Can We Toque? A tale of two Tashas.

I have had many a meal at Tashas.   This chain of upper- middle-market restaurants is excellent at providing above-average food, good service and a bustling atmosphere.  And boy do they bustle.  No booking of a table here.  They are often full, and there are often queues for a table.  It is a successful chain, and normally deserves that success.


My buddy George wanted to meet me for lunch the other day and opted for the Melrose Arch Tashas.    This is a hugely popular, slightly-too-crowded-and-noisy place.

I arrived early and ordered a bottle of wine.  As so often, I gravitated towards Warwick and the delicious First Lady Chardonnay.   But trouble was lurking.

After about 10 minutes (with George installed as well) we asked where the wine was.  The answer was they didn’t have any but were “looking upstairs”.  Time dragged on, and they decided they did have a bottle, but it was too warm.  Would we like anything else?

Now I know that sometimes there is a wine on a wine list which is out of stock or not ready to serve, although this really should not be the case in a place with a very, very small selection of wines.

I ordered a glass of tap water.  Price: zero.

My plight and the smoke coming out of my ears attracted the attention of the lady manager, who was suitably apologetic, and soon found a bottle of my chosen wine, even offering it to me for free.   By then my mood had soured from pleasantly fruity to acidic vinegar, and I declined.   I finished my (very ordinary and not well constructed) toasted sandwich, and we left.   We were not charged for our meal, even though George had demolished a plate of very tasty looking salmon.

What was brilliant is the way in which they cared about a customer, even in a very busy restaurant, and even though the waitress had been terrible in not telling me from the start that my chosen wine was not going to arrive for a long, long, long time.      My sulk continues.

The following day, I was back in a Tashas, this time the one in Morningside, for breakfast with a dear friend – so dear that she picked up the bill.

Nothing really wrong with this meal, apart from one severlye irritating remark from the waiter.

I had ordered my favourite breakfast: two eggs, four slices of bacon and two of toast.  And go easy on the foliage.   There may be a place for rocket, but it ain’t on my plate.

The waiter’s response was a classic, which I will remember to my dying day (pretty soon if I don’t go easy on the bacon).

He said I couldn’t have four rashers of bacon: “We do three or six.”

My response was that I expected four rashers to be brought to the table, or the manager.  They decided I would be happier with the four rashers.  And the breakfast was very good, once we had resolved the rasher ration quandary.

Am I planning a boycott of Tashas?  No.   Although quite pricy for what it is, it has a good formula, OK coffee, and does some food very well.

And I do admire a place which tries to resolve a customer’s complaints, rather than a restaurant which regards the customer as the problem (see previous postings).

Tweet of the Day

Shit Jokes (@ShitJokes): When I was young, I was adopted by a man called Daz. He’s my non-biological father.

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