Thursday, March 16, 2017

Restaurant review: SALVADOR AND AMANDA (Bloomsbury)

I’m slowly starting to get the hang of buying tapas from Groupon. Whereas when you buy cocktail deals, the fact that it’s a deal doesn’t restrict you to having just a subsection of the drinks menu comprising of the cheapest, most basic drinks, but instead, let you order any drink you wish (as testified to by my pleasant experiences drinking at The Escapologist and Adventure Bar). 

However, when you buy tapas deals from Groupon, such as The Cuban in Camden (one of the worst run places I’ve had the misfortune of having visited), which purported to have a RRP of the price of nine full dishes, actually only provided the diner to the most minute, insufficient quantities. Salvador and Amanda is another agonising case where a restaurant has two separate menus for their regular customers, and the plebs who dared to show up with a deal.

Needless to say, the sh_tty sidebitch menu reeked of afterthought; almost as much of an afterthought as Emma Stone's BAFTA speech when she tried to play Katniss political and failed. The voucher holder was entitled to six options from a very limited tapas menu. This is what we went for:

The sixth item was a chocolate fondant, not pictured.

The food was utterly phoned in and inauthentic. Shortcuts were taken on all five of the items of food pictured. The chorizo dish barely contained any meat, instead having tomatoes filling most of the dish to try and trick the taster into believing that there was more chorizo than there actually was. Nuh-uh. I wasn’t born yesterday Felicia.

The squid, croquettes (filled with ham) and tuna empanadillas were clumsily prepared, making me suspicious that these were just buy-from-Iceland-and-stick-in-the microwave jobs. The squid was in severe need of marinating; it was drier than a date with a guy in London who works in finance.

The potatoes in tomato sauce, whilst also quite rudimentary in preparation and seasoning, benefited from the fact that it provided the core carbohydrate content of our meal, thus, we were so starved of proper nutrition that we gobbled them up greedily, a speed which the actual (lack of) quality of the meal did not merit.

The chocolate fondant was the finest thing about the tapas experience, so at least we ended the meal on a high. But lamentably, it was a case of too little, too late. The Groupon deal cost £24. We got a miserly half-pitcher of sangria with the meal, which I’m gonna to place at £6 monetary value, far more than it deserves.

So, taking that off the £24 gives £18, an average of £3 per dish. I would not pay £3 just for any of the items photographed, absolute rip-off. I’ve had it with swindling restaurants lying on their Groupon deals and serving up microwaved rubbish!

To add insult to injury, we were seated on a very small table for two people. As there were several empty tables scattered around the restaurant, I have no idea why they weren’t more hospitable and seat us on a table for four, as it’s not like anyone else was sitting there.

Having now sampled several London bars and restaurants, I’m starting to get the hang of the good value/bad value Groupon deal dichotomy. I cannot describe how galling it was to watch the waitress, who had served us lowly Groupon peasants with the most blasé attitude ever, turn on the charm for regular non-voucher customers, especially when she gave them a fancy laminated menu, compared to the bastard A5 piece of paper she’d flung at us. Calm down Felicia. You ain't Isabelle Huppert in Elle. Haughty isn't such a good look on you.

As I said, I’m getting the hang of buying tapas from Groupon. The key? Don’t.

Grade: E


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