Food review at the Waterwitch, Lancaster, UK
Hits 3258 | Created 2008-05-13 | Modified 2008-05-13The Waterwitch was recently closed for a month of refurbishment and re-opened with a fanfare of real ales and quality food, along with some roughly sanded outside tables. We thought we'd pop along and try the food on a hot, early-summer evening.
It didn't start well. The staff seemed to be struggling to keep up with what, to be honest, wasn't a very busy bar.
Round 1 - pint of lager top (fosters) and a white wine. It took a long time to get served. Finally the barman told me that there was no cold white wine left, only the half measure he had already poured, but he could put it in a bigger glass, give me more and top it up with ice for the same price. Okay, I say, sure. £5.50.
We sit outside and look at the menu. There's virtually nothing for a vegetarian, only one main... There is the build-your-own deli board though, where you can choose 3, 6 or 9 items for about £6, £9, £13. The items are mostly cheese, with some meat and fish. So, for us, it's all cheese. Oh no, wait, there's some 'vegetable pies' for £1.65 as extras.
Some friends decide to join us, so we go for the 9 item platter, which consists of 8 cheeses and a trout for a fish-eating friend. We also add on two pies, some hummus and sun-dried tomatoes as extras.
The wife goes to order and is an awful long time. We run out of drinks so I go to see what's going on. She's still at the bar with a stressed looking barman entering the platter into the till. Finally it's all in and she pays.
I order round 2 - pint of lager top (fosters) and a white wine spritzer (which is just white wine and soda). 'That's £6.45 he says.' I object. This spritzer is basically a smaller measure of wine than last time and soda water, how can it be more expensive? He doesn't look sure, mumbles, hands me my change and moves onto the next customer.
Some time later another friend comes back after having to wait even longer for his round - the barman forgot one pint which he left under a pump at the other end of the bar whilst he served other people. It was some time before his attention was called back to it.
Eventually the food comes. All the cheese are there, with one very small basket of bread - 8 slices in fact. So, that's one slice for each block of cheese then? For four people? The bread slices were about 2.5 inches in size. No sign of the pies, or extras.
We complain. The waitress says that extra bread is a couple of quid, or whatever, we object strongly. You can't expect people to simply eat the cheese on its own, we say. What's the big deal, in Europe bread with your meal is free, but here they're so stingy that they want to charge per mini-baguette?
The waitress goes away and brings us back 8 more tiny slices of bread, muttering and looking a bit angry. I ask her where the pies and hummus etc is, she goes to look.
Eventually the extras arrive, but only one pie cut in half. 'That's 2 vegetable pies,' I point out. She goes back to the kitchen, coming back after 5 minutes with another pie. 'Actually,' she tells us, 'it should be just half a pie for each order.' Half a pie? The menu doesn't say half a pie, mind you, the menu says that it's a vegetable pie when quite clearly what we have is a (small) cheese pie.
And the trout isn't trout. It's mackerel.
The manager happens to pass by and someone takes up the drinks issue, asking how come less-wine and soda is more expensive than wine alone. The manager says she'll 'look through the transaction logs' and see, rushing off, never to be seen again.
We finish the cheese - eating it on its own at the end due to lack of bread, and decide to head off, but not before someone goes in and has another crack at the drinks issue. She stands at the bar for quite a while, finally asks for the manager, who seems not to want to want to talk to her, and busies herself with other things. Our friend waits for a few minutes, and then we simply leave...
Never to return...