Thanks to all the re-tweeters, to the bloggy linkers and the readers. One of the 7500 page viewers over yesterday and today was the general manager of the River Cottage Canteen in Plymouth. I've pasted his reply at the bottom with an offer of a full refund, which I will be glad to take. I declined his initial offer of another meal and asked for a refund, which I was then offered.
p.s.............also had a bad case of the s***s from eating those weeds!!!! another lesson learnt! Don't eat roadside flowers and weeds!
Hello Dear Reader,
I so seldom eat out. Today, as a very, very rare treat we took ourselves today to Hugh Fernley Wittingstall's River Cottage Restaurant and Deli in the Royal William yard in Plymouth. The decor is lovely and the waiting staff moved me when I asked for a different table. I like children, but being surrounded by little Orphelias and Byrons, with Boden bedecked yummy mummies struggling without nanny to look after their children, was about to leave me deaf with tinnitus. We had emailed our reservation and told them, when asked on the booking, of our carb-free dietary requirements. I don't know why they bothered asking as the fuss to get a meal was epic, bordering on a farce in three acts.
Above is what £12 will get you from Hugh. The 'salad' was a collection of what the farmers weed out between their rows of lettuce. Interesting if you want a botany lesson in "What the fuck am I eating?" The sauce looked like the chef got excited and the ham was so small they must have a special supplier of pygmy pigs. It didn't even run to a whole egg in the egg and ham salad.
This is supposed to be a carb free Fritatta. Cost for this - £8! This is where the farce in three acts came into play. On the menu, the frittata came with summer vegetables and some cheese I don't like, so I asked for it without cheese. Off went the grumpy underpaid teenage waitress, on the well beaten path back, to the open air theatrical kitchen, to the mardy chef. She came back, and informed me that the Fritatta already had cheese in it. I deduced that it was already made and would be reheated.I enquired whether it was or wasn't as I wasn't paying £8 for something pre-made and re-heated. For that price, I expect it cooked to order. Off she went, back to chef relay again, and back to us again. He would have to make me one specially. We then ordered the sides of vegetables, each being £2.50 e.g buttered carrots, £2.50, buttered greens £2.50 and so on. I asked that we didn't have butter, so off she went for the third time to mardy chef and came back and told me they came with butter. Again, pre-cooked and 're-freshed'. We then gave up on the side orders of vegetables and went with a ham and egg salad and a cheeseless fritatta with salad. I didn't get a fritatta, but an omelette (open air kitchen and I watched mardy chef cook it) was dripping in butter and full of greasy fried potatoes and cold, not refreshed or re-heated chopped veg, which came out of plastic boxes, in full view in open air kitchen. It rather reminded me of leftovers in an omelette to use up Sunday roast veg.
By now, it was getting expensively comical. Bill please! £23.50 as we also had a bottle of sparkling water for £3.50, which was in fact the best bit of the meal! "Was everything OK madam?" Why on earth they bother asking when they obviously couldn't care about the answer. I told them about the omelette which was not a fritatta, which was dripping in butter and full of fried potatoes. Aforementioned greasy fried potatoes were on the side of the plate of what was supposed to be a low fat carb free lunch. I didn't get an apology or any offer of a discount or any offer of the manager coming to see me. I made a point of not paying the service charge, which you have to cancel on their hand held card machine and was happy to get out.
It's a real shame that some restaurants don't realise that for some of us, a meal cooked by someone else is a once a year treat. I must say that the surroundings are beautiful and if you have more money than sense and you don't know what good home cooked food is, then I'm sure you'll eat anything any where, River Cottage included. I can and do do better at home with ten spare minutes after getting in after a full day's work plus long commute.
The Royal William yard is open to any one to walk around. Take a deck chair and picnic, park in the council car park nearby and just enjoy the surroundings. The restaurant was a sobering reminder that I can't afford to waste £23.50 being badly fed on greasy omelettes, tiny pigs, sauce that looked like spunk and weeds.
Added today - I tweeted River Cottage a link to my blog - the page, between yesterday and today, has had almost 7500 page views! Here's the reply from River Cottage.
Good evening Jane,
Please accept my sincere apologies for all inconvenience caused after your visit to us yesterday.
My colleague Lyndsey will be working the following hours over the next few days: Tuesday 4pm until close; Wednesday 9am-2pm and 6pm until close. Please do feel free to call the canteen on 01752252702 and ask for her; she will be only too happy to process a full refund for you.
Edward RaffertyGeneral Manager
Edward RaffertyGeneral Manager
River Cottage Canteen & Deli, Plymouth