Sounds amazing I know and exactly the kind of restaurant I love.
I first discovered these restaurants about a month ago and my first visit was so brilliant I made a point to mention to a member of staff how wonderful it was to find an independent restaurant in a landscape swallowed up by corporates with no identity because of high city centre rents and business rates.
She apologised for shattering the illusion but enlightened me they were a chain of about 70 restaurants across the UK which at the time was actually good news as I am always on the look out for a healthy lunch option and travel a fair bit around the country.
As the experience had been so positive, over the Easter long weekend we had a great experience in the one in Market Harborough where the veggie/vegan/gluten free options are quite extensive (it is the same menu across the chain) the service was really great and dogs are welcome.
Back in Rugby on my third visit, I had a problem with my food which is paid for upfront at the bar and although they changed it happily I did feel like a bit of a nuisance, no body was asking us if everything was alright like before and when the food came back out, even though it still didn't taste great I just ate it and left feeling deflated. Had it been a pay at the end restaurant I would have asked to have my main course removed from the bill but of course I had paid upfront and there was no offer or goodwill gesture to make me feel better.
We returned today to give them another chance, like I said we had an incredible experience the 1st time but unfortunately things went from bad to worse. The food was good but we had to wait 45 minutes for it and we had to chase them up at the bar as people one after the other who came in after us we're served. When the waiter came to clear away the plates and asked if everything was OK we told him about the wait and forgetting the order and he brushed it off saying all the food takes 20-30 minutes when they are busy, which they weren't particularly, making us feel like moaners again and again no offer of even a cup of coffee on the house.
Their puddings are to die for, we'd already tried the sticky toffee pudding and the caramel apple cheesecake both of which were magnificent and would recommend so we went up to the bar one last time to order the vegan chocolate and ginger torte.
The order was given to the waiter who had already apologised for the wait when he brought the main courses and he forgot the pudding as well so all in all what started out as an amazing find decorated with reclaimed and upcycled furniture and art serving healthy fresh food and run by positive happy staff with great energy turned into another corporate greedy mediocre chain that cares more about the money than the customer experience so even though the food/menu is really good and very appealing for me I won't be returning. I just don't like the nonchalant take it or leave it attitude when things go wrong and this got me thinking maybe that is why they take the money up front which leaves the staff unmotivated to offer exceptional service because they don't have an opportunity to get tips, something low paid restaurant and bar workers rely on to top up there incomes.
Other snoops by Lily Blacker