I dined here about a week ago with the girlfriend to celebrate her birthday. We are both in our mid twenties and probably were not the average customer for the restaurant. Normally that results in being looked at funny for about half a second and everything is fine after that. V&A was not one of those restaurants.
When we first arrived, the hostess asked my girlfriend if she was cold and would like a shall. She politely declined, but the hostess asked again saying that the dining room was cold. Again, girlfriend politely declined. Finally, when we were seated, the hostess asked AGAIN. OK, we get it, you don't like the cut of her cocktail dress. It wasn't particularly revealing, and there was no cleavage apparent, but whatever. Girlfriend accepted, just to stop it, but was fairly well humiliated already.
When the waiter came and asked for our drink orders, we told him that we would just have the wine paring. He offered to bring us the champagne that would come with the amuse and we accepted. After walking away from the table, the waiter returned and asked to see ID. Normally, not a big deal. I question the necessity when you are spending 500 dollars on a meal, but that's not my call. The waiter then says he needs to see our IDs under "better light" and walks away with them and only returns after a few minutes. Now, I've worked as a bartender and know there are only a few things he could possibly have been doing, as the light was fine to read in the dining room. If V&A really needs to read the mag strip, check the ID with a black light, or anything else to assure that we are 21, I'm at a loss. No where else has this ever happened to me, so I was a bit miffed. He eventually returned, and all was well I thought.
When the waitress brought out our personalized menus, she congratulated us on our wedding anniversary - she had the wrong menus. She was flustered, apologized, and disappeared for a few minutes and eventually returned with the correct menus. As she explained the menu she seemed off and skimmed on several of the explanations. Maybe she was thrown off by the wrong menus, but given that waiters at Artist Pointe and Le Cellier were able to explain their menus with better detail and feeling I was disappointed.
We ordered different courses with the wine pairings and were in no way disappointed with the food. The amuses were all interesting, the starter courses delicate and complex, and all of the wine pairings were matched perfectly. I really enjoyed everything about the food and can say it is one of the best meals I have ever had.
That being said, I felt like an insider looking in. I don't mind the haughtiness of the restaurant, but I feel like instead of it being a part of a shared experience, it resulted in us feeling excluded and judged. This was something that I looked forward to for many months, but looking back now have decidedly mixed feelings on it. I don't mind paying the money for the food, but thought the service would reflect the price. It definitely didn't.