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Recently went to a restaurant called sweet basil in spitafields market and had the most mind blowing experience, almost surreal.

Turned up late at around 10:30pm just looking for a bite to eat. The place seemed like a pizza express kind of place. around £9 for bowl of pasta, £10-15 for meat. Seemed pleasant enough.

Food came within about 5-10 minutes of us ordering... never a good sign especially when you have ordered chicken with roast potatoes. The bread was fairly tasty though stale (it tasted home made though).

The food wasnt disgusting but was far from satisfactory. My potatoes tasted stale, the chicken was incredibly dry. My whole dish was swimming in balsamic vinegar which seemed like a desperate attempt injecting some flavour. The mountain of rocket was so strong that I couldnt taste anything else anyway. The bowl of pasta was fairly unpleasant too and seemed little more than a packet of pasta and some dolmio sauce. All in all hardly worth the money.

I never complain... I have only ever once complained in my life and that was at ASK pizza where they at least apologised and refunded me the money. (The bechamel sauce was curdled and actually tasted revolting). I was hungry so didnt complain. However when the bill came I did say to the waitress that I thought the food was pretty awful. She got the manageress who just went crazy. I said that I thought the food tasted microwaved (my food was eye wateringly hot and then suddenly cooled down after a couple of minutes). The manageress lost it big time. Shouting at me, telling me how they cook the food from the finest ingredients, how the customer doesnt know anything and is not right, that they had never had a complaint in 10 years etc. I couldnt believe it! I pointed out that there werent actually any chefs in the kitchen since they had all gone home. I said that all she had to do when we arrived was tell us that the kitchen was closing and food may not be freshly prepared. She went on to tell me how italian bread is supposed to be stale and that everything was freshly cooked. I asked her how they could cook roast potatoes freshly in 5 minutes... she didnt have much of a reply.

Is it any wonder that the english dont complain about food as much as they do in other countries such as the States. God help this place if they get any upset american customers.

Am I being unreasonable or is this an example of the worst restaurant management ever!

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No, you are not being unreasonable in the slightest

Not unlike another place around Spitalfield that announced it was selling " the best hot chocolate in the world" which turned out to be Cadbury's from a catering size tin. When I gently suggested to the guy that this probably wasn't "the best hot chocolate in the world" he countered with the undeniably true " you're one of those troublemakers who expects real chocolate" Er?

Interestingly enough, both the sign and the gentleman behind the counter have now vanished

S

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well, if that had happened to me I would have just got up and left without paying. I really don't prescribe to the "i never complain" theory, if the service/food is crap then I will tell them. Unless I am with clients or someone else is paying then it would just be too embarrassing. If no-one ever complained then there would be no improvement and if they reacted like they did to you, I would just get up and go.

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  • 2 months later...
Not my choice...a friend :blink:

Tell your friend to stop being silly and that you want to go somewhere that people who know about these things know is good. In that same area you've got The Arkansas Cafe, with some of London's best BBQ, and St John Bread and Wine, to name but two.

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Tony, what can i do???? He was pissed off with me for not having lunch with last time i was in London (Chez Bruce), and he likes it..ho hum

Looking on the bright side, a bit of pasta should line the stomach well for the evening ! :biggrin:

I'm always amused at how unwilling people are to defer to people who know more about food and restaurants than them. If I want to buy a new car or a computer or just about anything non-food related I'm quite happy to ask someone who knows more than me for their advice and I'm grateful for it.

But here we have Basildog's friend who I'm sure is a lovely bloke but clearly knows nothing whatsoever about where to eat in that area and has chosen a crap hole in an area surrounded by much better restaurants, even for pasta. No-one I know who has eaten at this place has a good word to say about it. But will this chap be told? Clearly not. He would be "offended". It's hard to tell people that when it comes to restaurants you know much more than them because when it comes to food everyone considers himself an expert. I suppose it doesn't matter so much if you're not paying, but if you are its a waste of money and even if you're not its a wasted opportunity. Just make sure you leave enough room for the Raan, BD. :raz:

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In that same area you've got The Arkansas Cafe, with some of London's best BBQ

Has anyone else been here lately? I have been there twice in the last six weeks or so, and really felt that the place has fallen off. The burger I had was overcooked (although I asked for medium rare), not at all moist, and tasted a lot like what one would get at a burger van albeit bigger and with great bbq sauce available. Similarly, I had a duck breast sandwich which was also really overcooked with a layer of fat/skin which had not been crisped so was inedibly chewy. Even the beef brisket, an old standy for me, was dry the last time I had it with no bits of fat to be seen.

I used to enjoy Arkansas quite a bit although I never thought much of the bbq, preferring the grilled items. But Im not so sure anymore. Particularly with Bodeans available which is in a completely different league. Add to that the fact that Arkansas cafe is not particularly cheap (a beef brisket sandwich with no sides is in the range of 7 pounds; at Bodeans you can get a whole rack of ribs with multiple sides for a couple pounds more, and any sandwich for less than five (including, in reference to another thread, bbqed salt beef which is pretty tasty).

Was my experience a fluke? related to summer holidays?

Thomas Secor

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In that same area you've got The Arkansas Cafe, with some of London's best BBQ

Has anyone else been here lately? I have been there twice in the last six weeks or so, and really felt that the place has fallen off. The burger I had was overcooked (although I asked for medium rare), not at all moist, and tasted a lot like what one would get at a burger van albeit bigger and with great bbq sauce available. Similarly, I had a duck breast sandwich which was also really overcooked with a layer of fat/skin which had not been crisped so was inedibly chewy. Even the beef brisket, an old standy for me, was dry the last time I had it with no bits of fat to be seen.

I used to enjoy Arkansas quite a bit although I never thought much of the bbq, preferring the grilled items. But Im not so sure anymore. Particularly with Bodeans available which is in a completely different league. Add to that the fact that Arkansas cafe is not particularly cheap (a beef brisket sandwich with no sides is in the range of 7 pounds; at Bodeans you can get a whole rack of ribs with multiple sides for a couple pounds more, and any sandwich for less than five (including, in reference to another thread, bbqed salt beef which is pretty tasty).

Was my experience a fluke? related to summer holidays?

I've always thought the burgers there were pretty poor: it's pork or bust.

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would be interested to hear your opinion of the place basildog... hope you have a better experience than I. If its crap be afraid.. be very afraid to complain.. you might be given a lecture on 'real italian cuisine...'

funny my first thought about the place when I went in was that it was owned by 'the mob'...

good luck.. I am sure your meal will be great, your customer delighted and that mine was just a one off experience with a manageress on a bad night...

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I've always thought the burgers there were pretty poor: it's pork or bust.

I've always enjoyed the steaks there. But its a very uncomfortable restaurant-well its just a prefab really and I'm not overkeen on the whole experience. I agree Bodeans is better. Mayne Bubba needs to move on and get himself a "proper" restaurant.

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