The Butchers Social – Henley in Arden

Mothers! You’ve all got one, they might be lovely, they might be horrid, they might be dead, but whatever the circumstance – you’ve got one, get over it.

I myself have one, and she has one too. The one belonging to her is my GRANDmother – she acquired this label because she is over 14 feet tall.

As you can imagine, getting a table to celebrate Mother’s Day can be somewhat difficult when you’ve got a four metre, 93-year-old with you.

Not being the type to give up easily, and also wanting a free lunch (baby boomers have more money than me) I sourced a lunch venue – the Butcher’s Social in quaint, old Henley in Arden. “The ice cream here comes from Poland now, Rob,” grandmother informed me.

I’ve been to the Butcher’s Social before, just before Christmas, but never wrote it up – mainly because I couldn’t be arsed, but also because the service was rubbish, and I hate moaning about places on this stupid blog as I think the restaurants in question will have me killed. In short, they forgot two of the sides we’d ordered and it ended in a ridiculous back and forth about whether or not we’d ordered them in the first place. Little do they know, I know for a FACT we ordered them, as when my step-dad asked for the Aubergine, I went, “oooh, fancy,” one of many attempts to break an awkward silence that evening. Anyway, as that lad in the Lion King says, “it doesn’t matter, it in de past.”

Going totally against the last sentence, cast your mind back to Mother’s Day…

The table was booked for 12:30, two of us got there BANG on time as the last thing I need is the Foodie Boys becoming known as the Tardy Boys. However, my mother and other ensemble didn’t get there until 12:40. They sat down and we had a bit of a chat, as you do.

At 12:45 we were asked if we knew what we wanted, we requested another couple of minutes. Fine, as far as we could tell, the waitress left – but then returned a minute later to tell us we need to order soon as they, “need the table back.” Alright, ya charmer.

Now, I’m fat enough to have eaten in enough establishments to know that often tables will have a set amount of time before they have another sitting, it can be a bit annoying, but it’s fine – provided they have told you in advance. Here though, nothing when I booked, nothing when they rang to confirm the booking, nothing when we first sat down.

FOOD

I had the fillet of beef carpaccio to start, and it was a really tasty plate of food. Served with crispy kale and fried shallot rings it went down a treat.

Fillet of beef carpaccio

For main I had the cod, everyone else had roast beef, which all looked pretty good – compliments were aimed at the Yorkshire puddings. The cod came with a bone marrow sauce on top, which intrigued me, and it worked pretty well.

Cod with bone marrow

Cod with bone marrow

Dessert was a treacle tart with a hazelnut ice cream (which was supposed to be vanilla). It was what I can only describe as MEH.

Treacle tart

Back to the service

We were given the menus for dessert and ordered another bottle of wine. The wine was bought over, poured and desserts were ordered.

Five minutes later the waiter came back to inform us that when we get the desserts we’ll have 20 minutes to leave the table, but you’re welcome to go and sit in the bar then.

“Is there anywhere to sit in the bar?” I asked.

“I’m not sure.”

I think the looks on our faces prompted him to go and have a look, and he did find us a table – as much as I’d liked the idea of a massive, old woman out on the street swigging wine.

NOW…

you may think all this sounds like I’m being unreasonable, and maybe I am, but what really did my nut in was we sat in the bar, ordered another drink and before we left (an hour after being moved) I went back towards the dining room to pick up our coats. Around half of the dining room was still empty, so the desperate need for us to move on seemed totally unnecessary.

At the end of the day, it’s a communication issue, but frankly I think it’s quite an important one. Your food could be absolutely world class, but making diners feel like they’re an inconvenience will always leave a sour taste.

Please don’t hurt me.

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