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Thursday, 9 September 2010

A restaurant without table manners.

     For all those aficionados of the Wizard of Oz, you will know that Toto was Dorothy's dog and loyal companion ..it was also how we were treated at the aptly named restaurant "Toto's" in the heart of London's chic Walton street.
We had originally wanted to go to Scalini's,but as it was fully booked our hotel receptionist wholeheartedly suggested Toto's which is  in the same area and apparently equally good if not a little more casual. Fine.
Now we are true foodies,we love nothing better than a fine meal served with a fine wine and are more than happy to pay for the top notch service one expects in these establishments. We would have had a warmer reception upon entering McDonald's on Brompton Rd than what awaited us upon entering Toto's.
The manager was on the phone,audibly irate and had his back to us. While waiting for our table to be ready,we were relegated to a corner table  in outer Mongolia,adjacent to the neglected bar that may never have actually seen a barman let alone any atmosphere .There we dutifully sat, a little unnerved by the abrupt reception but nevertheless still naively optimistic. We weren't offered a drink but there was a bowl of rubbery looking olives that may very well have been rubber judging by their sheen and consistency.
We were finally escorted to a nice big round table slap in the middle of the hustle and bustle,once the manager had angrily torn himself away from the phone and could muster the semblance of a smile.
"Would you like anything to drink?" he asked.
"Could we see the wine menu please?"
We got water and the menus, the wine list still bizarrely absent. After another two polite attempts and once the order had been taken, did it  finally appear. It was as if we had absurdly demanded to see the Magna Carta.
The bread basket made its round,the wine appeared and the starters were served...we fell into the mutual silence of the hungry.
Then things took a dramatic turn for the worst just as our main meal was served. We had almost finished the bottle of wine by then, when the headwaiter appeared by our sides and it wasn't to ask us whether we wanted another one. The empty bottle was removed and this man with more hair than sense seemed hell bent to get a head start on inappropriately clearing away certain items on our table.... while we were still eating! The excruciating part was watching him extend his arm across my partners plat without so much as an "excuse me,sir"... as if an act of  such gross misconduct could be excusable. We were rendered speechless...but either it was because as a group we are way too polite for our own good or simply because we were eager to see what could possibly happen next. What we did mutually agree upon was our shared desire to get  the hell out of "Dodgy"...and fast!
The bets were on as to whether dessert or coffee would be suggested (they weren't) ... I had a distinct feeling as to what would happen next...and it did not disappoint.The waiter sidled up to my sister's husband and presented him with the bill.Ever polite my Italian brother in law looked at him and quietly said in Italian ,in case anything got lost in translation:
"Would it trouble you at all to at least bring me an espresso?" The waiter withdrew his arm as if it were scalded and sheepishly withdrew the offensive item all the while mumbling that he was told to do so.
No one came forward to apologize for the sub standard behaviour, let alone the shoddy service or to offer us a conciliatory drink. We politely paid the bill and walked out.
As far as we are concerned, Toto can trot on back to Oz...we'll find Dorothy a better ,far more classier companion.
Seriously, do not bother going ... nothing there is memorable apart from the headwaiter's absurd amount of hair.


Unknown said...

hahahah what a dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lina said...

The food was in line with the service....

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