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“Extremely overpriced and disappointing”
Review of Retro Bistrot - CLOSED

Retro Bistrot
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $52
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Description: One of South West London's premier restaurants, the popular Retro Bistrot serves excellent French-style food in relaxed and stylish surroundings. Winner of the Good Food Guide London Restaurant of the Year 2012, and proud owner of two AA Red Rosettes, the Retro manages to deliver a sense of luxury in both food and ambiance at very affordable prices. Stylish but down-to-earth diners are welcome to enjoy the full menu or simply pop in for a snack and a drink. Key to its success is the blend of great food with a unique brand of personal service. Led by the inimitable and flamboyant Maitre D', Frenchman Vincent Gerbeau, the team provide charming, attentive but discreet service.
Guildford
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Extremely overpriced and disappointing”
Reviewed June 9, 2013

I just dined at this restaurant last night and was extremely disappointed. On entry, the decor far from retro french and resembled more of a french parlour than a place for dining. The seating was uncomfortable and the hairstyles of some of the waiting style was more appropriate for a hair salon than a chic french restaurant. The vegetarian menu was poor, I would have preferred to have seen a various french tarts that you get in proper french restaurants rather than steamed vegetables. I ordered the cod which was cooked on the top layer and undercooked to the point of translutent pink rather than complete white. The mange tout had too much butter soaked in it and as for what was referred to as 'saute potatoes' was little more than the either the lowest grade Maris Pipers or load grade plain white potatoes which was diced and simply deep fried! When I complained, the only offering was to offer me a compliment drink on the house but no discount on the actual bill for the food. I think I would give this restaurant a miss and was merely a case of dining to the entertainment of the 'Emperor's new coat'. I have had much better cooked french food at Cafe Rouge and Cote de Bistro. As for the price, it will burn a whole in your pocket. Dont say, you have not been warned......

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank 227Cecile76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VincentGerbeau, Owner at Retro Bistrot, responded to this review, June 11, 2013
Thaks for taking the time to leave a review, Cecile.

Decor is always a matter of individual taste, of course, but we mix bistro-style furniture (the word 'bistro' deriving from the modest and simple French restaurants of old Paris) with more colourful and artistic elements. There is a choice of bistro-style wooden chairs or well-padded sofa benches. We've never had a complaint about the comfort of the chairs and would have happily offered an alternative had you mentioned it at the time. (Our restaurant was recently featured in a top trade magazine specifically for its interior design).

We're sorry you were disappointed with the vegetarian options. Our chef is always happy to make changes or adapt dishes on request.

We do not use low-grade potatoes. We pride ourselves on the creative use of top quality ingredients. Again we are very sorry the dish did not come up to your expectations. Our Good Food Guide Award, Michelin stars and AA rosettes all testify to the usual high standards of our restaurant.

Vincent
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

343 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    217
    67
    32
    16
    11
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Disappointed”
Reviewed June 4, 2013

Really excited to be going to Retro as not been before and celebrating friend's birthday. Decor is lovely, food interesting but when asking advice on the menu from head waiter/owner(?) he was rude, condesending and it was completely uncalled for. Became talking point of our evening, and not for a good reason.
Won't be going back.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Sarah B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VincentGerbeau, Owner at Retro Bistrot, responded to this review, June 5, 2013
Hello Sarah

We are generally highly rated for our level of service and sense of fun so we are very sad to hear of your experience. It may be that my Gallic sense of humour hit the wrong note on that occasion - in which case I can only apologise (assuming it was me who served you - if it wasn't me then I shall find the culprit and give them a stern talking to!).

I can assure you that rudeness and condescension is absolutely NOT our style at the Retro. We encourage a relaxed, casual environment; discreet service when required and jokey interaction when it seems welcome. Sincere apologies if we got it wrong. Please come back and give us another chance. Ask for me - Vincent - and I'll apologise personally with a glass of something special.

Best wishes
Vincent Gerbeau
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great Lunch !!!”
Reviewed June 2, 2013

We were a party of four adults for Sunday lunch yesterday. We had room to breath and talk at a nice window table. The food and service was excellent. There were some items on the menu not available because they always cook with fresh ingredients in season. In typical French style the meal was unhurried and the service polite, efficient and slightly understated with none of the platitudes used by other high street restaurants.

We'll be looking to go back soon
Ken , Teddington

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Caitlans1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Eceptional servive - very poor food”
Reviewed May 29, 2013

The positives are fantastic service with front of house staff impeccable and beyond and criticism. The ambience is also great with beautiful surroundings.

However the food was extremely poor. My starter of pigeon was over cooked and even hard to cut with a insipid sweetcorn sauce. The main of duck ravioli was overcooked shredded duck with overly sweet sauce on stodgy ravioli. Despite both dishes being set back unfinished there was no response from the kitchen indicating a complete disregard for any costumer satisfaction. We will not be back until the chef is changed.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Ian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VincentGerbeau, Owner at Retro Bistrot, responded to this review, June 5, 2013
Hello Ian

We are very sorry you were disappointed with your visit to the Retro. It is highly unusual for us to get complaints about the quality of the food, as I hope the majority of other reviews will show (and our awards).

Our chef has high standards and was upset to hear of your experience. If we'd known at the time we would not have hesitated to put things right. We always welcome feedback and negative feedback, although disappointing, allows us to make improvements. We have checked with some of our regulars who were in that night and none experienced issues with the food so it seems your dishes may have slipped through the net.

It is much easier for us to rectify problems when customers to let us know at the time if anything is not right. It is possible, when we are busy, that dishes get cleared up without referring finished dishes to the chef.

I do hope you'll drop in again sometime and let us show you just how right we can get it! Our chef would be delighted to provide you with some sample dishes without charge so we can change your bad impression.

Best wishes
Vincent Gerbeau
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shepperton, England, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Brilliant for a Birthday”
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Came back for a belated Birthday celebration lunch and was delighted once again.
The set lunch was tremendously good value and rather yummy too. All in all hard to beat.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Peter M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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