The Living Room, Newcastle: appalling service and food to match

3 November 2010

I recently went to The Living Room in Newcastle to celebrate a birthday. If you don’t have the time and patience to read through the remainder of this post, here’s the gist of my thoughts: I would never go back again.

The two points on which The Living Room failed are the two things that I think any restaurant needs to do with (seemingly) no effort: customer service and quality food.

The service at the Living Room

The restaurant was chosen because it had received good reviews for service. When we got there at the time the table was booked for, we told the waiter we’d arrived, but were going to show some friends around briefly whilst the remainder of the guests, who were running late, arrived. The restaurant was far from full, and they accepted this temporary arranagement happily. So far, so good.

When we got back, we asked to be seated, and were shown to the table by a waiter who, rather than saying ‘excuse me’, shoved his way past one of the members of our group: hardly charming, but perhaps forgivable. After we were shown to a table, someone, who I assumed to be the manager, asked us in an aggressive manner what we were doing sitting there, and shunted us off to another table. On serving the main course, the ‘manager’ reappeared and lacked any real courtesy in delivering the food to our table: I assume he’d written us off as being pointless to invest any effort in to for the remainder of the night after he’d cocked up so readily at the start of the meal.

The only real semblance of service we received was from one of the waiters stuck in the middle of this catastrophe of a restaurant and our group, who made an effort to rescue what was left of their service. If he’s reading this, I’d suggest you put your skills to use at a restaurant where you’d be more appreciated!

The food at The Living Room

My starter, roast potato soup, was pretty good – the redeeming feature of the evening, if any. My main course, a risotto, had a ‘skin’ over it and had obviously been reheated, as had many of the dishes that arrived, and a companion’s meal – a burger – was grotesquely over-cooked, rendering it both rock-solid and inedible. (After negotiation with the manager, it was agreed that the burger would be removed from the final bill.)

Birthday meal ruined? Not quite, thankfully. We managed to rescue the evening at Mr Lynch on the way home.

To reiterate one last time, I am never going back to The Living Room: there are simply plenty of other, similarly-priced, better restaurants in Newcastle.