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News and Comment December 2023

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11 December - The Morgan, Belvedere. A place to avoid

MorganYesterday I joined 17 friends for Christmas lunch; we went to The Morgan in Belvedere. We know it is not terribly good but those of us who have no car find it convenient.

I was booked in for a carvery as I judged that the set Christmas Dinner might be incompatible with my need to avoid gluten. As it happened the three people sitting nearest to me had all done the same.

There was no option to pre-order a starter or dessert and I assumed I could simply choose once there. This proved to be incorrect but when the manager failed to find a home for a prawn cocktail I said I would take it.

Prawn CocktailIt was without doubt the worst prawn cocktail I have ever experienced. It was served in a small enamelled dog’s food bowl and contrary to the menu, there was no lettuce or cucumber. (The guest sitting opposite me took the glutinous bread.)

Until I looked at the menu later I was unaware of the omissions, it was the total lack of any taste which was most apparent and the tough and chewy prawns.

They really were horrible and when I was done with them I asked a lady further down the table what hers were like. She too had found them close to inedible and to my alarm wondered if they had not been cooked.

The manager ushered at least six of us to the carvery counter where he told the server that mine was to be a small one. The first I had heard of that but it proved to be a blessing. I expected to be asked for my choice of meat but it was two small slices of turkey or nothing. I was a little surprised but it didn’t bother me at the time. Nor did just the one lonely blanketed pig.

I topped up with vegetables, greyish Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots and anaemic looking roast potatoes. There were no parsnips although a lady who was served before me said she found one left in its bowl.

Brussels sprouts are a favourite with me and it would be a rare week when I don’t cook them at home. Mine remain green and are easily bitten in half. The Morgan’s were not only grey with a hint of green but had the consistency of string so that they could not be bitten through. I have no idea how they managed to do that. Overdone outside and close to raw inside.

However it must be a house specialty, one of the roast potatoes was raw too. Hard with a taste reminiscent of the faint aroma of a freshly cut potato.

I wouldn’t have said anything about any of it except that when the same manager came to take the money I was asked for £!9 and not the £10·75 plus £5·95 indicated by the menu. I didn’t get an answer beyond two courses being £19 and three courses £22 so I decided it was reasonable to complain about the quality of the Brussels and the Prawn Cocktail. To say he couldn’t have cared less would be a gross understatement, not the slightest indication of regret and this rather unkempt individual immediately turned to the event organiser who was checking through his bill too.

I suppose such a poor manager thinks he can get away with ignoring eighty year old customers - all of us were well past 70. Maybe this permanent reminder of the standard of his catering and management skills will teach him that not all of us are helpless geriatrics.


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