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“...don't throw away your brasserie...”
Review of Irvins Brasserie - CLOSED

Irvins Brasserie
Cuisines: British
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Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Families with children, Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Reviewed February 12, 2014

I'm not averse to reviewing my reviews. I was here last year. It was very good. God enough to go back, and confidently, with friends. A return visit makes for fairer judgement.
That's not to dismiss negative criticism from customers on these boards....the customer is always right...but a lot depends on your measurement standard ON THE DAY. So what we judge on is a snapshot. Hence the repeat visit. Was it better the second time around? Well, a grudging "yes". You see, there was and is an ongoing set of problems. Significantly, the staff seemed happier. Both of them. Yes....just TWO waiting on for what was, after an hour into our excellent lunch,..a busy restaurant. I counted 29 covers. The line between profit and loss, in any restaurant, is an extension of the same line between good and poor service. Irvins...you NEED more staff.
OK. To practicalities.
1) The food. Excellent presentation, good flavours, accomplished techniques...but oh dear me, the portion sizes are very inconsistent. Someone is NOT doing the background costings. I had the Craster Kipper salad. It was very good, as last time....but looky here, we are on a bloody fish quay, for chrissake. I can BUY a kipper for £2 and that would serve four for starters...so why is the fishy stuff so meanly distributed on my plate. Sorry guys....but you are becoming forensic. Next time I'll buy a kipper and smuggle it in to mix with my salad.
Fish cakes...big, succulent, luscious...excellent; certainly more VFM than the kippery one....and the Scotch egg....wonderful, everyone said so...clever to get the runny yoke but its all just practice...so VFM again become a consideration. Overall, this is us liking it. If things are tight in this business it is false economy to prune away at portion sizes...that way you will lose the clientele...who tell.
2) The wine. We are not in Park Lane....we are in North Shields. If we want a bottle of Chateau bottled Margaux we will pay through the nose for it....savour it....and pass on our compliments to the wine waiter. If we want a glass of house wine then it should be GOOD but reasonably priced. It was and it wasn't. All agreed that there was some arrogance in the wine department....but worse was to come.
3) The service. What to say without repetition? The service scraped by on good humour and good luck. There is a management input/training scarcity as well as a shortage of bodies waiting on...if you believe you cannot afford more staff you should know that in the final analysis you cannot afford less staff. The balancing of the books is difficult but not impossible. You DO take bookings so you should have SOME idea of how many staff are needed....yes, NEEDED.
4) The bill. Now listen up. This mandatory service charge has GOT to stop. We are BIG tippers for BIG service and 10% may well be our mark...but that is OUR prerogative, not yours. They all do it, you may say. No, they do not all do it....I remind you again, this is the North Shields Fish Quay....check out the other restaurants. I did.
5) The ambience. Open kitchen...hmmmm....never sure about this. I like the mystery of "how it is done" and am unsure about wanting to see just how damned busy it all is whilst I am waiting for my Cod ( Good but miniscule. 'nuff said) as it seems that the visible procedure becomes the point of focus. It is what it is...until something goes wrong THEN the almighty debacles twixt chef/chef and chef/waiter and Maitre de/head chef etc is right out there in the open It has been commented on so it must be true...er....a customer said so. Music good and as unobtrusive as it was unnecessary.
6) Finally a real area of concern. Vegetables. You remember vegetables. The pretty coloured things that accompany your "meat" and balance the meal. Oh, you CAN have some...but they are EXTRA. Why? This is a RESTAURANT and I deserve a balanced meal. Include, please. Not a negative option..just a carrot or a florette of broccolli or a sliced bean or two or a nicely softened ..well, you get it.

And so we ate and enjoyed...again. We moaned afterwards, just a little, about the things mentioned abve. We praised the staff for working so hard and the chefs for turning out such good food. Generally speaking, we all agreed that we would come again. Some would not...I read the reviews...but if you don't support ventures like this you will be throwing away your Brasserie....and that would be a pity.

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1  Thank tectak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (653)
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364 - 368 of 653 reviews

Reviewed February 9, 2014

We forgot to book sunday lunch at The Staiths House,so unfortunately ended up in Irvins brasserie.
After entering Irvins we were told there were no tables available unless we wanted to sit at
the bar.I spotted a table by the window and was told that my party of two adults and one child wouldnt fit on it becouse the plates were to big!luckely a very nice couple who were on a four seater swapped with us.We later found out that the plates arn't
only big,there dirty,cold and have very little food on!!Service was very poor to and to forced to pay a 10% service charge,whether your happy with the service or not is just not on!
all in all we left hungry and with a sour taste in our mouth,so much so enough to write our first ever tripadviser review!
if you want good food,service with a smile go to The Staithes House across the road,not
Irvins Brassiere

2  Thank nothernjay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2014

I don't often do restaurant reviews but just feel like I have a sour taste after our experience. We went for my birthday, having heard about it on twitter, we were torn between The Staith House opposite, which we now wish we went!

Table was booked for 8pm which was fine and got seated straight away. The staff seemed quite stressed especially the short boy kid who spoke so quickly and more or less shouted at us. There was no consistent server, just random wandering seemed to be the method.

We ordered prosecco to start, then a bottle of wine, but they brought 2 glasses instead of a bottle. The food took a whole but we were fine, I would rather it was fresh. The meal itself was beautiful but took over 2 hours from entering to main course. We were chatting so wasn't a big deal but you know, noted. You could forgive these niggles if it were a new restaurant
or really busy but it wasn't.

On ordering the bill, we were then presented with a bill with 10% service charge on. Really?? We were brought the wrong wine, food at a slow pace & were on edge by the dodgy staff. We did pay, but that's what I'm now regretting. With a £93 bill for a nice'ish 2 course meal with very statutory service, a little hard to swallow!

So all in all, I wish we had gone to Staith House.

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1  Thank Richard H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2014

Unable to understand negative comments about this restaurant, Have been a regular for ages - breakfast Saturday and Sunday is superb, what a start to the day. Only downside, after a fantastic breakfast, still not hungry enough to enjoy Sunday dinner - so opt for one or the other. Staff are helpful and friendly, not too intrusive, Graham and his team have everything well organised. Early dinner menu ticks all the boxes. And finally, they serve a cracking Rose wine !

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Thank Anne R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2014

This is a bright, fresh and friendly restaurant. The food is excellent and the building has a great look, both in and outside. I had serrano ham with pickled pear as a starter and it was excellent - the pear was sharp and fresh and really added a zing to the meal. Main course was baked stonebass (apparently also known as "wreck fish"!) - I was expecting something similar to sea bass (and apparently they are related, though not closely) but the flesh is heavier and, for my taste, not quite as enjoyable; but it was a good dish and very well presented and served.
The staff are friendly and attentive without being constantly hovering over you and nothing seemed to be too much trouble.
A very good restaurant serving good, fresh food at reasonable prices. It has a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere and it's nice that you can see your food being prepared and cooked in the open plan kitchen. My only complaint is that the room was a little cold - largely because the door opens straight onto the street and it was a cold night when we visited - but it's a minor quibble; I'd definitely go again and I'd definitely recommend it.

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Thank Rickbtv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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