There seems to be a lot on the telly box right now about service, we’ve been enjoying Mary Portas’ undercover shenanigans but even more so Michel Roux’s Service on BBC 2. Tonight’s episode emphasised the ‘theatre’ of dining out and that good service combined with delicious food is the key to a great meal.
The Stovies team are opening up the floor to Mother Stovies for this review which seems apt as she’s definitely got to take some responsibility for our enjoyment of eating out….
We decided to try the The Kitchen Restaurant in Inverness out as it occupies a beautiful building facing the river. It’s also the sister restaurant of The Mustard Seed which we have visited often, never being disappointed.
We arrived to find the ground floor empty and were shown upstairs, passing the also deserted middle floor to a table quite literally at the door on the top floor. With the waitress station just in front of us the river was far from in view and we couldn’t help feeling the table had been pushed in as an extra.
Perhaps because the atmosphere felt little lacking we skipped starters and moved straight to mains. My partner tucked in to halibut with a cheese crust and crab mousse. The fish was well cooked and fresh but the crust more a cheese sauce but was enjoyable nonetheless. I chose venison with potato rosti. Two of the three medallions were deliciously medium rare, the third was inedible and unfortunately, the rosti on which they sat was a hard, tasteless, soggy lump. The attentive waitress noticed that my plate was far from clear and asked if there was a problem with my meal. I explained about the rosti and she in turn explained to the chef. A few moments later she reappeared and informed me that the chef said this was what rosti was.
For desert we shared a cheeseboard. It was fairly standard, but there was no explanation of the different cheeses. Tea and coffee were followed, served with a nice piece of homemade tablet .
The total bill for two mains, one cheeseboard, tea and coffee and a bottle of Pinot Grigio was a reasonable £58. While taking the payment the waitress was apologetic and seemed to feel exposed when responding to customers’ concerns. We feel that we know food, we cook a lot, we eat out frequently here and abroad. We search out restaurants with a good name. On this occasion, our first visit, The Kitchen let itself down, not simply in serving up a substandard dish – this happens – but more in the limp response to our mildly expressed comments. So disappointing after the Mustard Seed
The Kitchen, 15 Huntly Street, Inverness. Tel: 01463 259119