If I was working in the kitchen at the Newman St Tavern I'd be extremely hacked off with how the restaurant is being run. They are producing seriously nice food but let down by disorganised front of house. Good produce and cooking like this needs treating with more respect. I was really disappointed as it was a real effort for me to make dinner there. I had been travelling all day with work and felt seriously rough once I got back to my office, I knocked off early to see if an hour or so of rest would make me feel better. It didn'it really but as dinner was with a couple of old uni friends Stuart & Shandy I really wanted to make it. I decided to cycle back up to Newman St to clear my head and that did the trick, so I was ready for a top evening out. The Newman St Tavern is on the site of an old Ping Pong and it has been nicely done up to resemble a US style Tavern which for you and I means an upscale gastro pub (basically you get proper napkins but still have a bare table). It was very busy inside with a mix of drinkers and diners, my table was being set up so I had a pint of bitter at the bar. It was perfectly pleasant but was £4.95! wow that is seriously toppy! Stuart turned up first so we adjourned to our table which unfortunately was downstairs rather than the proper restaurant on the first floor. However the table was comfortable and we weren't rushed though I did feel our location could have been the reason for our subsequent problems.
Shandy eventually turned up and we got in some more near fiver pints and ordered food. I had the fish soup, rouille & croutons to start thinking a big bowl of fish soup would sort out my cold. The chaps went for some dressed crab and cured salmon. They were happy with their starter but mine was wrong in two ways. For me a bowl of soup should be bountiful and warming. This one though tasting lovely was served in a bowl no bigger than a tea cup and was luke warm. How dis-organised do you have to be to leave the soup standing around on the passe? Even chain places can serve hot soup. The croutons were fine/average but the gruyere had been hanging around too long and gone greasy, surely they could have grated it fresh? I let it slide because we were enjoying ourselves. By this time the pints had run their course so we decided to order some wine the go with the beef pot roast we had all ordered. Another American touch here, the wine list is huge, several pages of French & New World, lots of interesting stuff. However when we try and order a bottle it isn't available, pick another one again it also isn't available finally we get the waitress who didn’t know the list to find out what they did have. The wine they gave us was fine but I couldn't help thinking if you are going to boast a big wine list then support it and train your staff to know it, any decent place should.
OK so now come the mains and guess what our beautiful succulent, well hung beef is perfectly cooked but only warm. Yet again hanging around on the passe no doubt waiting for a waiter to bring it out. This time no excuse for the delay as we all had the same. Our sides are piping hot though and tasty, we also order some more sides which come out quickly so they can get this right. We all enjoy the beef and it is a good hearty portion, plates are wiped clean but is it asking too much to send this out at above ambient temperature. So on to desserts and I ordered a cardamom kulfi ice cream and it comes out half melted!!!! Again it is delicious and well made but why ruin it like this? I daren't order coffee based on what has come out so far. However it is always nice to catch up with friends so at the time I take it as it comes. We linger for a couple of Armagnacs and leave £82 lighter. Had all the food been right this would have been a reasonable price for the food we had but I can't see past the temperature issues. This has the makings of seriously good restaurant and the whole Tavern thing is bang on trend but unless they sort themselves out with their service it will all be a wasted endeavour.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Food 5 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 4