We were having a committee ‘thank-you and get to know you better’ meet up. As we are Windsor Speakers – part of The Toastmasters group of clubs (Worldwide, American originally, aiming to improve Public Speaking confidence and leadership skills), we met just over the bridge , on the Thames, the Eton (or Slough Comprehensive) side.
There’s more to Eton than the school. Parking is a nightmare – because the school roads take up about 50% of the available spaces. I bet they don’t own them, just make out they do…very annoying.
It got worse. Jeannie, our chairman, runs an Event business. She is good at organising stuff. Cote weren’t. We were 8 people. They put half of us on one table, miles away from the other 4. And we didn’t find each other for 25 minutes. So a half 7 start, became a 9:30 main course.
Jean has much experience of sorting stuff like this. And she assertively (Geordie, little, sharp and feisty – and hates lack of professionalism) told the maître D just as it was. When stuff goes wrong – in any organisation – the mark of the business is how they fix it. Complaints are golden nuggets to improve from. And they did sort it well. Free starters, some bubbles, free bottle of wine and other nibbles meant the final bill – all dry, no wet – was remarkably small. Well done to the team here. Well led, well rescued. And he put his best waiters – most experienced – onto our table.
Do you know, after that the food was actually excellent. We have one colleague who is French and Italian extraction. She ordered steak tartare as a starter. Dean joined her. Brave. He managed – but it looked hard! Ironically, his lamb was served very rare (after asking for medium – but sorted quickly too) – so we assumed he had become a little hyper carnivore almost in the Vampire sense. Once re-done – his lamb was really tasty and succulent – looked good.
Simple stuff was great – one had fillet steak, another home made fish pie. Cassoulet created plate envy from me. But I had Moules Frite – just one of my favourite meals (OK – I was still garlicky on Sunday from the Friday night – but hey…). And they brought a hunk of bread to dip into the stunning creamy liquor after I had scoffed the mussels. And the skinny chips – easy to do wrong – but these were immensely hot, steamy and crisp – and not overdone (as seems to happen a lot). Loved it!
All too full to eat pud. But we did. A big fight over ice creams. The chocolate puds looked to hit the spot (Tony was very quiet indeed – and didn’t offer it around for tasting…).
It is a restaurant chain – yes – but feels franchised? The staff resurrected what could have been a bad start going down hill very well. And we had a rare old time (Somewhat too rare for Dean, at first!) It is in a great position, right on the river – and has many fun, higgidly-piggidly, interconnecting rooms. I will go again – but park in Windsor and walk over the bridge next time. Worth a visit…