Last night, for a special treat I took a Brazilian friend and her mother and sister to dinner at Rules, London's oldest restaurant and exemplar of good traditional British food.
As usual, the food was good and satisfying - so- so starters, excellent steak and kidney pudding, excellent treacle sponge pudding and dark toffee pudding (it was a cold and rainy night!).
However this good food was betrayed by simply appalling and unacceptable service. Despite having a booking and our table being empty we were left standing for twenty minutes while the hordes of people moving in and out of the restaurant were dealt with. When we were finally seated it took another half hour for anyone to come to see how we were getting along and I had to ask for drinks rather than being offered them.
When our first course arrived I had to point out to the waiter that we had no napkins and when he brought some to us they were still damp. "Can't we do better than this I asked him" to which he said "Regretably not"! Pathetic!
The table was not cleaned of breadcrumbs between courses and the dinner service took four hours in total. Two dishes we had asked for (french beans and chocolate pudding souffle) never made it to our table. Chaotic, hopeless and seriously understaffed. Cost - 194 pounds plus a 31 pound tip - I felt sorry for the overworked waiters who are generally not British, probably badly paid and finding life difficult enough in the tough town that is London. But I made my views clear.
If you want good English food go to Wilton's instead - I have crossed Rules off my list!!!!