Because I seem to be a glutton for punishment who never seems to learn my lessons from previous crooked Groupon deals, I recently purchased yet another one: a 9-course-tasting menu for two at the Lebanese restaurant, Al Basha at Knightsbridge.
The meal was a bit of a mixed bag. It started with a chickpea soup that didn't look very inspiring, and was a bit too cool in temperature to serve its purpose: -
Salvation came in the form of the mains, pictured in the first photo, as well as the meat, photographed below:
I really loved the humus dip; one of my favourite parts about middle Eastern dining, and the fact that there was an ample bowlful of it was very much appreciated. The spicy potatoes were also consumed rapidly. Both the meats - the beef, and the chicken, complemented the range of dips and vegetables extremely well.
Items I liked less included the macaroni & cheese, which, in addition to not sounding remotely middle Eastern, was also too cold (this seems to be a common complaint for food at this place, would it kill them to use the heater on higher power?!). I've had my share of falafels over the years and those served in Al Basha tasted rather unexceptional, too.
The service was also quite bizarre. Rather than leave a jugful of tap water on our table, as most restaurants do, in Al Basha, a woman walked around with a jug. This was inconvenient for both her and me as I consume a lot of water, so I had to keep calling her. When I asked her if we could just have a jug for the table, she pretended she couldn't understand the question. Hmm.
Finally, with the Groupon deal, you got a glass of wine. We both had white wine. Bad decision; it tasted absolutely awful. And I'm hardly a wine connoisseur; I'll gladly drink Tesco's own brand. But if the wine tastes significantly worse than Tesco's own brand, then a restaurant ought to be worried.
It's in the restaurant's interest to serve better-quality alcohol to their punters, because, who knows, if I was more inebriated on better-tasting drink, I might not be so critical of this haphazardly-run venue.
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