Confessions of a Bad Brunch…

The most disappointing Brunch I've had in a LONG time

Brunch is a meal that should be eaten in delightful surroundings [CHECK!]  whether in bed, at a drive thru, or with your mum, step-mum and little sister in ROYAL Tunbridge Wells…

As a group we can be pretty hard to handle, we all have our own little quirks, things that we enjoy when eating out.  My mum likes comfort, food that fills you with that ‘MMmmmmMmm’ feeling.  My  sort of kinda Step-Mum, likes something with raisins, eccles cake, fruit cake, tea cake…anything raisin and cakey she’s on it!  My sister and I are pretty similar, we both TRY to watch our food and are both watching the weight [both going in opposite directions she goes down, I go up]  but all in all we like good food, helps if it’s cheap and  we can’t abide dirt or rudeness…(oh dear,oh dear)

WELL HOW DISAPPOINTED WERE WE, I CAN’T BEGIN TO EXPLAIN…

I should start at the beginning as that is where it all began, the bad food was definitely overshadowed by the bad service that was apparent from start to finish.

We sat down outside the delightful WOODS restaurant, it was a casual Saturday so we didn’t expect too much, a light lunch/brunch with a few cuppa-T’s to see in a lovely sisterly weekend.  We sat down and after shuffling round chairs [wobbly] and moving tables [also wobbly] and we settled on the prime position equidistant from sun and shade.  Everyone outside seemed jolly and happy, pleased to be outside on a gorgeous sunny day enjoying the warmth with friends and family alike, that is all except the waiting staff.

With sour faces, and blunt and hardly even there voices I can say the customer service skills were matched by….well no one, I’ve had better service in a packed out kebab shop full of drunks at 4am.  My sister and I commented on the lack of cheer from the café elves but stuck with the place due to the Mothers’ interest in the interesting menu….ohhhhh YES

THE MENU

The location of WOODS, gives it a certain precedence when it comes to pricing.  A restaurant, in The Pantiles, in ROYAL Tunbridge Wells gives WOODS an initial excuse when it comes to their outrageous prices.  What makes that excuse an outright disgrace is the quality of the food which is served to your table…

THE FOOD

As stated above, we all had different tastes at our table… and it went a little something like this…

Customer 1 decided upon a hearty Wintery Soup, still suitable for spring with it’s combination of  crisp carrots and I hear alot of pepper

CUSTOMER No. 1

[the cracked black kind]  it was definitely a warmer of the winter kind.  The butter was served in a neat little black dish, although very hard and rather salty it was butter all the same, accompanied by some beautiful breads, fresh and fluffy, the soup was a winner.  Customer 1 gobbled it straight up and didn’t have a bad word to say about their suitable dish for when the grey sky clouded our day and cast a shadow upon the meal…

Customer 2 decided she would go for a suitable snack to go with her tea as the weather started to turn chilly.  We ordered our drinks about 15 minutes after sitting down, and after asking for some sugar twice, and doing that weird gesture to get the attention of the gentleman waiter who seems to have an automatic sight level of…STRAIGHT OVER MY HEAD, in the end we had to pinch the bowl of rancid looking sugar’cubes?’ from the empty table next to us.  Once customer 2 got the sugar for her now lukewarm tea, and was served her toasted teacake, she was again, similar to Customer 1 reasonably pleased…until that is, she spotted the bottom of the crockery her food, specifically her butter pot and the tea pot.  Now as someone who has worked in kitchens, I know the standards to which lesser restaurants and establishments have adhered to  having had to be the one to individually polish the knives and lose break-time to de-stain the crockery.  What I am about to show you is, in my opinion, not acceptable in a greasy spoon, let alone a restaurant charging above the odds for a mere cuppa!!

This ran down the entire length of the spout, and lined the entire inside of the lid, it meant that the tea had an odd look, like an oil slick, atop the tea…

This was not created by Customer 2 may I add as we tried to scrape some off to no avail,  just in need of a damn good soak…

So, food is going well at this point, crockery, service and drinks…not so good, but I’m not entirely disgusted, I’m hanging on by a swag of delicate muslin fabric not quite a thread…

Customer 3, myself, and I went for Eggs Benedictine, which I must say I love seeing on a menu.  It’s not often restaurants take the time to think of those who don’t like to smell like the ocean at breakfast.  Eggs Benedict is always on menus and I was delightfully surprised to see the ‘TINE’ at WOODS, so finding that nothing else tickled my fancy, I ordered it straight away.  [wish I had gone for the fish fingers and chips on the kids menu]  My eggs were revolting, clearly a chef who was not well trained enough to cook a poached egg without using alot of vinegar in his water because my eggs were overpowered by the stuff,  it filled the small pockets of water in the snottiest of eggs.  I stuck with it because by the time my food arrived I was starving, but ended up leaving 1/3 of my meal.  for £7.75 I expected the smoked ham to be the type that at least looks fresh, not straight out of a packet from ASDA, I expected it to be thick and sumptuous, it was not.  I expected the Hollandaise to be bright and luxurious in flavour, but the vinegar from the snotty eggs mixed strangely and caused the sauce to become bitter, all this on top of a soft and soggy ‘toasted’ English Muffin was to say the LEAST, outrageously disappointing on every single level.  My Mum had to stop me from complaining, and had I not had a small-ISH hangover I would have told the Manager where to go and where to send their chef back to school!

AND FINALLY…

Customer 4, the little sister…Now I need to state here and now, my sister is a wonderful creature, ‘Jade Lantern’ has a loud voice, a beautiful smile and a similar tolerance for bullsh*t to myself.  Having worked in customer service [again, similar to myself] ‘Jade’ knows the importance of looking busy and keeping the customer happy, hence her similar distaste for the NON-EXISTENT service we received.  ‘Jade’ ordered the Steak and Caramelised Onion Ciabatta, with grilled mushroom and side salad.  She was not asked how she wished her steak to be cooked, a vital error as we were in the middle of talking and she in turn forget to say ‘you best not bring that thing out moo-ing!!’  When it arrived, it has to be said, not only did her dish look spot on for the price [£7.95 only 20p more than my EGGS!] but it looked wholesome, tasty and mighty munchworthy.  Now, since when do you have to use a knife AND fork for a pre-cut essentially sandwich? DING DING DING you guessed it WOODS!!!!  I’m so past the point of badmouthing these guys now, I’ve got to the point where I feel sorry for them, times must be hard if you have to charge top drawer prices for a brunch that would have been more enjoyable in every way [barr the sunshine outside] at a McDonald’s Drive Thru….

Apologies WOODS, you have for now lost a customer due to your below par standards.

Don’t worry, in Arnie’s words ‘I’ll be Back’ to see if this review and the many others I have found online gets your butts into gear and starts you off on a little journey of improvement.  If you need some help Holla at your girl, I know customer service!!

So keep a watch out, I may come tomorrow, next week or 6 months from now, but I will be waiting, I will be watching and I will be inspecting those teapots!

Happy blogging, Cheers for Reading,

L.J x

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http://www.woodsrestaurant.co.uk/pantiles/

If you fancy checking it out for yourself readers the website is above and it’s in Tunbridge Wells, KENT! ADVANCE WITH CAUTION but do give them a chance…

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The Future’s Bright, The Futures…APPLE!

I’m a Blackberry Owner.

YES I’M AWARE THAT SUCKS!

It’s images like these that not only make me do a slight happy wee in my Tuesday Panties, but also make me sick with envy and desperate for my phone upgrade [still got 3 months to wait].

When I chose my Blackberry Curve 2 years ago [yes I’m that stupid] I thought to myself you know what, everyones got BBM, iPhones don’t have BBM, iPhones just have pretty games, I don’t need games, L.J can do business on Blackberry, L.J NO NEED IPHONE..

Update: I need an iPhone 😥

This is a concept design for the iPhone 5, and I have to say its a thing of beauty.  I’m loving the idea of the ergonomically designed casing, the brushed aluminium steel AND the integration of the glowing apple is something I’ve always wanted from an apple phone.  That quintessentially ‘APPLE’ icon of the delicate glowing forbidden fruit, like you have been handed the technology of the gods is what I have always felt the iPhone and iPod have missed out on.

These concept designs are by a chappy called Federico Ciccarese, and he has done some amazing work, so much so that I reckon his designs may be looked at by the bosses at be at Apple! They’d be crazy not to, his design for the AppleTV (iScreen) is phenomenal, a curved design again with integrated SIRI, how long will it be before we come home and our TV says ‘Awww hunnie, hard day at work?, here’s a violent slasher movie to put a smile on your face! pppssstt, spoiler alert, PARIS HILTON DIES’.

All these new inventions from Apple honestly have me chomping at the bit to upgrade to an iPhone in June, just to get on the ladder.  The only part of Apple I’ve ever invested in is my iPod and I wouldn’t leave home without it.  I think in 10 years time, Apple will honestly be the ones who teleport us to different worlds, Microsoft put simply, just aren’t cool enough!

Happy Blogging, Cheers for Reading.

L.J x

I’m a Tea Addict, So Shoot Me!

OMG! GET YOUR BUTTS TO ISMAIL PRONTO!!

Okay, I’m officially obsessed with this coffee and tea shop, and, to be honest I have wanted to do a feature on them for a while now and just haven’t got round to doing it.  So here goes…

Ismail, is a relatively medium sized coffee and tea house in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.  Now to say that I am a fan of coffee and sitting with one brewing whilst casually writing or reading, is a MASSIVE understatement, even in cold weather I will sit outside the shop to get the full benefit of the warming hot drink grasped in my hands.  Usually I darken such doorways as Costa or Starbucks, quick, easy, and basically identical,  what you don’t get with Costa and Starbucks is that feeling of individuality, you don’t get the feeling that your tea was brewed just for you or that your coffee was ground specifically so you would enjoy it.  Well this is where Ismail differs.

Everything in this place is luxury personified (with amazingly competitive prices as well, they won’t rob you blind like some other places!)  The teas are, firstly, BEAUTIFUL, my favourite is the one pictured above, ‘Amaretto Royale’ is THE most beautiful tea I have ever tasted, and if you are a fan of fruity teas like I am, but always get disappointed that it just doesn’t taste how you expect, this tea certainly packs a punch.

A spice and fruit infusion of crushed almonds, apples and cinnamon, this carefully balanced blend combines the creamy sweetness of almonds with subtle hints of cinnamon and ripe green fruits. I Drink it without milk and I add just a touch of honey to add to that rounded warmth sweetness you get from the apples and almonds.  Although there are no cherries in there, it honestly tastes like a cherry bakewell tart fresh from the oven.

AND, the brewing process is all sorted for you, the beautiful glass teapots let you watch the whole process as you are granted with a little timer, set at the counter that alerts you to the moment when your tea has brewed perfectly, this tea in particular takes 4-5 minutes to brew to an appropriate standard, which gives you enough time to settle in your seat, get your phone out and your book or paperwork.  PERFECTION.

Now Ismail doesn’t stop at tea and coffee, OH NO!! they are known locally for having THE best Hot chocolate in town, my personal opinion is that its the best Hot Chocolate in the world.  I’ve had Hot Chocolate in Italy, America, France, Belgium, Canada, Devon, and all of them have been there own little amount of perfect but Ismail’s is phenomenal, it’s beyond anything you’ve ever known…

This photo was from another trip to Ismail, a slightly colder day when all I could think of drinking was hot chocolate…Now let me take a moment just to explain this beautiful drink from beginning to end.

1) £2.40 (Starbucks £2.85 McDonalds £2.79 for the same size as Ismail)
2) What you can see there is a tall glass that has melted Belgian chocolate smothered around the inside of the glass and a deep well of chocolate at the bottom of the glass.  The chocolate is the best I’ve ever tasted and they do it in Milk and Dark chocolate.
3) The glass is then topped up with milk, hot and frothy, THEN…
4) They top it with an Ismail coin, a thick chocolate coin that sits on top and melts down into the milk.
5) When you stir this bad boy, the chocolate disappears into the milk, swirling round into the MOST amazing hot chocolate you will ever taste in this world.
6) Beware the chocolate moustache, my advice, just run your finger around the rim of the glass before you drink, I’ve seen many a person walk away with a beautifully crafted swirly moustache of Belgian goodness!

Now whether you live up north, or in the local vicinity GET YOUR BUTT TO ISMAIL PRONTO!  They are amazing in there from the food to the drinks to the cakes to the EVERYTHING, oh and did I mention that you can buy their teas and coffees AND CHOCOLATE in store and online? I didn’t mention it? oh well, YOU CAN BUY EVERYTHING IN STORE AND ONLINE!!!

http://www.ismail.co.uk

Muchos Love, and Happy coffee-ing!
Cheers for Reading,

L.J x

Is there anyone out there?

Do you think it's too much to ask for specific interior detailings??