The sight of a new restaurant popping up always brings a certain amount of excitement to our house. Finsbury Park is already a culinary melting pot with cuisine from various parts of the globe; Caribbean, Indian, Turkish, Chinese, Columbian, Thai, good ol' fish and chips and even an Ethiopian which we're yet to try. As yesterday was pay day, I thought I'd treat us to a takeaway from the new Greek place down the road. We spent ages poring over the menu, in stitches over the ridiculous typos and descriptions. Some of the menu gaffes were as follows:
Green Olives Special crack, tsakkistes
Lamb Kleftiko Slow cooked beef in the oven
Dolmades Vine leaves staffed with mince pork
Tavas Traditional Cyprus dish consisted of meat cubes, chopped potatoes, onionomatoes, and onions
We thought we'd phone ahead and order but after finding the number constantly engaged for more than fifteen minutes (I joked that one of the chefs would be on the phone to one of their relatives in Greece), I decided to walk down there myself. The first thing I noticed as I walked into the restaurant was that it was empty, bar one table which I realised was occupied by the staff. When I mentioned the phone being engaged, guilty looks were exchanged - turns out I was right after all. I ordered Lamb Kleftiko with roast potatoes for Mike and Lamb Souvla for me which they didn't have, so I had to settle for Lamb Cutlets instead. They told me it would take half an hour which made me wonder who long it would take if the restaurant was busy.
I went back half an hour later to find the restarant still empty of customers, while all five staff attended to our food. I got home and left Mike to open the boxes of food while I washed my hands. I heard a loud gasp coming from the kitchen so I shouted "what's it like?" Silence. I shouted the same question again to which Mike replied "Oh my God". I hurried to the kitchen where two polystyrene boxes lay open containing something which was supposed to be food. Mine was three scraggy bits of lamb with a few soggy chips and Mike's was two scraggy bits of lamb with four boiled potatoes. I'd paid £14.50 for this!? I immediately put my coat back on and trudged back to the restaurant a third time while Mike went to get pizza. I refused to let him come with me, my track record of receiving refunds about 100% so I was feeling confident.
What happened next was a bit of a blur. To put it mildly, my request for a refund did not go down well. When I told them that the potatoes were not roasted but boiled, it went down even less well. Arguments ensued, insults exchanged. "Are you a chef?" one of them asked me. "Are you Greek?". I certainly am neither, but could give their overpriced tat a run for it's money. At one point, the 'chef' threatened to call the police and screamed "I been a chef for twelve years" as she hysterically punched random numbers into the phone. I phoned Mike to tell him what was going on and when I'd finished speaking to him one of them asked me "Who sent you?". I didn't know what to say to this ridiculous question. I told them I wasn't surprised that their restaurant was empty on a Friday night and that this was no way to treat a customer. I left with a bruised ego and an empty wallet. Mike spotted the steam coming out of my ears down the end of road before he saw me. I threatened to take the 'roast potato' to Trading Standards.
Romios Magirion - 21 Crouch Hill, London N4 4AP