• 13May

    Now this is a place worth visiting for a light bite to eat and a drink in a courtyard setting. This side of the road has captured a more intimate atmosphere without all the glitz and razzmatazz of the fountains surrounding the Burj.

    The service is friendly and the food very acceptable in an intimate courtyard that comes alive in the evening with the Arabian shisha filling the air. We have eaten in this place on a number of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed every time we have been back.

    Points to note wireless internet access is available for free as in many places in Dubai and that alcohol is not served between 4 and 6 in the afternoon due to some licensing law and the shisha pipes.

    There are a few suggestions to improve upon but none that would stop us from going back if things don’t change.

    Improvements

    1. Try serving the drinks all at once rather than a beer first then five minutes later the wine arrives
    2. Get reception hooked up to the internet so they can assist customers with local questions
    3. Menus are looking a bit tatty

    Conclusion

    Very happy with this place, making it reasonably priced in Dubai terms

  • 24Nov
      Address The Seahorse
    Venue 52-54 The Street, Shalford, Guildford,
    Score 6/10
    Food Evening dinner
    Group 4 Adults
    Date 25th September 2008

     

    This is an incredibly popular pub as it does do somethings very well but it fails in delivering consistency. The food is OK and the dining environment is comfortable. The format and dining experience is similar to that of the Inn on the Lake in Godalming so it wont come as a surprise that each form part of a small group of pubs which suffers in delivering consistency.

    If you get your timing right you can have a good time with service and food. We turned up for a very early evening meal about 17:50 and the restaurant was empty understably. As there was nobody to greet us at the door we made our way through to the restaurant and asked if we could sit down. “No” we were told and told to go and sit in the bar as the restaurant was not open until 18:00 – thats right we had to wait 10 minutes. Like naughty school children we went back into the bar and waited. Interestingly once we sat down the restaurant was taken over by the staff who were then told by the head chef what food was being served that evening. As you don’t see this very often it is worth noting as it indicates that there is some form of communication being maintained between the kitchen and front of house staff.

    Once the staff briefing had been completed at 18:15, yes thats 15 minutes after the restaurant should have opened we were then asked if we would like to go through. We were the first in and you would expect the restaurant to be spotless but unfortunately this was not the case. As we were shown the table there was food and used napkin underneath the table. Its just sloppy and unnecessary.

    During the meal we had to look for a waiter twice to get more drinks and when it came to the bill we had to ask for it twice. Once we had the bill we had to go to the bar and then had to wait an unreasonable amount of time to pay when there were staff just milling around. If there was a restaurant manager working he/she was no different from the staff waiting on tables so there was no one person orchestrating proceedings.

    I must say the pictures in the gents toilets are first class and would love to know where I could get them.

     

    Improvement Opportunities:

    1. Once the waiter puts the food on the table get them to ask if there is anything else required before running off
    2. Ensure the table and dining area is clean before the guests arrive
    3. Get a manager to manage and not wait on tables
    4. When waiting staff move through the dining area make sure they are aware that other tables may want their attention
    5. Pay more attention to those areas where they are tucked away
    6. Don’t just keep taking in more guests when there is not enough staff
    7. If the restaurant opens at 18:00 then don’t have your guests waiting until 18:15

    Conclusion

    We have eaten at the Seahorse on 5 or 6 occassions and will probably go again but only at the times when its not too busy as the wheels come off when too many people are allowed in.

    If you have also been to The Seahorse then please let us know what you think.

  • 23Nov

    Venue: Inn on the Lake, Ockford Road, Godalming, GU7 1RH
    Score: 6/10
    Food: Casual dining
    Group: 4 adults
    Date: 8th November 2008 PM

    This is an establishment that is so close to being great but fails on consistency. It tries to cram too many tables into the restaurant and the lounge area often has the apperance of a crèche with mothers and babies doing what they always do!

    We have eaten there on at least 6 occassions in the last 6 months and each time they get something wrong and then the following time its put right – very annoying. The only thing that we feel is consistent is the food – well done Chef.

    The waiting staff are dressed in a casual unifrom which suits the modern lounge style environment. We used to see a quite burly smiling duty manager that managed the staff – I am think he was from the southern hemisphere, but not seen him recently. Anyway he was great, pleasant efficient and very aware of what was happening in the restaurant and lounge areas. Recently we have not seen or recognised anyone taking over, as a result you see huddles of chit chatty staff that seem to wonder about.

    My biggest criticism is that if you book to go on a Saturday evening or Sunday lunch then the cramming of tables into the restaurant is all too obvious. We booked a table for four on a Saturday evening and on arrival we found it to be packed with customers. Sounds good but as is so often the case the cracks in the system are all too apparent. Before making anyone aware that we had arrived for dinner we stood by the bar watching what was going on, it was not pretty. There were guests getting up from their tables looking for a waiter whilst others took matters into their own hands by going straight to the bar to order more drinks.  There was clearly not enough staff and no one was managing the restaurant. Having seen enough I went to the reservations table at the entrance of the restaurant and told a waitress that we had arrived but we will not be staying for dinner. “Ok, what’s your name?”. She found me in the book then rubbed me out and was just about to walk off. I asked her if she wanted to know why we were not staying to which she felt obliged to listen to me. I told her in a very pleasant way that I had been watching proceedings and the restaurant was in chaos and we did not want to put our party through this trauma. “OK” she said and that was that. She could not have cared less. I would like to point out that whilst we were watching I did see that the food was still coming out of the kitchen very well prepared and looked great. So again well done Chef.

     

    Improvement Opportunities:

    1. Please fix the leak in the gents toilets – 3 visits and leak not fixed
    2. Get a duty manager that manages the staff and is not an extra waiter
    3. Reduce the number of tables in the restaurant and if thats a problem then increase your prices
    4. Fix the annoying rocking tables that dont sit properly on the floor
    5. Manage the crèche that is growing and making the lounge area look a mess with dropped food and toys
    6. Get someone to manage the loos as when things get busy they betray such events
    7. If tables are not to be reduced in the restaurant then more staff are needed
    8. The doors to the toilets need a good scrub
    9. Check the menus before they are given to the customer as our was dirty and tatty.

    Conclusion

    Would we go back? Probably, but timing is essential as the system shows signs of failure when things get busy.

    If you have been to the Inn on the Lake please let us know what you think

    Permalink Filed under: Café, Casual Dining Tags: 1 Comment
  • 23Nov

    Venue: Take It To The Table, 127 High Street, Cranleigh, GU6 8AU
    Score: 6/10
    Food: Coffee and Cakes
    Group: 4 adults
    Date: 23rd November 2008 AM

    Always good to go into a coffee shop that provides something that is individual. Its clear that the owner is trying. The coffee is great although if you order a croisant or the like which needs to be warmed your food goes on some trip up and down stairs to the dreaded microwave. The service is friendly although lacks any distinction as we had a young waitress who was pleasant enough but would not stand out from any of the customers.

    A nice touch is the availability of a chess game which is good to see others play.

    Improvement Opportunities:

    1. Why not provide a small jug of water when guests first sit down – like you get all over Europe
    2. Do away with the microwave to reheat food
    3. Provide the waiting staff with uniforms even if its a simple apron.

    Conclusion

    A relaxed place to have morning coffee and to date the nearest thing Cranleigh has to offer for a European Cafe experience. Lets hope that it maintains some consistency.

    If you have been to Take It to the Table then please let us know what you think