Sunday, July 08, 2018

Chino Latino , I want my service charge back

Finished work on a Saturday evening and we decided to have a quick meal at a fusion restaurant called Chino Latino based within Park Plaza Riverbank hotel. The restaurant was at a perfect location, just a few minutes from work at St Thomas hospital and not too far from Waterloo station which makes going home that much easier. The reviews on TripAdvisor  were positive and the foodie pictures looked good. As we travelled up the escalators, walked into restaurant and clocked the views of the Thames, we started to get excited. Instead of a quick bite, I started to think this was probably going  to turn into a crazy Saturday night story, with too many cocktails, a bottle of red and a few dances around the piano. Well, forty minutes later I began to worry our table was invisible to the restaurant staff, another twenty minutes and I was sure of it. Very poor customer service.  So what happened ?



 
We got to the restaurant having booked an evening table a few hours prior and realised it had two sections. The section we were sat at was shielded off from the main area by an orange screen. Maybe the screen helped to make our section more intimate , but alas you felt cut off from the live band and pretty much life. We were told you had to book seating's a while in advance so she couldn't move us and this was totally fine. It's London on a Saturday evening , so we were just glad we could get a meal in this beautiful space. We preceded to order some drinks and this came out pretty fast. A few minutes later a couple came in, sat next to us and asked another waitress if they could sit in the main area. A few seconds of going back and forth and they gave the couple a table. I was a little miffed, but then again they persevered, so kudos to them.  

Time for the meal and this came out in good time as well.We ordered a whole Lobster tempura , baby chicken and some Tiger Maki. A few minutes after ordering I was told they were out of chicken so I settled for the lamb cutlets. A bit dissapointed they didn't have my first choice at 7.15 pm, but that's fine. Maybe they use the same chicken courier company as KFC..who knows.  Anyways the food came out and this was very tasty I have to say. The fried cassava chips were pretty moreish and the Lobster batter was crispy and delicious, especially when immersed in the various dips.         

 
The plan was to have a quick dinner, however we thought lets make a Saturday night of this..and we would have if we could get someone to serve us drinks....or desserts...or another menu..or even to takeaway our plates.It wasn't like they didn't have staff because the table behind us and next to the window was catching up with every single member of staff. They were obviously regulars but thats okay. We took our initiative and got up after a while to ask a waiter for a menu and the waiter said " my colleague will help you". Maybe the staff we asked was allergic to the menu or plates..who knows. Finally our waiter comes and we asked for the drink menu and she said yes. Well we never saw her again and i'm not sure where that menu went. Maybe it went to the regulars who were on their second bottle of wine by this time. So from wanting to order the dessert platters and drinks, to thinking about bringing friends for brunch, we decided we had enough and asked for the bill when our the waiter realised we still existed.  The bill came with the service charge added in. If you're going to add 12.5% on my bill for service charge, we should at least be allowed to order more if we wanted to at the very minimum. Being a customer at a restaurant I expected more....maybe not banter, but at least a menu would be fantastic and perhaps a question about the dish we had coupled with an actual drinks menu. Even Pizza Express asks how your pizza was and before you say anything, i'm not knocking Pizza Express. They do a great job on our high streets.

We paid the bill and headed out of the restaurant. A few minutes down the road, we decided to look at our receipt and immediately marched back to the restaurant because they over charged us. Whilst getting our refund we told them about the less than impressive customer service and the waiter said " well it doesn't help being over charged after your experience, we hope you come back". We looked at him, smiled and nearly asked for our service charge back.

On reflection when you check out TripAdvisor for reviews, make sure you read the poor , average and terrible comments. I could have saved myself some money.

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