On Monday 15th April 2013 I entered The Arlington Hotel at 1.50pm, both my guest and I were stopping for lunch before moving on to a meeting. The waitress provided my guest and I with a Main Menu and also a Specials Menu.
The Specials Menu offered Chicken with Chunky Chips and side-salad at a cost of €8.95, and this suited both my budget and dietary needs.
I ordered for my guest and I, my guest would have the ‘traditional’ fish and chips as it was advertised (the fish and chips were in fact frozen 'chips' made from Modified Potato Starch, Rice Flour, Potato Dextrin, Salt, Leavening (Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Sunflower Oil, Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate added to preserve natural colour, Natural† and Artificial Flavours, Xanthan Gum, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Smoke Flavour. †Natural flavours from plant sources and a fish paste in a lard filled ‘batter’, all of which had not been prepared within an hour of its delivery to our table).
I also ordered two pint glasses of diluted orange juice as both my guest and I were driving. The two glasses of diluted orange were in fact warm tap-water that looked cloudy, due to the darkness of Legends Bar it was difficult to see if the glass contained anything more than water, upon closer inspection at the window it was clear that both glasses of ‘water’ had a good many foreign bodies floating in them.
Following a period of 30 minutes I was presented with a plate that contained chicken pieces, 4 scoops of mash, and some vegetables, all covered in a white wine sauce that looked more like rice pudding that was gone off. The entire contents of the plate appeared to have been left under a heating unit for at least an hour; everything was stuck to the plate.
I called the waitress over and asked her if the substance on the top of the dish was in fact the white wine sauce which I had already clearly stated that I could not eat due to a medical condition. The young woman explained that it was the white wine sauce but that it had already been on the dish before I ordered and could not be removed by the chef.
I then asked the waitress if the dish presented was the dish advertised on the Menu, she accepted that there was no relationship between what had been presented and what I had ordered. The young woman appeared to suggest that diners normally get whatever is available in the kitchen.
I asked the waitress how it was possible for the white-wine sauce to be on the dish before I had even ordered, and she said, “sometimes a few dishes are prepared and left under the hot plate for the lunch time rush”, I asked her if in fact the dish had been early returned by another diner and had simply been put under the hot plate rather than being put in the bin, she did not dispute that this was possible.
I explained to the waitress that it was an outrage that I had been provided with a meal containing alcohol when I had clearly stated that I had a medical condition that barred me from consuming any alcohol, I further complained that it was outrageous that meals had been pre-made and put under a hot plate, if in fact it was not a meal that had been returned by another diner. While the waitress apologised, the apology lacked the weight it deserved, particularly in relation to my medical condition.
It appeared to both my guest and I that this was not an unusual situation and that diners appear to be getting served with food that may have been sitting around for some time, if not already returned to the kitchen by other diners. This was a poor experience, and perhaps reflects how some food vendors are treating a normally transient tourist population. I could not recommend the Arlington Hotel or the Legends Bar in the Arlington to anyone who wants value for money and a very simple basic service with some quality standards.