Spitting water, juggling acts and yelling – no not the circus, Byron on High Street Kensington

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.

Byron on Urbanspoon

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7 thoughts on “Spitting water, juggling acts and yelling – no not the circus, Byron on High Street Kensington

  1. Pg says:

    I completely disagree with you. I eat at this restaurant on a regular basis and I’ve always found the food and staff to be most pleasant. That’s why I keep going back! I have been to other Byron’s but prefer this branch. The fact that Byron has an open kitchen is their choice, but I’m certain that worse things happen in a closed kitchen at other well known chain restaurants. I feel your blog is most unfair and maybe you’re just trying to get a free meal out of them! This is a great place, great food, fast and super friendly staff and chefs who always make me and my family feel welcome. Such a shame you feel like this. I think you were in a bad mood because of the film and choose to take it out on this restaurant!

    • As I said, many people have told me how wonderful Byron’s is but I can assure you I had a bad experience. Just because I had a bad experience does not mean everyone will but mine certainly was. I take hygiene very seriously and I find spitting water in a kitchen to be very concerning. Even if Byron do choose to have an open kitchen, if I see something that concerns me, it doesn’t matter if I wouldn’t have seen it elsewhere. I also really didn’t appreciate the shouting as my partner and I had to stop our conversation due to the din. I may have been biased about the food but as you have unfairly commented, it was not about the film that I was just going to watch due to my fiancé wish to see it. No, it would have been bias due to the hygiene concerns, unprofessional communication between employees and the fact that our food was left on the side while orders prepared after ours were dished out. I am sorry you don’t agree but what I have said is the truth and my opinion.

      • Pg says:

        Fair enough. I appreciate it’s your opinion, but still don’t think it’s fair. These guys work hard, everyday, for long hours, for pretty low wages and this kind of judgement is unfair and may get them into trouble. All London restaurants are busy and noisy and I still think you have been unfair about your speculation over the chips, your food under the hot plate and staff. You are obviously in the minority as I know many who return here every week and never had a reason to complain. It’s a shame you had a bad day. We will still go as its our favourite place to eat, and the staff deserve a pat on their back not this kind of criticism. I’ve seen worse behaviour in other restaurants, believe you me! And I’m much older than you!

  2. Leanne says:

    Umm I really don’t like the sound of the spitting water thing. They know that people can see them so try and act a bit more professional! x

    • My thoughts exactly. I don’t think that just because you don’t see things in other hidden restaurants forgives poor behaviour in open kitchens. It really put me off and I was watching the chefs life a hawk afterwards. I was very tempted to walk out to be honest. xx

  3. Lexi says:

    It is not an opinion, it is her experience. This blogger has shared what she saw and how it effected her. I am sure many people have enjoyed their meal there but that does not negate this blogger’s personal experience. I have worked in the industry, and believe me you can not run a business by focusing only on positive feedback. Praise the staff for a job well done, and teach when they need to be taught. Whether customers can view the staff or not standards have been set and are regulated for a reason. It does not matter who you are, or where you are eating, food hygiene is incredibly important and if people see something unacceptable the management should be told so that the staff can correct their behaviour.

  4. […] my mishap at Byron on High Street Kensington, I thought I should give them another chance seeing as so many […]

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