If you follow me on Twitter you will know that I had a bit of a grumble about Byron on High Street Kensington the other night. Well now you’re going to get the proper moans and groans. I know people rate this chain very highly but my first experience has left me a little disappointed to say the least.
We ended up in Byrons after a failed attempt to watch Prometheus (Orange Wednesdays don’t you know?) and after Moo had raved about their milkshakes, we decided to stop by. After a little bit of waiting, we were seated next to the open kitchen with a full view of what the chefs were up to and what dishes were ready when. Our orders were taken within five minutes of sitting down and then we were left to amuse ourselves.
Within the twenty minutes it took to receive our salads, sides and drinks, the following was witness:
One chef was having a drink of water from his bottle, a large 1.5 litre bottle, when one of his colleagues poked him in his stomach causing a stream of water to be ejected from his mouth and go all over his top and the floor. Obviously he wiped his mouth with his hand but that was the end of the clean up. He did not wipe down his front and he did not wash his hands.
Our food was ready within seven minutes, pretty fast huh? Well it would have been if it was brought to our table. Our salads were left on the top and our sides were left by the waitress after a pile up of food overtook the counter. Our food (which was first out) was left while all the other proceeding dishes were served out. It seems that they have a grab and go policy.
Some chips were left on the side and hadn’t been collected, one of the chefs picked up said cold, abandoned fries and seemed to have shoved them back in the fryer.
The chefs and the waiting staff shouted at each other literally across the restaurant making it a really weird dining experience and a bit like a school playground.
And lastly, but least importantly, a chef took out a massive bag of frozen chips to cook. Not really the sort of thing I want to see, I’d rather have the illusion that I couldn’t have bought the chips and saved at least £2.50 per serving. Some things should be left behind closed doors.
So, once our food and drinks actually arrived I wasn’t blown away. Moo had a caesar salad that he was quite pleased with and I had a classic cob. The salad had a sorry looking dry egg, a rasher and a half of bacon and some luke warm chicken. It had a smattering of blue cheese and a bed of brown tipped lettuce but a very fresh tomato and avocado. It had a vinaigrette on the side that was 75% olive oil and after a good stirring, it wasn’t bad but certainly not something I would pour all over my salad. It wasn’t a great salad, it tasted ok and it wasn’t terrible and I suppose, for the price, it wasn’t that out of my expectations.
We also ordered some sides. Moo ordered a dish of mac and cheese and I ordered a serving of courgette fries. I must admit, I was quite taken with the courgettes. The courgette fries were crispy on the outside and soft and moist in the middle. They were a little too greasy and required some seasoning but I was quite pleased with them. The mac and cheese was mild with a great mature topping but the actual sauce was a bit lumpy, greasy and needed some extra salt to give the cheese a bit more of a kick.
We also ordered a couple Oreo shakes and though they were ok, they weren’t as good as everyone promised. Maybe that’s just expectations or maybe it’s the fact it tasted like a standard Mr Whippy ice-cream? Who knows?
In all, the experience was awful but the food was ok. I am especially annoyed that their Twitter representative only seems to respond to positive feedback – way to retain your customer base guys.
I will give the Soho or Covent branch a go as so many people have told me that they are superior but I am definitely not returning to the High Street Kensington branch.