Friday 27 June 2014

Restaurant Review: The Greyhound, Carshalton

One sunny evening in June I suggested to my boyfriend that we get off the train at a different stop and walk to the Young's pub, the Greyhound, on Carshalton pond in Surrey. It was the perfect occasion for a glass of rose and a light dinner.
We hadn't booked but there was plenty of room; the Greyhound is a large pub with overnight accommodation and outdoor seating overlooking the pond (and the road, but you can't have everything). As we arrived, I spotted a chalkboard outside the pub advertising sea bass stuffed with prawns and garlic for £15.95 and immediately knew that was what I was going to order. At our table, we were given a menu and shown a large specials board on the wall; there was a wide variety of dishes.. I ordered the sea bass with prawns and garlic and indicated the specials board as I did so, and my boyfriend - unsurprisingly - ordered a burger.
The food arrived fairly promptly and I started eating, and noticed right away there were no prawns, and I couldn't taste any garlic either. But try as I might - short of actually getting up from the table - I couldn't attract the attention of any waiting staff. As the sea bass was actually very nice, I carried on eating and assumed they had somehow forgotten the prawns, but that they would reduce the bill at the end. When a waitress finally came over to ask if the food was all right - by which point we had almost finished - I pointed out that the prawns were missing and she seemed confused and went to check with the kitchen. When she came back, she told me that the specials board was wrong and they didn't actually have any of the sea bass with prawns and garlic that night, but that there was seabass with rosemary on their main menu and this is what I had been given. When the bill came, I was surprised to see my sea bass priced at £18.95 rather than £15.95 - and I had expected to pay less since the prawns were missing. The waitress explained that £18.95 was the price of the other sea bass dish on the main menu which was actually what I had eaten.
I'm not normally one for complaining but I thought that was very poor customer service- firstly to bring a diner a different dish and not tell them what they had ordered was not available, and then to charge a higher price for something they hadn't ordered in the first place. The waitress went to ask her manager and came back and said they had removed the cost of one lemonade - £2.20 - from the bill as a goodwill gesture. I still thought this wasn't particuarly good service and commented that the sea bass with prawns was still on the specials board and on a chalkboard outside and perhaps they should remove that before anyone else ordered the dish - or at least tell them when they ordered that it was not available, rather than bring them the next best thing and hope that was good enough.
On the other hand the sea bass I did eat was extremely good - not overcooked with a delicate flavour complemented by rosemary, served with crushed potatoes which were also very good. My boyfriend was not blown away by his burger but said it was nice. Unfortunately we were both quite disappointed by the desserts. The dessert menu was quite brief, both in the number of options and the descriptions; there was nothing chocolate which was surprising, other than chocolate ice cream which my boyfriend ordered. It was fine but tasted quite mass produced and not particuarly high quality. I had lemon gateau which turned out to be a very small slice of lemon sponge cake with a scoop of the most tasteless vanilla ice cream I've ever had. My main course was very good (and I imagine the one I had wanted would have been even better still) so the pub was really let down both by its desserts and its service.
This pub is very local to me and I have been once before about three years ago and remembered it as being good, but now it will not be particularly high on my list of places to return to.

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