We didn't go to the show upstairs, as all we wanted was something to eat, but you could certainly hear & feel it going on. The Bistro itself was empty at 9pm & somewhat cold, with music at a volume to try & drown out what was going on upstairs; lighting a little too bright for that time of the night.
Despite being the only customers, service was polite but clumsy & a little overbearing; the waiter hanging beside your table for just that 30 seconds too long to make you feel uncomfortable.
I had a very agreeable glass of a local Sauvingnon Blanc, I was prepared to order a bottle of something that really tickled my fancy, but sadly it was out of stock. The wine list is both comprehensive & varied, but this can set you up for disappointment - establishments of this size
can rarely afford to carry it all, and the waiter knew nothing whatsoever about the wines - ambitious is probablly more apt.
My partner had a 'fresh apple juice', which was anything but, in fact distinctly off and had to be sent back pronto, the barman expressing his disdain very publicly. It was disturbing seeing it poured from a larger 5 litre plastic can, which had clearly seen better days - no proper bar pourers here. Apple juice is not a common request in a bistro, and should not only be ordered, but also purchased as stock with caution, in sensible quantities. The waiter was gracious, but unnecessarily fawning at the same time.
One cannot complain about portion sizes, they were way too large for us and we found it off-putting; I specifically asked for a small portion, but didn't see the waiter go and talk to anyone about it. I tried the chicken in Marsala, cream & mushroom sauce, which is a difficult dish to get right at the best of times - if it doesn't come straight from pan to table, then it is inclined to curdle & lose it's attractiveness, which sadly is what happened here. It was served on a bed of basically mushy, sliced potatoes with 'Mediterranean' roast veg, which rather seemed to me to be of the frozen variety spent hanging around in a bain marie. As mentioned, the sauce was separating & had too much wholegrain mustard for my liking.
My partner tried the Portuguese half roast, lemon and herb chicken - basically Nandos with bad, soggy chips & a wilted salad threatening the whole thing.
It seemed to us that the Bistro itself was playing second fiddle to the show & buffet going on upstairs, chef spending more time chatting to the barman than thinking about anything remotely epicurean; we were evidently an inconvenience to them. The old addage appears to be true, you will always get poorly constructed food in an empty restaurant, especially in ones with a plethora of dishes on the menu.
Overall the experience was disappointing, it would not have been difficult to do better in my view, and I did feel a little sorry for our waiter; he wasn't trained to a good standard & I couldn't help thinking he was a little afraid of his colleagues, or management. Good waiters need to be confident in conveying to the kitchen and bar what the customer wants, and those staff should have the good grace to take orders from the waiting staff.
Richard's supper Bistro may be able to put on a good show upstairs, but it fails to achieve this downstairs!
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.