Having spotted a Time Out special deal for a set menu deal at the Savoy Grill, a friend and I were rather keen to try this out especially since we had heard so much about the renovations that had taken place and the time that it took.
The deal turned out to be quite popular and we found it hard to make a suitable booking, but eventually a date was found and finally we were to try the Savoy Grill. We went for an early evening meal, but the evening didn’t start off well with the traffic against us, a late arrival was expected… not good! To top it off, it was raining as well, so my friend and I were glad when we finally reached the Savoy Hotel from the embankment entrance. It was clear that there were many functions happening as the guests mingled through from corridor to function rooms. The direction of the Savoy Grill was indicated to us at the entrance but when asked again, the staff, this time a young girl, looked at us with puzzlement and informed us that there was no such restaurant as the Savoy Grill in this Hotel! As we were late, my friend and I looked at each other in exasperation and asked for directions to the lobby and hurried our way there. With two more helpful staff along the way, they seem to line the corridors, we finally reached our destination, the Savoy Grill.
The lady who greeted us pleasantly informed us that we were late and probably too late for the ‘coupon meal’, but would check for us. Several thoughts crossed my mind: for a hotel of this rating, they are not very good at service to the client – I would have checked before uttering anything in the lines to a guest that they may not be able to partake a particular meal; another thought – they should never inform their guests that they are late even if they are. This is the service industry after all! After a few moments, we were told with an implication that we were lucky, to still be able to take the ‘coupon meal’ but had to vacate the table in an hour. A very polite waiter then showed us to our table. So far in my mind I had one black mark for the hotel, and two black marks for the lady who dealt with our arrival in the Savoy Grill. Not a great start and we haven’t had anything to eat as yet.
As we had an hour (tops) to eat, the menu was set before us to make our choices… it was the pre-theatre menu and it dawned on us that really the special ‘coupon meal’ we were lead to believe was the pre-theatre set menu meal with a bellini thrown in. About to make our choices, the waiter informed us that he required our print outs of our coupons for their records as proof that we had indeed pre-purchased the meal. Another black mark! And add another for their use of ‘coupon meal’ in a tone that implied a contempt that we pre-bought a meal.
For our meal we chose from the set menu: an ox tongue salad, and a vegetarian starter of leeks, for the mains a beef pie, and salmon fish cakes, with two extra side dishes of a salad and creamed spinach. For dessert (as we had to order in advance) an eton mess, and a mango fruit salad was added to our order. Though our waiter was very polite, I realised that there was not much point when I asked him if he could suggest between the beef pie and the spinach & ricotta ravioli (I think) as my mains – definitely not a person that was into his food or knew much about the food that was on the menu. He gave me no indications that either dish was particularly appetising.
The food was really nothing to talk about. Quite mediocre, passable, the best dishes were the starters. Our mains? My friend phrased it as, “I can get better in my office canteen!” and, “How can you go so wrong with a salad?” Well to answer the latter, the salad was old and limp.
We had also overheard from a neighbouring table, a group of ladies, their complaints on how the meal was not good and that it was expensive for what was served. I definitely agree, there are many other places in this area that serve a very good pre-theatre menu both in terms of price and quality of food. Well at least the Bellini was good – you can’t go very wrong with a Bellini!