I had dinner last night at the Hailsham chain; after many pleasant meals at the Eastbourne branch we decided to visit the Hailsham restaurant after moving to the area. My last visit being over 10 years ago; i recall the same beautiful setting in an old historic school building I remember great food and family memories from many nights dining here. On my first visit back since then I returned to different staff with the same friendly qualities, unfortunately the quality of food has massively declined, the starters True to form as expected an obviously frozen yet indulgent guilty pleasure usually experienced at Italian chain restaurants, however for the main we ordered a oven baked spaghetti carbonara alforno. Carbonara being one of my favourite and most tested dishes i found this to be the most dry and flavourless of all, along with truffle fries which originally came out plain and once pointed out to waiting staff were sent back to kitchen and covered with some parmesan adding absolutely nothing to the bowl except more dryness. As stated the carbonara was the worst i have seen zero sauce just a clump of melted mozzarella on top with some pancetta and chicken. Carbonara is one of the basics you expect to be on point when choosing an Italian restaurant, oven baked or not the bland dryness was quiet surprising especially after having the same dish in the Eastbourne branch which was great. The pizza ordered was decent however the pasta and fries screamed ‘monday graveyard shift’ after sharing the pizza we spoke to the the waiters and explained we was unhappy paying full price for the half untouched meal. With both my partner and I coming from a publican and restaurant background it is VERY rare for us to speak up against our own community! However £20 for two untouched and poorly executed dishes was hard to compromise on. After great understanding and agreement from the waiting staff we had this removed from the bill. We then paid and added a tip telling the waiters to keep the change. After this the chef came out of the kitchen and scoffed loudly ‘keep the change’ Utter disbelief! As previously stated coming from the restaurant Industry and working over 10 years within the business including family business ownership I think the behaviour is absolutely disgusting. To make paying customers feel uncomfortable for poor cooking and laziness is wrong on so many levels and shows very poor work ethic, arrogance and lack of respect. What a shame. Will definitely not be returning. Shout out to the waiting staff on that night, hope they get to keep the tip as i can assure none was directed at appalling kitchen staff. Except for having to ask for a few basics expected in Italian restaurant ie. spoon for spaghetti and parmesan for pasta dish staff were very attentive and friendly. Sorry but it will be my last visit to the Hailsham branch which is a shame as we have just bought a house in the area, my dad being a landlord of a pub himself would never allow such an act to happen within the business.. another hot headed chef unable to take criticism for a poorly served dish. Never mind more business for the rest of the high street. Ciao!
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