Yauatcha City – The Worst Restaurant I Have Ever Visited
I had really high hopes for Yauatcha City. I had pretty extensively researched restaurants in The City, and even pulled in some recommendations from people who really should know. I felt there was a lot riding on getting it right – this was the first of Anna’s birthdays that we hadn’t spent at Cowley Manor, and they had set the bar extremely high.
So what more of a fitting induction into Anna’s thirties than to complain about the service in a restaurant?
We arrived for our reservation on Monday 21st December, and made our way up the stairs to the restaurant. We were quickly seated, though I do remember thinking it a little odd that nobody offered to take our coats, so they were left draped on the backs of our chairs. We were then presented with some dipping sauces and sliced cucumber. Sitting looking at it for quite some time, we were expecting maybe that there was something more coming, but we were sadly disappointed.
We eventually worked out that we were meant to be dipping the cucumber, which would have been fine, had one of the serving staff actually bothered to tell us. Now, I’ve been to China several times, and all the places in which I have eaten have been through-and-through Chinese, and not tourist joints, and I couldn’t figure this out (and have also never had exclusively cucumber for dipping); so you wonder how many poor punters have sat there looking at these dips and cucumber wondering quite where they should put them.
I confess, that based on my experience at Yauatcha City, I can think of one or two alternative places they can put that cucumber.
After over thirty minutes of cucumber contemplation and eventual dipping, no-one had so much as even taken a drinks order. I had to actively collar a member of staff to ask if we could order.
We ordered some chilled Sake, and they elected to keep this away from the table. No problems there, except that the staff were so fantastically incompetent that we had to ask for our glasses to be refilled, as God knows where they had hidden our bottle.
Our waiter asked if we wanted our dishes all brought out together, or as starters and mains. As we were starving by this point, we asked for the former, which they promptly ignored. The food arrived albeit now in courses rather than en masse, and it was good, but again, it was just dropped in front of us. There was no taking us through the 5 or so dishes that we ordered, they were just brought out. Why bother to ask us whether we want it all brought out together if you’re just going to do the opposite?
By the time we’d finished, I’d pretty much reached the end of my tether. I felt like they had ruined what was meant to be a special evening for Anna’s birthday, and me being me, held myself responsible for choosing a bad restaurant. I asked to speak to the manager, and had a bit of a rant at her, and she offered us complimentary dessert.
As a general rule in this scenario, complimentary dessert is not a compensation. The margins are huge, and they can easily placate a disgruntled customer with very little effort on their part. I declined and said that we just wanted to pay the bill and leave, but wanted them to take something off the total. They took the Sake off, which at £70 was good of them. Sadly, that was the best part of the evening.
I really don’t know what happened here. The barman at South Place Hotel, where we were staying, did mention that he had been on a staff Christmas do the night before. I can’t help but wonder whether Yauatcha decided on the same date for their staff party, and they had either staffed their restaurant with under-trained covers, or everyone was so hung-over that they couldn’t care less about the service they were delivering.
I can’t remember ever having an experience in a restaurant this bad. Make the trip over to Camden and go to Gilgamesh instead.