're fine.
It's not particularly expensive either, so I would rate the food as very good value.
Our concern is with the service. The staff seem friendly and helpful but on both our visits the service has been very slow. On our recent visit we were seated quickly but then waited about 10 minutes before anyone offered to take a drinks order - we'd had plenty of time to look at the menus so took the opportunity to order our food while we had her attention. The starters then took a long time to come - including even the bread we'd requested, which to be fair she warned would come with the starters. The first food arrived on our table 45 minutes after we'd sat down. This carried on - whenever we had her attention, our waitress was very helpful but there were very long periods where nothing happened.
Our impression however - which may not be right - was that the the problem lay in the kitchen, which is open plan so you can see what's going on. We've often been impressed in other restaurants where you can see the kitchen area how smoothly and efficiently they run - different staff working on different things all with a sense of speed and efficiency. This one didn't give that impression at all - it looked casual and rather disorganised. Perhaps this is the problem.
I discussed this with the manager at some length. He listened and made some good points but overall he didn't seem to recognise that this kind of service is not OK. Not only is it out of line with other restaurants of all kinds but it's out of line with another branch of M&C (the Reading one I referred to above), which has been much more efficient the two times we've been there. Sadly, if the manager doesn't really appreciate there's a problem, it's unlikely it will improve.
Of course no one likes to be rushed but there's a big difference between a leisurely and relaxed meal and one where you keep wondering when the next course might arrive. Sadly, this falls firmly into the latter category.
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