Reviews of Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Waterloo Road, London SE1
A shame that they STILL haven't got their act together
It's really disappointing that this place still hasn't got its act together. I was invited there on a special press night back in January and despite the fact that there were journalists there they wanted to impress, it was terrible then. Several journalists fed the message back to their despairing PR company, but the management have clearly failed to act on their advice. Here's what we experienced:
Apparently, the atrocious service was due to problems with their computer systems. What a lame excuse - no restaurant should have to rely so completely on something as notoriously unreliable as a bit of computer software to provide decent service. It wasn't even particularly busy.
The real problem was that they had one waiter to take our order, several others to bring our food, and yet another to serve our wine (but not in a sommelier way - he didn't advise us on the wine list). In short, a recipe for miscommunication and chaos. It felt like more time had been spent training the staff to position the plates so the customer could see the WB logo than on showing them how to respond to their customers' needs.
It felt like it needed a good manager to come in and give everyone a good kick up the bum - the sort of place you'd want to feature on Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares.
Some 'highlights' of our night:
- When we arrived we had to wait like lemons at the counter before being greeted by the staff, who were sorting out some admin problem.
- It was a constant struggle getting our sweet but obviously very inexperienced waiter's attention.
- We were there for nearly three hours for three courses, and not in a nice, relaxed lingering way. You wouldn't want to risk trying their pre-theatre deal for fear you'd miss the play.
- Our waiter offered us a cocktail when we sat down, which was nice. But it was the only time he asked us if we wanted something to drink.
- We had to ask for the wine list and then again to actually order the wine. Due to the difficulty of getting the waiter's attention, I had finished my main course by the time it arrived.
- We had to ask for tap water twice.
- We ordered a side salad that never arrived.
- My husband was so parched for a drink that at one point he had to get up and go and buy one from the bar.
- It was quite distracting being surrounded by the hordes of staff - and all other customers clearly experiencing bad service.
- I noticed that the guy at the next table had to get up and retrieve his white wine bottle from the cooler across the room. A real example of style over substance - if you haven't got waiting staff who can monitor the customers' glasses, just leave the bottle on the table for god's sake!
- The piece de resistance and not blamable on the computer problem at all: the ladies toilets were an ABSOLUTE DISGRACE!! Not a single sheet of loo paper in any of the cubicles and the shelves were almost bare of clean hand-towels - the bins on both ends of the room were overflowing with used ones, all over the floor. It looked like they hadn't been cleaned all day, which put me in mind of the chef Anthony Bourdain's comment to avoid any restaurant where the loos aren't clean, because if a restaurant doesn't care about cleaning the parts that are on public display, imagine what the kitchen is like...
We came out saying to each other: 'that place won't be here this time next year'.
Went along with a group of 8 for Brunch yesterday, 6th April. What a mistake. Slow and sporadic service, a breakfast that looked as if it had been out of the pan for ages before serving, milk that came so long after being requested the coffee was cold etc. etc. Shame they did not invest more of their interior design budget into the kitchen and staff training.
Waterloo Brasserie? Don't bother
I tried the new Waterloo Brasserie restaurant opposite the Old Vic at the weekend, and it was quite a disappointment.
Out table was booked for 2:30pm and according to the website that meant we would be ordering from the (very comprehensive) daytime menu, which is available until the evening menu starts at 5pm. However, after some enjoying some drinks and choosing our food, the waiter informed us that because it was now 3pm the chef was not going to be cooking any more hot food. All we had to choose from was a few boring sandwiches.
As we'd already started a bottle of wine, we begrudgingly ordered the sandwiches. They got the order wrong and forgot one person completely. There was also a choice of a side order of chips or mixed salad. When the salads didn't arrive we asked the waiter, who pointed to the sad spoonful of chopped lettuce in the corner of our plates! Even he couldn't help a smiling at how ridiculous it looked.
It's a pricey establishment, but the whole experience, including the often criticised decor, was a let down. It's unfortunate that the venue will nonetheless do well as there are so many people passing through Waterloo that they don't need any repeat business. They certainly won't be getting any from me.
this place felt strangely incongruous along the cheerfully ramshackle waterloo road. i definitely should have been wearing a little black suit in order to merge seamlessly with the highly stylised black, orange and red decor. the equally highly stylised staff were a little too up themselves to be civil on the door and a little too into each other to serve with civility at the bar. food was expensive but fine - the small portions were appreciated during the gluttonous season. i recommend the venison. we stayed to drink for most of the afternoon (work do) but were treated with a certain impatience (even though there were plenty of empty tables.) the soft-focus 'urban' paintings are distracting and a bit nasty. felt like somewhere matt crawford would take annabelle scrivener (apologies to non-archers listeners.)
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