Where to start...
Of course we had a reservation. It was a groupon booked a couple of months ago. When we arrived we had to queue...not impressed x1. As predicted it wasn't busy when we got in. Bug bear: why do they make you queue when it's not busy? To make you appreciate it more?!
Anyway when we got in we were informed the restaurant didn't open until 8.30, even though our reservation was at 8pm, go figure. We dutifully bought a cocktail at the packed bar-a mojito and a cosmopolitan. Both were very nice the bar was obviously rammed and not at all atmospheric due to the fact everyone was waiting to get to the restaurant.
The restaurant opened from a secret sliding door that we didn't notice when we arrived or on visiting the bathroom. Once it opened we all filed in. On arrival we had been given a numbered sticker with no explanation as to what it meant. We sat on a bed and were moved on "your table is over there..." well no one told us, we moved in the general direction and asked someone. Turns out we were upstairs. We arrived upstairs and sat on another bed..."no you're over there". Now if I were to give a tip to the restaurant...if you intend to give people table numbers on arrival 1) tell them that's what the numbers are for 2) number the tables. It just felt like speed dating. It was terribly organised and we were on an awful bar stool table. Not our fault...people we'd seen in the queue with groupon vouchers and tables for two were on good seats.
Any who. We could see the stage. Expectations were still high. One other thing to point out, it was hotter than the surface of the sun in the bar; even though I had checked my coat it was unbelievable...if only it was like that in the restaurant, it was freezing. I felt like I was in a wind tunnel. I wasn't the only one, the girl on the next table complained she was cold first. When the waiter disappeared I assumed he was going to shut off the glacial chill, instead he reappeared with a blanket for her...I wanted some of that action. He came back with a blanket for me too.
My dining companion informed me this was doing me no good, just making me more tired and stopping me getting into it, but honestly when I say it was nuggets, it was nuggets. Still we had the food to look forward to....
"A three course meal with champagne" is what we were billed. Starting at 8pm don't forget. The starter arrived around 9pm (30 minutes after seating and long after we'd finished the poor excuse for champagne...trampagne more like)
Now, how best to describe te starter? My dining companion did it amazingly..."it tastes like sweet dirt." Sweet dirt is entirely accurate. The real name of it was beetroot soup. I don't like beetroot at all. When we were asked about dietary requirements and I said none I didn't mean feed me the earths good soil.
Neither of us ate it, to the point we were offered an alternative "YES". The alternative was cauliflower soup, that would do me...my companion couldn't stomach it so close to smelling the dirt. It was actually lovely (the cauliflower soup, not the beetroot soil) and I ate it all enthusiastically...anything to warm me up.
The plates were cleared, it was time for an 'act', now we'd seen assistants tying this woman in silk drapes to the banister a bit like a cirque du solail butterfly. We were obviously greatly anticipating what was going to happen. Red silk was first followed by a purple. Some we're tied low some high.
The act started..she either sang or mimed I can't decide. She didn't however move. As we were on the balcony we didn't get the visual benefit of all this and could just see the tip of her head. It was over as soon as it started and the assistant untied her...honestly what was the point?!
So time for the main, sea bass with potato and a cauliflower jus thing and supposedly a seafood dressing. My companions plate was quite healthily stocked with the seafood dressing (shrimp) I had none. They were shared, thank god for small mercies.
The fish was nice, but small the potatoes were so heavily doused in herbs you totally lost the effect and the cauliflower thing dent help matters a all. It was all lovingly mopped up, hell I would have eaten gruel to get a bit warmer.
We were also getting quite merry at this point, so were paying less attention to the surroundings so were surprised when the next act was about to start. A weird looking guy with a balloon up his top pretending to be pregnant...really?
I'd actually blocked this whole episode out of my mind, I was reminded of it at the coat check where the girl was aghast we were leaving early..."didn't you enjoy the cabaret?!" er no we only seen one singer..."didn't you see the second act" hence I was reminded of the crazy balloon guy. So at this stage I'm freezing in my blanket and probably foolishly looking forward to dessert.
When it arrives I at least think it has arrives. It's so small I can barely see it, especially in the dark. It looks chocolaty, promising. When I cut into it it's barely chocolate, mainly pastry, fail.
I eat it because I'm starving but the word enjoy is a bit strong. Also by this point it's after 11...we were seated for dinner at 830. When you're not being entertained well (like at Circus which was miles apart) this is too late. The whole thing didn't feel well organised, which is a massive shame.
Luckily as we were there on a Groupon deal we hadn't paid full price for the experience. Had we I would have been a very unhappy customer.
The only way I would go back is if a) it was cheap again and b) I was with a big group and guaranteed a good bed in a good location, the balcony was definitely not the place to be.