“ Address: 87 Ballards Lane / London / N3 1XT / England „
A couple of weeks ago I took a friend out for dinner to celebrate her new job. I have recently moved to a new area and thought it would be good to try somewhere in the area. We both love Thai food so Pad Thai Restaurant on Ballards Lane seemed like the perfect choice.
When we entered the restaurant we were greeted by the waitress who showed us to our seats. She wasn't overly friendly but she wasn't rude either. My first impressions of the restaurant weren't particularly good. It seemed very dark. I think sometimes having low lights can be intimate but because this restaurant had such dark furniture it just felt a little bit dreary and depressing. We sat down at our table and found that the chairs were very uncomfortable. It felt a lot like sitting on the floor because the seat was so hard. My friend and I discussed leaving without ordering anything but we felt guilty being seated and then leaving right away when we were the only people in there.
We ordered our drinks and they arrived very quickly (we were the only customers so I would have been surprised if they hadn't!). I am almost OCD when it comes to restaurant cleanliness but this restaurant passed my tests. The cutlery was clean, the glasses were clean and so was the table.
We then ordered our food; a shared starter and two noodle dishes. I don't remember the exact dishes but mine was a vegetarian meal and my friends contained chicken. We were very impressed by the prices. My main meal cost around £6 and hers only cost a pound or so more. I'm afraid I can't remember the exact prices of the food but it did seem very cheap, especially compared to other Thai restaurants close by.
The restaurant was beginning to fill up when our main courses arrived and we were pleased that we had missed the rush. The food arrived so quickly!
Our starter was okay. It certainly wasn't up to the standard of other restaurants that we had eaten in, it was greasy and the portions were very small but it was still edible and considering how little we were paying for the meal it seemed reasonable that the portion sizes would be small.
When our main course arrived it smelled and looked delicious. Then I started eating it only to discover that the noodles appeared to be uncooked. If you've ever eaten uncooked pasta you'll know what I mean! Half of the noodle was soft and the other half hard.
When the waitress walked past our table I explained to her what was wrong with the meal and asked if I could have it replaced. She didn't say a word. Not an apology, not an explanation. She just picked up the plate and walked away with it. I had no idea if she was going bring me out another dinner or not.
When she returned to the dining area she didn't even stop by our table to explain what was happening.
Ten minutes later she returned with another plate of food. Unfortunately it wasn't what I had ordered. It wasn't even vegetarian. It was the same meal as my friend had ordered so I assume she got confused with the order. I sent it back and once again she didn't apologise or offer any explanation for what she was going to do, she just took the plate away.
When my third (and thankfully final) meal arrived my friend had already finished her meal. The third meal tasted fine, not the best Thai meal I've ever had but it was edible and the portion size was good. Unfortunately by this point our meal was already ruined by the fact that we didn't get to eat together.
When the bill arrived I was surprised that we hadn't recieved any apology and they had charged me for the meal that I had had to send back twice. I considered just paying for it and probably would have if the waitress had apologised even once but due to the extremely poor service I recieved I didn't want to pay for such an unsatisfactory meal.
Not wanting to make a scene I took the waitress to one side and explained to her that I didn't think she should charge me for my meal because I had to send it back twice.
She replied that I had eaten it so therefore I should pay for it. I disagreed with her and told her that I did not want to pay for a meal that had been unsatisfactory twice. She didn't even reply to me. She just turned away from me and went to one of the tables where she continued to take orders and serve other people.
I stayed exactly where I was standing between the restaurant and the kitchen and when she came back she walked right past me without saying a word. When she returned there was another woman with her. I assume she was either the chef or the manager but as she didn't introduce herself I can't be sure.
The woman asked me why I didn't want to pay and I explained to her that I had sent my food back twice. I told her that I was new to the area and that the service I had received that day meant that I would not return to her restaurant and she had lost a potential regular customer. Did I get an apology? Of course not. I felt completely intimidated by this woman who was very aggressive in the way that she spoke to me and I was ready just to back down and pay the bill (the meal that I didn't want to pay for was only £5, it wasn't going to make a big difference. I was doing it for the principle).
It was at this point that she told me that she didn't want customers like me so she wasn't going to charge me for my meal. Although I didn't have to pay for the meal in the end I didn't feel like my problems were resolved in a satisfactory way.
I would like to point out that I stayed calm and polite throughout our conversations and at no point was I rude. If I had been rude, if I had shouted at her or been in anyway agressive then I think her reaction would have been justified but to walk away from someone who is raising a legitimate concern about the service and not even apologising for such awful service seems completely unreasonable to me.
This is one of the worst restaurant experiences I've ever had. The fact that I had to send my food back twice was annoying but I'm a reasonable person and understand that mistakes do happen. If the waitress had apologised I would have given this restaurant another chance. The main issue for me wasn't the food, it was the service. I have never encountered a waitress as ignorant and rude as this one. I have never before felt intimidated by any member of staff in a restaurant but did feel intimidated by the woman who I assume was the manager or the chef.
If I could give this restaurant less than one star I could.