What with new jobs and overseas trips and product launches and things, arranging a date and venue for this month’s Cracker (October’s, that is) was a bit of a last minute affair. I was struggling to think of somewhere, so when Jo suggested Gypsy Cafe I grabbed it. Jo and I went there a few weeks ago and had a lovely, relaxed, delicious meal. On top of that, I like supporting small businesses (having been one myself for many years), and local businesses. Unfortunately, our Cracker experience there last night was not so great.
The restaurant has a Gypsy theme in its decor and menu: the specials on the menu change regularly, and a pin in a map on the wall shows where they are this week. Last night we were in Germany: one of the starters was a lovely vienna salad, and one of the mains was roast beef with sauerkraut, the other was beef schnitzel. The other starter we had (three of us had the salad) was the chicken livers in a spicy coconut curry-like sauce, which was delicious. For other main courses, we had the Venison (Ostrich), and the Two Tarts.
Here’s a wodge of pictures:
The food was all great, except I wasn’t happy with my ostrich. It came a little too rare for my tastes (I like medium rare, can do rare, but don’t do bleu), and I asked for it to be cooked a bit more. The chef generously, and quickly, brought me a whole new one. Unfortunately, it was pretty much as rare as the first one.
A much bigger problem was the really bad service we had. We arrived at 8 p.m., and the joint was jumping. It took us a little while to get drinks (first rule of restaurant club, people: get people their drinks immediately. Then they’ll be much happier waiting for other stuff.), but the kitchen was so busy that we couldn’t (and not for lack of trying) place our food order until 9.30. By about 9, after several pesterings of the waitress, we asked if we could have some more bread for the table to tide us over. She went away and came back and, apologetically and nicely, told us that the kitchen was too busy to even do that. We were not happy bunnies. When he eventually came over, the chef apologised briefly for the wait, but after waiting an hour and a half, it would have nicer to have a “bigger” apology. The food came out quite quickly after that, but most other guests had eaten and left by then.
We had a nice night out anyway, because we’re four friends who enjoy chatting and drinking, but it was not a great dining experience at all. If there had been another waiter, maybe things would have gone a bit more smoothly. Time for the scores on the doors.