To Serve Is An Honour
It seems, that despite the fact that London's restaurants are now recognised as producing the world's finest food, they still can't get past that old "British disease" that waiters are doing the customers a favour by serving them.
That at least is the conclusion of the annual Square Meal restaurant guide survey.
Some of London's most famous restaurants, such as Cipriani, The Wolseley and Yauatcha, have been rubbished by their customers for the arrogant, surly and slow service.
One contributor is quoted as saying:
"I have learnt to be happy with inefficient staff as long as they are charming, and [with] charmless staff as long as they are efficient."
8,000 people replied to the guide's poll, 45% complained about shoddy service for the third year running.
Gaby Huddart, the guide's editor, is quoted as saying:
"Our restaurants are absolutely fabulous, but one aspect lets them down. If you go to Paris, it is a very rare day that you don't get very good service in an A-class restaurant.
Similarly, a New Yorker would be gobsmacked if you weren't served with a smile."
Cipriani, which I featured in a positive manner on this site less than a fortnight ago, was criticised; one person described his visit as a "horrible experience".
The Wolseley was "snobby and unfriendly", "Just the most unhelpful and incredibly arrogant and rude receptionists that can be found."
It is time that staff and managers of these places realised that people are there as much for the experience, as for the food. A smile and a cheerful "can do" manner really does go a long way to making the meal memorable.