We got there about 6.30pm thinking it would still be nice and quiet. Wrong. Every Tom, Dick and Harry who owned a naff hat were in there looking 'cool'. I asked if there was a process for waiting for tables, to which I was informed 'no, you just have to wait and pounce'. Ace. No-one actually seemed to be eating because the tables had been commandeered by post-work drinkers. I bet the kitchen staff love it!
Anyone who knows me well will be more than aware of what my next step was. I was getting a table if it killed me. I was on form. Eyes peeled, nose to the ground and soldiers around me ready with their next move planned. This was a covert operation, as to the unsuspecting onlooker we may well have appeared 'casual with drink in hand' when we were actually a well oiled machine...
Tactic 1: Move to the Gin Parlour. This is the smaller bit upstairs. There were a few booths where people had already eaten. They could leave at any minute...
Tactic 2: Get inside info off the barman. There was a big table reserved despite 'no reservations'. It even had a proper sign... Apparently this was a corporate table. I asked the barman if we could reserve the next available table. We were told that wasn't possible but we could speak to the manager. Although he did say that 'in an hour this lot'll f*ck off to Stone Roses'. Insightful.
Tactic 3: Spread out. We positioned ourselves in a spot with easy access to all tables.
Tactic 4: Fend off the enemy. A group of people walked upstairs and eyeballed the table we knew was next to leave. One little madam even went and put her coat on a chair where people were still sat. I walked over to said table and loudly asked if they were leaving, as we had waited for an hour. I maintained a 'ladylike' demeanour despite the four letter rant going on in my head...
Tactic 5: Befriend the table about to leave. I came across as friendly, little madam came across as very rude indeed.
Tactic five was a belter. As the couple at that table were about to go, one caught my eye and beckoned us to the table. Result. Nice big table. This was my greatest achievement since the train to Edinburgh incident of 2010.
However, our luck was to run out a little. Actually ordering food turned out to be a bit of a nightmare too. We asked at the bar if we ordered there or waited for someone to come to us. He didn't know. We had to ask for menus and were actually in the middle of writing out our own order when a waiter finally appeared. By now it was about 7:45pm. At this point a waitress came and put a sign on our table reading 'Reserved from 8.30pm'. I'm not going to go into detail about the conversation that my husband had with her, but I can summarise it as something like this... 'I'm sorry, we have only just ordered so I doubt we will be finished by then. We were not informed of this when we sat down. Plus, I am sure that someone said you cannot reserve tables?' Let's leave it at that. She put it on another table.
Anyway, when our food came it looked wonderful. Thick juicy burgers with crispy fries. Unfortunately we did have to send one back because despite asking for no salad or sauce, it came with gherkins. They did bring it back quickly though, sans-gherkin.
The food itself was nice and tasty. The burgers were cooked well (mine was actually a little pinker than the photo below suggests) and the bacon was really crispy. The fries had a lovely crunch to them, but we all agreed they were way too salty. We all found ourselves with stinging lips afterwards. The food was good, but I think it was a little overshadowed by the ordeal of actually getting it!
|Toasted sesame brioche bun, pickles, butterhead lettuce, Trof recipe burger sauce, |
aged cheddar, smoked streaky bacon & seasoned fries
Now I can't do a full review without testing the desserts. I was rather excited by the thought of brown sugar cheesecake! I've been eating like a bird for most of the week (with the exception of the pie and mash misdemeanour...) so I was well up for puddings. I have to say this was a disappointment. The first mouthful was devine, but then the further I got in, the soggier the base was and the stronger the alcohol in the filling became. I couldn't decide whether it was brandy or not? It completely overpowered the whole thing and I had to admit defeat.
My husband had the sticky toffee pudding. This again was pleasant, but nothing special. The texture suggested it had been warmed for a little too long in the microwave, as the edges were bit firm. The sauce was nice though and the ice cream was thick and creamy. A decent dessert.
Disclaimer: Gorilla did not pay me for this review. I went with some friends because we had heard great things and for no other reason.