Thursday 4 December 2008

Salaam Namaste - London, WC1

Apparently a common perception of the English is that we like to complain a lot. At the weather, at our banks, at our sports teams, at our pets (that is why Dogs are so popular: great, dum and furry, yet animate enough to give the impression they are listening - try moaning to a plant pot, you soon realise it's a futile exercise and may appear quite mad). I try not to whinge, oh how I try, it's boring when others do it, but sometimes you feel justified.

Wednesday was such a time. After having enjoyed a pretty good meal - slightly dry chicken tikka in a sweety, nutty cashew paste; gosht zardaloo, a toothsome stew, fruity with apricots; a great, tangy aubergine side and sour, creamy dal makini - I found myself knee deep in farce.

The bill arrived, £666! Spelt trouble. Last minute absentees meant our party of 23 was 18, but the manager wanted to charge us for their food - £19.95 a head. Restaurant policy or not, it wasn't made clear at all to me when making the reservation, a reservation he had already moved back to 7.30 from the original time of 6.30pm. I was a little trousered, trolleyed, lamp shaded, whatever else the upper classes say, and quite indignant. There was a strong temptation to get up, exclaim 'I said Good Day!' and leave, threatening to return and buy the place and make drastic changes, made even stronger by the manager, who all but accused us (I was not alone in my incredulity anymore) of being prejudice against Indian's and Indian restaurants. 'This would not have happened in Claridge's' he said, damn right I thought.

The whole incident was resolved by us agreeing to pay for five who never set foot inside the place, but declining to pay the discretionary service charge. This was a shame in a sense, as the waiting staff had, in truth, been pretty good, sadly their boss is a naughty boy. It certainly left a bad taste in the mouth, spoiling the end of a fun evening. I had problems with Salaam Namaste in the summer over a telephone booking they failed to honour. In terms of customer relations they must do better!


Willp2328 score: 5/10

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