Newest Review: ... found us a table right next to the window. Don't expect a private conversation at Garfunkels, as the tables are packed in tightly. The ph... more
The Sound of Disappointment
Member Name: duskmaiden
Advantages: prime locations, some good deals especially kids menu
Disadvantages: mostly overpriced mediocre at best food, slow service
Garfunkels is a very strange beast of a restaurant. The restaurant masquerades as some sort of American Diner. Its speciality is that its does not specialise at all and is has something for everyone on their menu. The only problem is this produces very mediocre and at times over priced food. Its a chain that seems to congregate wherever there are tourists hence numerous branches in London's West End. There are at least three within a stones throw of Oxford Circus tube station.. They are nearly as prevalent as the ubiquitous Aberdeen Steak House, which seems to be on every corner around the Leicester Square and Piccadilly. There's also a few outlying ones on Gloucester Road, the O2, Bath and Edinburgh. Its the type of restaurant I have gone to in a group, as there's something or everyone and to be fair its good for kids. Before last week I would have given it three stars, that was until my last visit when I walked out in disgust and it was all over a humble bowl of nachos.
My last visit was to the branch of Garfunkels just off Oxford Circus after a hard evening of shopping with a friend. It was a Tuesday, early evening about 730 pm and the restaurant seemed pretty busy. There were two other groups of two or three people waiting but we got seated fairly quickly within a few minutes. Then we were asked to leave our table by a waitress, as it was in the middle of the restaurant and they were expecting delivery. We thought this was strange as surely deliveries did not come at peak periods for custom. The waterless lead us all around the restaurant till she found us a table right next to the window. Don't expect a private conversation at Garfunkels, as the tables are packed in tightly. The phrase tin of sardines springs to mind.
Think of something non gourmet you want to eat and if you are a carnivore Garfunkels will have it. Burgers, sandwiches, fish and chips, curries, pizza and pasta. Pricers do vary. You can expect to pay from between £3.99 and £6.99 for an individual starter and about £9 for a sharer. Expect to pay £7 or £8 for a sandwich or wrap, and anything from £8 to £17 for a main course. All this for the type of food that you can bet is mass produced and just shoved in the oven or microwave.
If you are canny there are times when you can get a reasonably priced meal at Garfunkels. The lunch deal is two courses for £8.75) whilst you can get two breakfasts for £10. . They do a pizza and pasta special in the evening which is about £6. The evening we were there the options were pepperoni pizza or arabbiata pasta which neither of us fancied. The kids menu for two courses and a drink is a steal at £5.79 and has a reasonable choice that does includes salad and pastas alongside the more traditional kids' menu fare. I did once dine with a friend who had children and to be fair the staff were very attentive and good with the children. Its a shame our staff were not so good on my last visits.
The menu is meat heavy with grills and burgers but there is some choice for vegetarians including a roast vegetable wrap, omelettes, roast vegetable cous cous and a goats cheese burger. In the past I have gone for the roasted vegetable wrap that comes with chips. Its not a bad size and it tastes alight but nothing more than that but at £7.99 is one of the cheaper options on the menu. I feel that £10 for vegetable cous cous is pretty dire and I did not expect it to be much cop at all so . I did not even consider it. I was looking at the Spanish omelette but have a friend whose husband is Spanish and I can imagine the Garfunkels version would be inferior. I discounted the macaroni cheese at about £8.99 for the same reason as my mum's is the best in the world and even mine is not bad. In the end I decided to go for the nachos bowl "Supreme". This was under the sharing appetisers so I imagined this might be enough for a main course especially at £8.49. I was expecting a nice big platter of nachos not dissimilar to the large nachos at Wethrspoons. My friend ordered a cheese omelette and chips with a side of bread. We decided just to have water to drink, as it was about £2.50 fopr a fruit juice or J2O and around about £5 for a glass of wine. When ordering our food the waitress did check that I wanted nachos as a main and maybe I should have been warned and chose something different.
We had a good wait of about 20 minutes or so before our meals came. My friend's came on a decent sized platter whilst I was bemused by mine. I had a shallow soup bowl of nachos with perhaps a handful of tortilla chips drizzled with runny artificial looking cheese sauce and soured cream and spring onions and scattered all over. You would have about four mouthful each if you were sharing this dish. My main bugbear was it was an absolute rip off for £8.49 Subway do a similar thing for about £2. I know Garfunkels have high rents and they are in a prime location but i just felt the size and quality of the portion for the price was just not acceptable. I would have expected a lot more chips and loads of melted cheese for my money. I was not a happy bunny.
My first step was to ask the waitress to bring her supevisor over. Bad move this as the first one we encountered. When I complained that this was not worth near enough a tenner she replied its not £10 its £8.49"!. I complained I felt it was still a rip off. She called the manager and he offered to replace it with a different one. I was wondering if the second one would be that much bigger so decided to vote with my feet and go elsewhere where I would get value for money. I am not usually so stroppy and have never walked out of a restaurant before but I really did strongly about it. As we left there was quite a queue to get in so Garfunkels won't miss our custom much, as there are too man gullible tourists in London who will eat pay to eat at Garfunkels.
Summary: Trying to cater for everyone but not very well