Tuesday 7 February 2017

Restaurant review: Sizzle 'n' Shake, Wallington

I really wanted to write a positive review of Sizzle ‘n’ Shake, I really did. But much as I love the concept, the décor, the little touches – the service was terrible and the food wasn’t a whole lot better.
Sizzle ‘n’ Shake is a 50s style diner in Wallington and something really different, in an area that seems to be predominantly Indian and Italian restaurants or pubs. I’ve been twice now as we had a mixed experience the first time and wanted to give it a second chance – it was better second time around, but still disappointing. It could have been such a great place!
Here’s what I loved about Sizzle ‘n’ Shake:
  •  The 50s diner styling. The booth tables, the red bar stool chairs at the front window, the pictures on the walls and records hanging from the ceiling, the jukebox playing 50s (and 60s) music with an invitation to bring your own records for them to put on and the menus themselves, which are printed on 12 inch LPs – each diner gets a different record sleeve at random which is a bit of a talking point if that’s your musical era.
  • The milkshakes, especially the alcoholic ones. Not cheap - £5.50 for 350ml or £9.50 for 700ml but delicious. I had the Monk's Butt (!) which was made with Frangelico, butterscotch, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.
  • The chips- there is a choice of chunky, skinny or (for an extra £1.50) sweet potato fries which means everyone can have exactly what they want
  • They do kids portions at roughly half price which is good.
  • The huge choice on the menu (as long as you are not vegetarian) and even the names of the dishes
  • -       The personal touch from the man I think is the owner or manager – he was there on both our visits and came over to speak to us both times
Here’s what I didn’t love so much:
  • -       The location: part-way down Stafford Road opposite a furniture shop with no parking other than the odd space in a side street. Not their fault, and I’m sure they would have loved to have been on the high street, but it is a little awkward
  • -       The restaurant itself is also very small; again not their fault but this a great concept and clearly popular. Tables are squeezed in; the non-movable seats in the booths are so close to the table you can barely squeeze in, and it would be nice to have a bit more space.
  • -       The prices. The Rebel Rouser which is basically a double cheese and bacon burger cost £14.50; for that my husband was expecting a huge burger that he (almost) wouldn’t be able to finish but it was distinctly average in size. My macaroni cheese burger was £12.80 and was just a plain 6oz burger with a bit of penne pasta.
  • -       The burgers themselves: I appreciate that they are homemade and mass produced but they were not particularly flavoursome, not at all juicy and on our first visit, completely overcooked and chewy. On our second visit I made sure to ask for my burger cooked ‘medium’ – they don’t ask how you would like them, but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t overdone again. This time the burger was edible and not well done, but not medium either.
  • -       The mac and cheese burger I tried on my first visit: I was excited about this as it’s not something you often get on a menu but I’ve had a couple of amazing mac and cheese burgers in the past. In this case, the macaroni cheese was penne pasta that had been mixed with a cheese sauce; there were 5 or 6 tubes of penne just sitting on top of the burger inside the bun, and rolled out as soon as I picked up the burger. I managed to put a couple back in but they didn’t even really taste that great.
  • -       The BBQ burger I had on my second visit was better but still didn’t stand out and you can get a better burger pretty much anywhere. I’d put this one on a par with Wetherspoons I think, but it costs a lot more.
  • -       I didn’t have a dessert the first time and the second time was really looking forward to the chocolate orange truffle bar, but they had run out. My husband had the waffle with maple syrup which was a plain waffle with a tiny amount of syrup, so very dry – it would have been better served with ice cream or cream or at least more syrup.
  • -       The service: extremely slow. On our first visit there was only one other couple eating (it was quite late on a Tuesday night) and we felt service was a bit slow. On our second visit on a Saturday at 6pm, the place was packed – but as mentioned above, it’s not that big and there couldn’t have been more than 50 covers. So thats no excuse for the fact that we arrived at 6pm and didnt even get our drinks until 6.40 at which point we noticed two other tables who came in after us had already received their food. 
It’s a shame as the restaurant is a great idea and everything apart from the food and service is brilliant – but it’s the food and the service that will keep people coming back, and I’m not sure that I would.

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