Newest Review: ... came to so we went in and sat down and it wasn't until we saw the menus that we realised it was All Bar One. This branch was empty, immacul... more
Can't make my mind up!
All Bar One
Member Name: bettyboop2002
All Bar One
Advantages: Nice fish and chips, modern decor
Disadvantages: Too loud and dark for an evening meal
All Bar One are a chain of bars which have been around since 1994. The bars are located all over the UK including in Glasgow, Leeds, York, Manchester, Liverpool and lots of bars in London. A map of all locations can be found on their website.
On a trip to London before Christmas I visited two of these bars, with completely different experiences in each.
The first bar I visited was Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, where 8 of us went for food and drinks. We had booked a table for 8pm. When we arrived they said they didn't realise they had this booking and went to check and then panic stations. At first they were going to put us on 4 tables of 2 but instead asked us to wait while they sorted it. By sorting it they meant rush some other diners out of their tables and push some together.
While we waited, we stood at the crowded bar, one of the group ended up with a plate of chips spilled down her back because there was just no room for the waiters to get through as the bar area was very busy and the bar so close to the tables, some of the tables had people eating, other were just drinkers and as there was 3 split levels to the bar I thought maybe the top area could be designated to food only up until 9pm or something.
When we were seated, drink orders were taken and we were given menus. We couldn't see the menus as it was so dark in the corner we were sat in. We had to get out phones to try and get some light to see. The drinks took a while to come but you'd get over that as it was extremely busy. They got a couple of drink orders wrong bringing pints instead of halfs but by then we had a feeling we'd be needing pints so we shut up and drank them!
The menu looked a decent size at first, but then we realised that some pages were only for breakfast, others only for lunch, desserts or drinks. Which didn't leave a huge choice but enough for a bar.
There are some tapas and sharing platters on the menu but as there were quite a few of us who probably wouldn't be able to decide we decided to go for a main course each.
Most people chose steaks or burgers, I decided to go for fish and chips. Their selection of burgers is something a bit different with Beef and camembert, Lamb and mint, crab and lobster and chicken fillet a few of the options. The burgers cost around £10 and the steaks £15 plus sides.
The fish and chips cost £9.75. Other choices were curry, risotto and a few more. Mains are between
After the orders were taken, the waiter returned from the kitchen with menus and said they had no steaks, and no beef burgers. Which meant 6 out of the 8 had to choose again. A couple went for lamb and mint burgers and others chose chicken.
It was a bit disappointing that they didn't know of the lack of cow before handing out the menus the first time as it was a real let down.
Around an hour and a half after arriving (now on second pints) later and the food arrived, in dribs and drabs. Two of us didn't get our meals until 10 minutes after the first meal came out and the waiter seemed really annoyed when my aunt asked if he'd forgotten about us.
The presentation of the food was good. The fries came in a cute paper line metal bucket on the plate and there were plenty of them. The burgers were large and hand made. The side salads were crisp and fresh. My fish was larger than expected, in tempura batter which was beautiful and not too crispy, greasy or soggy, it was just perfect. There was also a small dish of tartare sauce and another of mushy peas (there were less mushy peas than tartare sauce though). I tasted my mums lamb and mint burger which I had to agree with her was very bland. My fish and chips were very nice but I didn't get to finish them as the waiter cleared my plate from the table when I was mid mouthful and I was left with my knife and fork in my hands nearly choking on my mouthful.
He then cleared the rest away and asked if we wanted desserts. Considering it was now around 10pm and it was so busy and noisy that none of us could talk over the music we decided not to bother and just asked for the bill.
The waiter returned with come little cards asking us to log onto a website and vote for his name. I have no idea what this was about as I couldn't hear him over the racket but if it was a best waiter competition he would be the last person I would vote for.
The bill took another 20 minutes to arrive and it was totally wrong, he had forgotten a whole round of drinks and the drinks that were on there were the wrong ones but he wasn't listening so we just paid it and left.
This was not a nice experience at all, the toilets were filthy and the floor was soaking and covered in toilet roll. I think that this branch should be only a bar in the evenings if they can't have a seperate seating area for food and I wouldn't recommend it for an evening meal as it is a dark, loud bar and not a restaurant.
They had a large outdoor seating area which I'm sure is lovely in the summer but not for winter. As my fish and chips were very nice I would maybe try it again for lunch but not at night again.
The second branch I visited was the following morning, near to the London Eye. My aunt and I were looking for somewhere to go for a coffee while the rest of the group were on the London Eye. This was the first place we came to so we went in and sat down and it wasn't until we saw the menus that we realised it was All Bar One. This branch was empty, immaculately clean and the staff were pleasant. We only had coffees but they were nice and it was warm inside.
I have also visited the branch in York for a drink. As a bar it was pretty good, it's modern with good music and plenty of people but not somewhere I would stay for more than one drink.
For the reasons mentioned above, I am going to give it 3 start. My meal was lovely, others weren't. Service was poor in one branch, good in another. Same applies for cleanliness. Overall I think it all depends on which branch you are visiting and at what time of day.
Summary: A bit confused!