Review: Dollar Grills And Martinis. Reasonable food, just don’t have the temerity to question the service!
November 6, 2012 Leave a comment
Dollar Grills And Martinis
2 Exmouth Market,
Last night myself and a friend decided to visit this establishment in possession of a Taste Card which is a scheme which enables diners to get two meals for the price of one.
On arriving at the restaurant the Maitre d’ asked us if we’d booked. We replied the we hadn’t. The Maitre d’ then assured us this would be no problem as the restaurant was well less than half full (Monday night quietness presumably).
We then informed the Maitre d’ that we had a Taste Card and asked whether we could use it at the establishment.
She said yes we could and proceeded to explain the rules, which were that the card applies to main courses only, with drinks and sides being extra.
We sat down and ordered from the duty manager who again, at my request, explained the Taste Card system.
We ordered two steaks, fillet and rib-eye both with peppercorn sauce, with two side orders of fries and coleslaw, and a bottle of red wine.
The food was reasonably good, although I felt my medium rare rib-eye steak was just a trifle overdone, but good quality nonetheless.
However, after we finished the steaks, an over enthusiastic waiter began to hover to clear our table (this was at approximately 9.30pm. Nowhere near closing time). He took away our steak boards (plates) before we had finished the sides, (and I quite enjoy dipping fries in leftover sauce etc), then a minute or so later proceeded to remove the unfinished coleslaw, which I was certainly amenable to picking at while we finished our wine.
I instructed him to leave the coleslaw in place until further notice. (He continued to hover impatiently).When he did finally obtain permission to clear away the coleslaw he then removed my napkin which was still in use in front of me, as we still had to finish our wine.
Again, I requested that he return the napkin, which he did.
On receiving the bill, we noticed a 12.5% service charge had been added. Like most people, I’ve absolutely no qualms in paying a decent service charge (preferably of a discretionary amount), but on this occasion, due to the behavior of the over enthusiastic waiter, I felt 12.5% was just a little over ambitious.
We then enquired of the Maitre d’ as to whether the service charge was mandatory or discretionary. She replied it was discretionary, so I instructed her to remove it from the bill, with the full intention of leaving a smaller, but reasonably substantial tip.
This is where the fun began. The after a bit of furtive conferring at the other end of the room with the Maitre d’, the Duty Manager approached our table and casually began to inform us that we were not able to use the Taste Card since we hadn’t booked, and thus would have to pay the full price of the bill.
I stated that we enquired twice about the Taste Card system after we had informed the Maitre d’ that we hadn’t booked, and both times this new clause in the rules had been omitted to be mentioned.
He said he was sorry, there was nothing he could do, those are the rules, we would nevertheless have to pay the full price.
I informed him that we had no intention of doing so since he failed to mention this condition at the outset and, since our intention of dining out had been to do so with the inclusion of the Taste Card, we would have certainly not have eaten there had we known about this subsequent condition.
A stalemate continued for a few minutes circling round the same arguments, and it was only after my suggestion that, since we had no intention of accepting his explanation of the rules after the fact, he’d better call the police to resolve the matter.
At this suggestion he took the bill back with a “well on this one occasion we’ll see what we can do” and proceeded to remove an amount from the bill which was a token £2 short of the amount that should have been removed had the Taste Card system been observed correctly.
We paid the amount (unfortunately my appetite for leaving a discretionary service charge had long since disappeared) and left.
I shall not be frequenting this establishment again, and will not be recommending it to any friends or colleagues, and I strongly encourage any would be Taste Card diners there to obtain a signed written copy of the rules before they order.