zondag 20 september 2009

Disappointment at Fortnum & Mason - London

It is one of the things you think you have to do whenever you are in London: have afternoon tea in one of the restaurants of Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly. For our previous visits, we usually went to the restaurant on the mezzanine. We arrived in London yesterday (Saturday), found our special spices in the groceries department and decided it was time for our treat: a pot of earl grey tea and some delicious scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Sadly for us it was only 2 p.m.: too early for tea: they serve it after 3 p.m. We had to go to a different part of London, so we planned our Sunday so that we could have our treat in the afternoon. After the full English breakfast in our hotel, we decided not to have any lunch, because it would mean to much food.
This afternoon at 3:30 p.m. we arrived on the top floor in the St.James Restaurant of Fortnum & Mason, where we were asked if we had made any reservations, which we didn't, because we we unaware of this. The restaurant was about 60% occupied, but we were told in a not very friendly way that it was not possible to have the full afternoon high tea with everything, like champagne, etc. But, we told the hostess, we would just like a pot of tea with scones, which is called cream tea. We also asked if the other restaurants at F & N would be a better choice for us, but got a fairly vague answer, so we decided we would stay in the St. James. We were given a table next to the toilets, but accepted this, because we got the impression that it was the only free table left. Our tea was served with the scones: for the two of us four tiny ones and with it one tablespoon of clotted cream and one tablespoon of strawberry jam. They were of course very delicious, but much much smaller than they used to be 1 !/2 year ago. Isn't it that you expect the size of a small muffin and not 1 inch large and 1/2 inch thickness?
And then we had to pay. When the bill was presented, I saw DH get a bit pale, so I asked what was the problem. Having lived in London from 2004 till 2008, we consider ourselves familiar with the english prices and also with the english traditions. This time, however, we were unhappily surprised. Is it necessary to let customers pay these prices, we wonder. We had to pay 28 pounds of which 12 for the scones/cream/jam. We think this time price/value was completely out of balance. Also it is not possible in this restaurant to talk about this, because the servants do not speak English well enough to communicate with us customers.
Our advise if you are visiting London: avoid Fortnum & Mason. As a tourist you are not welcome in this establishment and it is not worth your money anymore. Try Harrods.

Groetjes van Marie-Thérèse

3 opmerkingen:

Shirley zei

OMG dat is toch onbeschoft! Het is hun duidelijk hoog in de bol geschoten. Goede tip, om daar nooit naar toe te gaan, dank je. Ik heb de heerlijkste scones (maatje muffins)gegeten in een lunchroom in the Rocks, Sydney, een haast Middeleeuws aandoende wijk aan de voet van de beroemde brug, in de volksmond liefkozend genoemd 'the Coathanger'. Helaas komen we daar niet zo vaak, 't ligt een beetje uit de route.

Kieny The Dutchlady zei

Wat een teleurstellende ervaring. Ik hoop dat de rest van jullie bezoek prettiger indrukken heeft achter gelaten.

katie morosky zei

Ik heb er jaren geleden wel een prettige ervaring gehad. Ik denk wel dat wij gereserveerd hadden.