A couple of hidden charges, and a very hurried meal, we felt like they just wanted us to eat fast and get out, terrible experience!
I've been to Soho branch twice now, both times bad experiences, go to Bayswater branch instead which is much better.
The problems were...
• Visit began with difficulty getting in due to covid restrictions which was poorly explained by the female staff member. After explaining we are in the same support bubble and showing our NHS tracking ID and registering on their website, we finally got in.
• After we sat down, not even 2min had passed and she wanted to take our order. We hadn't looked at the menu yet (the table mat had a QR code and we were trying to download a QR scanner as our camera wouldn't automatically load the menu and going directly to the website had a different menu and without prices). When we asked for a disposable paper menu (as per table mat advice), she refused and said she'd come back later.
• Literally 3min later she came back and asked again. The restaurant was not busy, so no need to turn tables so fast or hurry customers. So we ordered drinks to get more time.
• By time drinks arrived, we had been able to see menu for about a minute. She asked again, but since we've been to Banana Tree Bayswater many times, we just ordered our usual hoping it would be available. Felt very hurried.
• Starters came quickly, and we had literally only eaten half, my partner still holding her knife and fork in her hand, when waitress came and asked if we had finished (if customer is still eating, answer is no, duh!). We said no. She asked if we would like our main courses now. We asked if we could finish our starters first. We were not slow eaters.
• We finished starters and main courses came, and same thing happened, before we finished eating, she started clearing the table (taking away cutlery, napkins, etc). Felt very hurried. Ironically, when we received main courses, I had to ask twice for an extra plate so my partner could try some of my dish, eventually having to raise my hand to get staff attention before a lovely Indian male waiter brought an extra plate and spoon.
• As we were finishing, our table was cleared of everything quickly, and our waitress did not even ask if we had finished. We wanted dessert and tea/coffee, but again were not offered. Throughout our visit, no smiles, no how is your meal, no pleasantries at all. We took that as a que to pay the bill and leave. The restaurant was not even busy hand had 3 servers for ~10 customers.
• When the bill came, we noticed they had added on a hidden charge (towards a charity I think) which we were neither uniformed about nor saw advertised nor opted in for, AND had added an OPTIONAL service charge (in Bayswater they always ask you if you would like to include servive/tip if paying by card) and when I asked the server about the charges the reply was was "is there a problem?" in a fairly rude manner. To us, this implied the restaurant was not looking for customer satisfaction, but people to pay and leave. To avoid any quibble or argument, we paid, but we're very unhappy about our experience. We love leaving tips for good service, but not for bad service.
The food was good (though chicken satay skewers were very chewy), but better in Bayswater branch for sure.More