Now lets get one things straight first of all. I do not go out of my way to be critical or pick faults in resturants. I would dearly love to fall head over heels with every place we visit and I'm quite happy to turn a blind eye to some shortcomings if the overall experience is enjoyable.
But I just cannot let this one go.
Shannels has replaced the fun and competent Kapetan Micheles on a gloomy and windswept stretch of Bouverie Road West. Its been up and running for a few months and has been visited by various members of our party on more than one occasion - with mixed results. But I was more than happy to go with childlike enthusiasm and an open heart - hell, it was my birthday after all.
We arrived about 8pm on a saturday and it was qiute busy. In fact we had been warned when we booked that there would be a hen party in situ and it might get a bit rowdy. No problem with that at all.
The wine list was on the shortish side but we found a white we could all agree on. Unfortunately, they only had one bottle of it and it was warm. So was the alternative bottle that we chose. Now, I cannot claim to fully understand the complexities of running a restaurant but I would have thought that it was self-evident that a sat night was likely to be the busiest night. And, if you accept that preposition, how hard can it be firstly to make sure you have a few bottles of each of your 5 or so choices of wine and, secondly, make sure the damn things are chilled. How hard is that? Especially when you are asking people to pay out 20 a bottle.
Anyway. Moving on and still in good humour we came to order. To be fair, the most charitable thing I can say is that our "waitress" is in the wrong job. And possibly on the wrong planet. I don't blame her, I blame whoever employed her. Again, I may be being naive here but I would have thought that a prerequisite for working in a restuarant would be even a passing knowledge and interest in the menu. If I was a waiter and I was asked if a dish came with potatoes, I'm fairly certain I could think of a more convincing reply than "probably". And if that was all I could have thought to say I might have followed it up with "I'll just go and check for you". There were other examples I could give but for the sake of brevity I will refrain. And, anyway, we were still enjoying ourselves and our lukewarm overpriced wine.
Things though finally came to a head when a full hour and a half after ordering our food hadn't arrived. Neither had any form of sustenance (bread etc) nor any explanation or apology. When we did ask whether teh food would be coming any time soon we were told that we "had already been informed that there was a hen party". A few minutes later after a unanimous decision, our restaurent rottweiler Dean paid for the wine and we left hungry. We happened to know a couple of other people there that night who were also unhappy with their meals.
I'm fed up with penny-pinching restaurateurs who think its OK to fully book a restaurant, understaff it with inappropriate people and then blame the very fact that the place is busy as an excuse. I know how small the kitchen is there - I have seen it. If you cannot cope with a certain number of covers then bloody well reduce the numbers until you can. And its not like this is an isolated example at this place. It amazes me how many times this is repeated in Folkestone. Don't these people realise that Folkestone is a small place, with a tiny number of quality places to eat and word very soon gets around. For god sake, the owners only need to see how many restuarants have stood on this very site and how quickly they have gone under. You don't get passing trade here. If you are going to survive you will have to rely on the good will of the local populus who will soon move on and tell their friends if the service is poor. Every restuarant has teething problems and people are amazingly forgiving. But this has been going on for months now and smacks of simple greed and a lack of interest in basic customer service.
I doubt I'll go back now until it inevitably changes hands in a year or so.
A guide to eating and drinking in Folkestone, Sandgate, Hythe, and the surrounding area... TOP ranking result for Folkestone Eating, if you're not mentioned here who knows you're there..? All independent, unpaid, and not intended to be spiteful...
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