The Holy Grail

After my not-so-enjoyable evening out at ‘Fifteen’ (on account of a stomach bug that day) I looked forward to my second chance at dining at one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants.  “Jamie’s Italian” is a chain of restaurants that are spread across the globe, even reaching the shores of Australia. We had a family visit to Cambridge and booked (some time ago) into the local Jamie’s Italian for dinner.

Off we set into Cambridge.  There was a bit of a storm but nothing unfamiliar to us Queenslanders.  Certainly there is nothing unusual about a little bit of a downpour with some hail thrown in.  We made it to the local Shopping Mall to park and the adventure began. Panic ensued by the locals as water poured through the leaky roof of the mall. The streets flooded as people dashed from here to there in an attempt to not get completely drenched. Shops began to shut as the Mall’s management ordered stores to close their doors.  No matter, we weren’t here to shop, the rain was easing so with plenty of time before our booking we wandered into the street and around the corner to the restaurant.

WHAT??????

Are you kidding me? ‘Unforseen Circumstances’? Apart from the spelling error, don’t these people know I traveled 10 000 miles to dine here tonight???? Nooooooooo!

With the water on the wet paths starting to seep through my boot’s sole, my excitement quickly faded as I stood there on the pavement facing the closed doors. Dreams shattered, we were now faced with the dilemma of finding somewhere to eat …and I was getting hungry. Our fabulous cousin rang a good mate for advice, sadly other recommendations in the area had also succumbed to ‘flooding’ and closed their doors.  After a bit of a hike however, one a few blocks away was still up and running.  Like ‘The Holy Grail’ it was indeed a beacon of golden light ….or at least somewhere with a spare table and operational kitchen.

“Browns” has a chain of restaurants across the UK. Within moments I was impressed with our enthusiastic waiter offering the menu and taking our drinks order. A friendly smile and enthusiastic attitude he was a breath of fresh air.

The Hospitality Industry is a demanding one.  The hours are bad, the shifts can be tough, customers can be difficult and the pay is usually poor. In a desperate attempt to have anyone serve food staff are often transient using their job to get them through a phase before moving onto greener pastures.  Finding someone who has a passion for food service and is good at it is a rarity. Did I just strike gold?

The menu some fabulous meals to offer, I had trouble deciding. In the end I chose some most delish dishes.

ENTREE

Feuillete of Mushrooms ~ cep dusted puff pastry, chestnut, oyster and shiitake mushrooms in a rich cream sauce with caramelised silverskin onions.

MAIN

21 Day Aged West Country Rib Eye Steak ~ served with anchovy butter, grilled flat mushrooms, watercress, tomato confit and chunky chips ….with an exotic mushroom sauce.

DESSERT

I couldn’t fit anymore in!!!

No doubt had we chosen three courses we wouldn’t have been disappointed. I forgot to mention my drink …..I unfortunately can’t remember what it was called, but when there is chocolate, strawberry and vodka involved it’s got to be good.

Mmmmmmm.

Sometimes The Universe has a bigger plan.  I could not fault the food and especially the service we received at Brown’s.  It is uncommon for me to be so impressed I go out of my way to congratulate a staff member.  Just prior to walking out I called our waiter back to give him my thanks and ask his name. Oddly, only when I did, was I presented with a survey card. As an incentive for staff to work well the management offers ‘any 2 weeks off’ over Christmas. He kindly asked if I was genuine in my comments to complete the online survey and talk about my experience. Wow ..this guy needs brownie points yet he was about to let happy customers walk out the door without even knowing about the competition. I was all too happy to put in my feedback …and pass it on to all of you too.  If you are ever in Cambridge, don’t bother with Jamie Oliver ….head to Browns!

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3 Responses to The Holy Grail

  1. Angie says:

    What a nice surprise. And that food looks delicious

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