Well that was a disappointment! I was really looking forward to experiencing The Cheerful Soul and as an avid watcher of 'The Restaurant' I was expecting great things from Michelle and Russell as I'd thought them worthy winners (unlike this years cocktail jocks!).
We'd booked a table on a Tuesday evening and had no problems getting a reservation. As it happens we were one of five other tables that night so you would assume that the service would be excellent ... hmm, how wrong we were!
We were quickly seated and as we were led into the dining room we passed Russell who was busily working on his laptop at one of the front tables (and this is where he stayed ALL night so our meal was not cooked by him at all - boo!). To begin with the waitresses were very attentive, even to the fact that we had two of them coming over independently to take our drinks order. But then it went downhill. Once our drinks arrived we waited about 20 mins for someone to finally take our food order (yes, we had turned the waitresses away in the beginning as we weren't quite ready but then she didn't appear again!).
The menu was simple and my friend and I both opted for the Red Onion and Goats Cheese tart. No complaints here, it could have been a little warmer but it was delicious non-the-less and clean plates were cleared away from both of us. L ordered the Spinach Fritters with beetroot salsa for her main, topped up with a side order of chips and I opted for the Beef 'skirt' (which I still have no idea what it is as the waitress focussed more on telling me about the healthy aspect rather than what cut it was).
The fritters were 'okay' but nothing special and although she cleared her plate again I think it was more to do with the long wait we had in between courses!
My beef was rather lovely but I was surprised that there was no offer of sauce with any of the steaks on the menu, there was a choice of either mustard or mayo and I felt it needed something otherwise I was just having steak, salad and chips (and if you ordered the fillet, which came with mushroom and tomatos this would set you back £28!)
The chips were just like the ones that my Dad makes, so on that score I enjoyed them BUT I was expecting a more 'restaurant' chip (if you know what I mean!).
We then waited about 40 mins for someone to clear our plates. We then waited about 15 mins for someone to offer us the dessert menu - actually in the end we had to ask. Then we waited again for our order to be taken. It was now 10.10pm (We sat down at 8pm) and we were just about to have our pud (warm treacle tart with custard, which was lumpy and chocolate fondant which was very dry so L just scooped out the insides!).
Our coffee never arrived and although we'd paid the bill to help speed things along we actually had to have the cash back for the coffee as we both needed to get home to relieve babysitters (read: other halves!).
So in summary: It wasn't overly Cheerful. Michelle wasn't working so whether this had an impact on how front of house were managed we'll never know. Russell wasn't in the kitchen, so although we 'experienced' his menu we didn't experience his cooking. The menu was bland and uninspiring. The service was terribly poor especially considering the restaurant was half empty.
Would we recommend it: Maybe for a pub lunch with the children at the weekend or a quick evening supper. It felt more like popping down to your half-empty local for a some average pub grub. Prices were higher than you'd expect to pay for this though so I'll not be back in a hurry!
Shame as I was expecting so much :-(
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