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Food and Beverage

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  • #56618

    Great update on Monday but I have to beg to disagree that the F&B has got better in last 12 months. It has in my view a long long way to go. Quality, providence, service, embracing healthy cooking and ingredients, food profiles for time of day example brunch is very poor compared to almost every eatery within a mile of the Club

    #56626

    I agree that F&B has not improved in the last 12 months.

    I have ventured to eat at the club three times recently, and every occasion was a complete nightmare. This is a pity as I used to enjoy spending a lot of time at the club, but now I would not bring friends to eat there.

    I realise that it has been an almost impossible 12 months for hospitality due to the government’s response to Covid, but there are some issues that go above and beyond this:

    1. Why does the cheapest salad bowl now cost £10-£12? Fish and chips is close to £20. A coffee or tea (lukewarm and weak) is £3. This is a club not a designer gastropub, and these kind of prices are unaffordable for day to day eating as a member. Why have the prices inflated so much and so suddenly?

    2. On the subject of tea – why is it a shock every afternoon when everyone comes in asking for tea? I was there on a Bank Holiday Monday and getting a cup of tea took over half an hour because the queue was going round the block. I know that some members are difficult and want frozen coffee with whipped cream and gluten free cacao nibs, but create a different queue for them. At other clubs where tea is a stalwart part of the day, there is usually trestle tables set up with trays laid with milk, cups/saucers, teaspoons and teapot with bags in. All you have to do is pick up how many trays you want, pass the teapot to be filled with boiling water, pay and move on.

    2. Why do we suddenly have so many differently branded eating spots? I have no idea where to order for the best, and get so fed up with all the different logos and names (e.g. ‘Seared’, ‘Tonic’, ‘Deli’, ‘The Restaurant’). I am 30 years old and appreciate the desire to update and rebrand, but it is just so confusing and at a certain point you have to appreciate it is a club, not a shopping centre. Young people like coming somewhere that is somewhat traditional – that is what sets it apart from the rest of the offerings in the capital.

    3. The point above has led to some unfortunate incidences with staff. We ordered lunch in the Harness Room (or ‘The Cafe’) recently and went to sit outside and wait. We then got the order twice over, once from the Bar and one from the Harness Room. I got told that I had ordered twice and it was my fault, when I hadn’t set foot in the bar area. The coffee then arrived (£6 for two) and was cold and only halfway up the cup. The whole lunch cost over £30, wasn’t very good and the team were unpleasant – what a waste of money.

    On another occasion we all arrived to have the BBQ, which was meant to be open until 9pm on the website. When we arrived at 8pm we were told it had closed and we could only have pizza. Fine. We duly ordered pizza and paid the bill, only to be told we hadn’t paid the bill and were asked to pay again.

    Everyone – F&B team and members – seems very very confused. There are certain allowances for Covid, but perhaps a more streamlined operation with fewer brands and a focus on service would help. Perhaps it will improve now that Vince is back.

    #56646

    While there is evidence of great efforts for improvements, I must agree with most of Miss Charlotte Baly’s comments.

    #56688
    979825
    Member

    Charlotte has described similar frustrations we also have experienced. Dining at Hurlingham no longer carries calm enjoyment, far too many people with far too many food options ludicrously labelled and priced. Let’s hope for a return to a more streamlined approach as suggested.

    #56717

    I have to agree that food continues to disappoint. We did have two reasonable dinners at the Alfresco replacement of the Restaurant during lockdown, although there were amateurish moments such as food arriving cold. It was made up for by enthusiastic and friendly service and the sheer delight of eating out.
    But the Club has closed this facility for the whole summer! Why on earth do this, when there would be nothing nicer than eating out on a summer evening?
    We should take inspiration from the InterAllié in Paris where wonderful gastronomic dinners are served in the gardens throughout the summer. In fact F&B would do well to take a trip there to see how good club food can be – if you set high standards and don’t descend to the lowest common denominator, which is what we do here. The result is always a version of school food!
    Leading on from that, I do fear that the West Wing and in particular the potentially wonderful Fitness Centre, will be lost, to be converted into ‘More Bad Food’ in the form of a family ‘Brasserie’.
    The Fitness Centre would be a fabulous asset if it were updated and properly run: keenly priced and better promoted. To try to wedge the Fitness Centre into the tiny North Wing would be tragic.
    Finally, the BBQ. Whilst very popular, because at the moment there is no choice, the food remains poor. Some of the ideas from the Focus Group which I championed, such as Borough Market type street food stalls, have been attempted, but the result is disappointing, for example last week: piri piri prawns served undercooked, exotic South African sausage basically a hot dog in a roll with tomato sauce.
    As others have said, the Club has an opportunity to set the bar high. But since catering was taken in-house food has been deeply disappointing- the lowest common denominator at work. It was far better when we had Searcys. Please accept defeat and bring them back.

    #56837

    F&B standards have slipped, prices have gone up while portions have shrunk. We don’t understand the confusing rebranding, which seems pointless, why change the BBQ to seared? Why brand the burgers with the hurlingham logo? As members we expect a certain standard of quality, especially for the price point. Several times I have had frozen burgers, soggy oily pizzas, cold frites and expensive salads. It’s a shame because we regularly have family lunches at the club and each time it is a huge (and very expensive) disappointment to the point where self catered picnics were a delight. We very much want to support the club by dining there however each week we regret spending £50+ for sub par quality F&B.

    #56840

    I am horrified at the price increases on the everyday items. It should be possible to have a simple salad for £5/6 and a cup of coffee for less than £3. Now that cover restrictions are coming off, please can we go back to reusable cups (previously known as china) and self selected salads. From an ethical standpoint as well as an economic one, the excessive packaging and non recycle materials are unacceptable. I used to have lunch in the harness room 4/5 times a week. I have been twice in the last 2 months. The friends with whom I lunched and dined simply refuse to pay more than normal restaurant prices, when there are so many good local restaurants nearby. It is not that the food, service or decor is exceptional. The old Harness Room was usually full, the new one is not.

    I have had only one al fresco dining experience, some £200+ on cold food in a freezing tent. Compared sadly with a superb meal under an efficient heater in Covent Garden for less than £100, including a rather better wine.

    Good value basics and exceptional dining experiences should not be impossible. Pre covid I have had wonderful fine dining, great event catering and good value simple meals. Now we have the British rail experience.

    Perhaps we could just have a self operated coffee machine and save on staffing costs as a first step?!

    #56870

    I am rather surprised that what seems a simple request, being for fried bread with breakfast is turned down, when most restaurants would agree to such a simple additional item to that on the menu.

    #56871

    Can the committee consider reopening the bar on club nights and weekends at the tennis pavillion? Having a drink when you’ve finished your game at that location is so convivial and often easier than joining the crowds in the bar areas and on the lawns.
    Thanks
    Charlotte Mendes da Costa

    #56892
    Katia Roele
    Member

    The BBQ has become such a disappointment. All of it is pre-cooked and as a result over cooked and cold by the time it is on your plate. I used to adore taking friends to the club for the BBQ and now it’s frankly an embarrassment. I recognise that long queues are an issue too but there must be another way rather than keeping cooked food on the side, ready to be handed out in (also disgusting and embarrassing) plastic boxes. Please can we go back to the old version. There was a time when the food at the BBQ was actually worth queuing for!

    #56895

    Thank you to everyone for their comments. I shared these responses with Andre Friedrich our Food and Beverage Executive who said: “We will continue to strive to improve the consistency and quality of our food and beverage facilities and to benchmark our prices in line with our competitors. We are reviewing F&B as part of the Horizon options and we are interested to hear from members what facilities they would like and where they might be located.”

    #56911

    Thanks Andre. Totally understand that prices must be benchmarked in line with our competitors, but quality must also be equally benchmarked with competitors. As members we should expect the basics done well- high quality produce that is prepared to a high standard by good chefs. Thanks!

    #56988

    Recent visits for coffee and bbq have not been particularly enjoyable. Coffee massively overpriced and average quality. BBQ more like a trip to a burger bar, and food not as tasty. Difficult times, not the Clubs fault, have obviously not helped but focus on getting the basics right should be an absolute must.

    #56989

    It seems most of the conversation over the past 20 years has been around improving the physical structures in the club.

    I would propose increasing the quality of the clubs services as there seems to have been a big deterioration.

    1. Food (is just terrible). I agree with Ms Charlotte Baly and other members on their experiences.

    Healthier tastier options. Perhaps take a page out of the playbook from Soho House. Wood fire pizza, better bbq standard, eggs with avocado etc.

    2. Subsidizing food and drink. Prices / quality just doesn’t add up. I would like to see an increase quality at cheaper prices rather than building up a huge reserve to constantly want to build new buildings.

    It has deteriorated to the point that I have been bringing food to the club rather than consume the clubs food recently.

    Sorry this part is not related to food but to services:

    3. Better services and quality. Warm towels. Comfortable padded deck chairs by the pool. More trained staff to provide such services.

    4. Cleanliness. The changing rooms are dirty and smelly. More cleaning staff, better hand soap and lotions etc.

    #56997

    a. Food
    I must agree with comments about the poor quality of the food on offer and the associated service.

    – Last night we dined in the Rose Court, having invited four guests. It was an evening to forget, embarrassing for us as hosts, for our guests, and giving an appalling image of the Club. It took 20 minutes to get our drink, 50 minutes for the first course, and one hour and 30 minutes for the main course. The occupancy was less than one quarter of the seats available. I shudder to think what would have happened if there had been more people dining. The attitude of the staff was mostly collaborative but they were clearly irritated and poorly led.

    – Last Sunday we had two guests for a barbecue lunch. While the queue was short, it took over 20 minutes to be given our food, and when we received it it was placed in cardboard boxes rather than on plates, and the food was very over cooked, dry, and cold. It was an embarrassment.

    – The Club is a very long way from understanding how to produce food efficiently, of good quality, and in an environment of relaxation and enjoyment.

    – We will not risk bringing more guests to the Club until this situation improves, and it may well be years given what the management has said about continuing to try to improve. It has been such a frequently stated aim and is never in fact achieved.

    b. Relating to the pool facilities

    – The changing rooms are dirty, particularly the floors, which are also most often wet.
    – The towels have largely lost their softness and “bounce”, and need to be replaced.

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