My Night at the Opening of the Honours

Oh God! Where do I start?

First off, I would like to hold my hands up and say I should have stayed off twitter last night and not got involved in trying to explain why I was upset in 140 characters. That wasn’t fair to my dining companions who were more caught up in this that I was, the chef, the Malmaison or you my lovely readers. Those of you who called me out for telling half-truths were right…kind of. It wasn’t intentional that is for sure, I would hope by now my regular readers would know that I try to be honest and straight forward as much as I possibly can be and I always had the intentions of tell the whole truth (well, from what I saw and experienced). I would like to point out that I am not trying to justify, condone or victimise. I am going to just to do my best to lay out what I saw happen and how I as a customer felt about it.

So here we go…

Fact – I can’t even being to tell you how excited I was to go to the honours last night – I have been looking forward to it for weeks.

Fact – We were having the best night

Fact – The food was out of this world, the staff were (mostly) incredibly and the surroundings were beautiful.

I had not a care in the world, we had our starter and I was already planning a special 11 star review – yes it was that good!

Let me do my best to explain what happened, my friend is a vegetarian….the menu had 2 veggie option but one of the three maitre d, who knew my friends said he was going to talk to chef who was in-house this evening (at this I nearly died of happiness) and see what options they could come up with.

We were seated in the dining room and a second maitre d then explained that they could do the pasta with a selection of vegetables in the pasta – sold! order! done!

Our starters arrive and they were INSANE! like amazingly good…at this point I am 100% confident that I am going to be an embarrassing gushy lovely when writing up my review.

Our mains are delivered and the table is over flowing with sides dishes which looks amazing…I am honestly salivating just thinking about it. My friend commented that there was no veg in her pasta and that the sides of red onions and runner beans were obviously for her to add. Her husband commented that wasn’t want we were offered or ordered so he called over a lovely waiter and very quietly explained that it was a bit wrong – no fuss, these things happen.

Apologies were offered and the dish was taken away. About a minute later The Chef came out the kitchen and walked over to out table with said plate of pasta. ‘Who’s the blogger’ was the stern statement – quite surprised by this I said ‘erm, Me?’…the response was ‘whats wrong with this pasta?’ caught a big off guard and surprised, my dazzling response was ‘eh? it’s not my pasta it’s not anything to do with me’

I wish I could tell you want happened next and what was said exactly but to be honest shock and adrenaline kicked in a wee bit and it was all quite fast. All 4 of us kept saying to the chef – ‘are you being serious?’ And looking at each other unbelievingly waiting for him to say ‘ah, got ya! Haha) as he continued to abuse my friend for not being happy that she never got the dish she ordered…are you confused by this somewhat disproportionate outburst?? Good, so was I.

I kid you not, it still seems super surreal to me, we all commented after that we expected him to burst out laughing and have a joke with us it was such an over the top reaction.

Next thing I know the chef  looked like he was about to lift the plate and looked at both me and then my friend – I do remember lifting my hand out to stop what ever he was about to do, in a bid to stop things escalating beyond reasonable control – in fairness he possibly wouldn’t of actually tipped it in my lap ( when discussing it later all 4 of us thought I was about to end up with the pasta all over my lovely dress for being nothing more than a blogger????) Seeing this happen my friend stood up and chucked her half glass of wine over him and shouted ‘how dare you speak to me like that’ and said to me that she was trying to stop him tipping the plate on me. I honestly couldn’t tell you at this point if he chucked us out as we were already getting up to leave and I just kept thinking – this can’t be happening. My steak is amazing, am I seriously going to have to leave it there over the chef having a diva like strop about not wanting to throw a few vegetables into some pasta?? SERIOUSLY?

So as you can imagine even before the wine is chucked I have had the most horrendous customer experience ever! Never before anywhere have I had someone be as outrageously shockingly rude to me (over nothing?!) as he was. All I can think though at this point is – how can this perfect meal go so unceremoniously wrong within 60 second? NOOOOO!

Here is where is does gets out of hand, I have been accused of telling only half a story on Twitter and as I’ve said 100% not my intentions. I admit I got sucked into twitter when I should have shut up and written a full account, which I always intended to do on the blog. I got caught up in the moment of shock, I was devastated last night…not angry just genuinely disappointed as I had SO been looking forward to it for weeks, and up until that point it was everything I hoped it would be.

Right….from my view and side of the story here is what happened.

We were standing up, a 3rd maitre d who we had little involvement to this point came over, my thought was okay this guy will apologise for the outburst get our jackets and we can leave and frankly never come back but the 30 something man had other intentions. He said to my buddy in a very condescending tone – ‘ha!ha! (clapped sarcastically) off you go now’ and flicked her shoulder…yes! actually flicked her (who does that?) my friend then asked for her jacket and said she just wants to go….again this guy said ‘off you go now monied oiks’ and I kid you not pushed her in the shoulder, charming that this is what this guy thinks of the Glasgow customer, bearing again in mind that we were gushing happy customers until 90 seconds ago, paying a minimum £100 per head for the meal and we only asked for the dish which was offered to us!

My friend saw red at this man pushing her and slapped him. She got even more upset as this is seriously not in her character and started to apologise to people seated at tables near us – one of which said it was her fault!!! That she assaulted the poor ‘boy’ and that the restaurant should call the police – despite the fact that he put his hands on her in quite an aggressive manner first…..in fact later I had to talk her and her husband out of calling the police over the assault that she had suffered.

My friend then turned to the Maître and apologised for hitting him, and I remember thinking – ‘oh my god he’s looks like he’s enjoying this!’.

The 3rd maitre d was so obnoxious and frankly smug that I was utterly gobsmacked as I thought when I saw him approaching he was going to come in and calm things down rather than enflame them.

I couldn’t make up my mind if I was more shocked at the smug Maître for shoving my friend, my buddy for slapping him or the couple who said it was her fault for reacting to being man handled by a grown man?

Now I’m not naive enough to think this top drawer celeb chef lost his marbles over a few veggies, of course there has to be more to his side of this story which lead to him to charging out his kitchen and verbally abusing us. I can hand on my heart say I do not care! We had done nothing wrong to cause him to do that. My gut instinct is that the way he came out demanding ‘the blogger’ he thought I was trying to be awkward (so not my style) and winding him up – nothing could be further from the truth. After my starter I said to the waitress who cleared my plate to please pass on how sensational I thought the food was.

Totally out of hand over a few veggie in a bowl of pasta, right?

So, we bustle out in to the hallway and Chef follows us, looking fairly sheepish and in shock himself at his outburst. The maitre d that my friends know appears and I start telling him what happened and he I think was in just as much shock as the rest of us.

Chef to his immense credit immediately apologises to my friend, who is inconsolable and sobbing that she is sorry that she slapped the maitre d. Both chef and the nice maitre d assure her not to worry and that she was justified in her reaction and just got caught up in the moment.

I then (in my most annoyed voice) shouting down Chef for being shockingly rude, generally never having been spoken to like that in my life and telling him that we only asked for the dish that HIS STAFF offered. All of which he agreed with.

Chef apologised that there had been a miscommunication while at the same time the maitre d is chatting with me and I tell him how utterly gob smacked I was, I have never in all my life been treated as rudely as I was by the chef – even before the wine throwing.

We basically rant at them both for a good 1o minutes outside and I would like to say they took everything we said on the chin without trying to defend themselves or their actions in anyway.

Oh, I should portably mention in the interestes of full disclosure….while we were chatting outside the smug Matred appeared at the door and I thought he was waving at us in a very condescending manner – I only caught this out of the corner of my eye so went charging back into the building and challenged him about it. He said that he absolutely never, and I took him at his word and told him he was a disgrace.

Chef apologised for the over reaction and the miscommunication, the nice maitre d apologised for such a wonderful night being ruined and my friend apologised for both the wine (martin said this was not a big deal) and the slap. I did comment that there should be an announcement in the restaurant at what my friend had experienced, as looking from the outside (with only the smallest fraction of the story) it looked like she was the instigator which couldn’t be further from the truth.

I wouldn’t say we parted as friends but we parted not screaming at each other which was the best realistically we could hope for.

So, that is what happened….in truth the whole thing was utterly surreal – who knew diva chef tantrums actually happened in the real world? Even if the wine wasn’t thrown and the incident with the smug member of staff never happened, Chefs reaction alone was enough to send me heading for the hills. In fact the way he came to our table and quite scathingly asked for ‘the blogger’ with utter contempt was enough to put me off ever going back. I don’t expect chefs to like bloggers but equally I had done absolutely nothing wrong at all. I was getting ready to give him his own 11 star category for goodness sake, that is how much I was enjoying everything.

Generally I hope you all know that I do trying to always be fair with chefs/restaurants and do nothing by heap gushing praise and love on places (which there are many) that I enjoy….I do try my best not to be a mean blogger.

All I will say is that you have to make up your own mind, if this is acceptable behaviour in any customer environment. Should my friend have thrown the wine? Nope, but then neither should the chef had looked to be throwing the pasta all over my super cute dress and verbally abuse my friend.

Should my friend of slapped the outrageously patronising and smug grown man who flicked her and then pushed her first? Nope, but there is an argument that in what kind of environment is it acceptable for a man to shove a women and not expect some kind of retaliation.

Again, apologise for going off half cocked last night on twitter. I am an amateur blogger and I am learning stuff all the time, last night I got involved on twitter when it wasn’t appropriate and I hold my hands up and say lesson learnt. It was never my intention and certainly not my style to start outing misleading or half stories on twitter and this was always the blog post I intended to write. This is the truth of the situation as I saw it and experienced it…you can make your own mind up on the rights and wrongs of it all.

I am not going to get involved in this any further on twitter, as frankly you can’t explain this stuff properly in 140 characters – this is everything in full that I have to say on the awful treatment and experience that I had in the restaurant and have very little more to offer on this.

As a last thing, I have done my best to be fair, open and honest….I’m not interested in some kind of ‘Roast’ or ‘I’ll show them’ post. With this in mind if malmaison, the honours, chef or indeed any of the staff members involved feel that I have misrepresented the events I would be more than happy to sit down and chat about this with them.

I’m not angry at what happens I’m just so mind blowingly disappointed.