Last night Sal and I were both struck by a sudden desire for some good fish, so we met after work outside the tube at Angel and wandered down to the lovely looking fish restaurant just down St John’s Street that we had passed a number of times and always intended to visit: The Fish Shop on St John’s Street. Unfortunately, we encountered yet more shabby service, and this time we didn’t even get as far as ordering anything.
It started when the waiter seated us in the corner of an almost completely empty restaurant, and brought us just the one menu between us. When I asked for another one, he looked rather surprised at the idea that we might both went to choose something, but eventually went off and came back with a slightly soggy menu he found on another table.
Then he appeared with some bread and butter. Although I didn’t notice anything, Sal spotted a big black curly hair on top of it, so she called him back over and asked if we could have another one. A few minutes later he returned with the same helping of butter, still containing the hair, and now with the bonus addition of two large fingerprints. Nice.
So I called him back over and pointed this out, at which point he started arguing with me:
“There’s no hair in there”
“Yes there is–look! [I point to the hair] It also has two large fingerprints on it now”
And with that he rolls his eyes at me, snatches the butter, and heads off to the kitchen in a huff. I don’t know if we were being totally unreasonable in our crazy wish to be treated politely and given food not containing parts of the waiter’s body, but by this point we didn’t really feel like eating there, so we loudly complained to the manager and stormed out. Presumably The Fish Shop on St John’s Street makes a nice living fleecing the pre-theatre crowd on their way to nearby Sadler’s Wells, but we weren’t impressed. Instead we went up the road to The Slaughtered Lamb, an excellent pub just further into the city with an extensive fish menu, (and they even sell bottles of the excellent Coopers beer) and had gorgeous fish and chips for a third of what we might have paid in the Hairiest Restaurant in Islington.
Seriously, basic standards of service. Are they really that difficult?