And the Journey begins…

Posted: September 12, 2011 in About Me

It was Sunday afternoon, the chicken was out de-frosting ready for a homemade Sunday lunch, but all wasn’t going to plan. It hadn’t defrosted! As far as I was concerned anyway we had decided we were going out for dinner not eating at home. The chicken, in my mind, was for Monday anyway. Again, I am not a mind reader either but apparently this was something I was meant to be aware of, the bird on the side WAS for Sunday and the plan was to have the roast with all the trimmings… obviously the suggestion of ‘shall we eat out James tomorrow’ (meaning Sunday) is code for ‘I’m going to get everything we need for a Sunday roast, there’s a chicken in the freezer that I’ll get out and defrost and hey presto lunch is served’. Least I’ll know for next time…


So at 5.30pm we headed into town. A number of suggestions were instantly crossed off the list, Monroes to start with. This was the first destination as it makes a ‘mean’ Sunday lunch but apparently arriving after 5.30pm means that the supplies have all gone and there will be nothing left to nibble…there was no point going.

I had to keep the suggestions coming, as apparently I am too laid back in making choices in where to eat and wait for the suggestions. So they started to come (but not until I had been told we weren’t heading towards the docks and there wasn’t anywhere in Liverpool One that was tickling a certain persons fancy!) The picking became that little bit harder.

The first suggestion of Pushka (up near the Phil somewhere) was somewhat met by a review of a past dining experience when the venue was some kind of Indian place. At this point I knew the choice of venue was going to be hard. Not to mention the walk there. It was decided that somewhere closer to ‘home’ would be more idyllic and so the suggestions had to keep coming.

Tapas Tapas. YES! Wow. It seems that after all it wasn’t that hard. The second suggestion was taken, processed and deemed as the place to head. So we did. We arrived and there wasn’t a single person in the venue. We left without food and the mission to find somewhere to eat began again!

It was then suggested, not by me, that maybe we should head to Wagamama’s in Liverpool One. It seems the ban on the place had been lifted and that this could be the venue we were to dine in. That is of course until I drop the bombshell that actually I didn’t really fancy going there! We began to walk the streets and within a few strides ended up close to Alma De Cuba. So the suggestion, from myself, came that maybe we should try there. Neither of us had dined here before and it is a nice setting. We decided that initially we would order drinks and assess the restaurant area to see the number of patrons before finalising the choice.

As usual the place was dimly lit and the bar being operated single-handedly by a guy that seemed to be taking everyone’s orders waiting and somehow producing them all at once in front of your eyes. It was decided we would stay and sample the ‘delights’ that were being offered. We made our way up the old church stairs and was greeted by a rather thin, attractive young lady in what can only be described as 12″ heeled black wedges. How she managed to stand was a mystery to me, but more on that later.

‘hiya love. Yeah we can fit you in. I’ve just taken a booking for 15 and seated them so we are looking at about a 15 minute wait ok? you ok? what you wanna do love, you willing to wait the tw of you while I deal with the 15?’

It didn’t go down too well. At this point she was speaking to someone who through their working life had dealt with customer relations and attention to detail. It seemed to bypass me though. I was too busy admiring the surroundings.

There we found ourselves back in the main bar. Then outside. No, we hadn’t left, we had made our way into the outdoor seating area as a maximum of 5 minutes had passed and Matt was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms from holding a line stick in his hands, but no sooner was it lit than the girl from upstairs had tottered down to say she could do us now. We didn’t move. He didn’t speak. We waited. And a little bit more. After about ten minutes it was decided that we could venture in and head to the table. At the same time another table had decided to do the same, so the young girl had two tables to seat at once and six people to deal with. She wasn’t prepared for what she saw as an onslaught of diners to seat and announced it to us with a very Liverpudlian laced ‘oh god girl, you’ve got six of ’em to deal wi’ now. Why do they all come like that at ya?’ as we once again climbed the old stone church steps.

The group of four were seated first. We stood by the door waiting for her to return and guide us to the table she had personally selected for us to sit at. I didn’t mind waiting, it wasn’t really that long to be honest, but it seemed someone else did. But yet again nothing was said. Just a smile upon his face so to me all was well.

We sat next to the balcony and got a full view of the restaurant, stuffed parrot in the cage and the down stairs bar. The menu hard to read by the lack of light, other than from the flickering church candle that was upon the table, but our meals were selected. We decided to go straight for main. Mine was chicken with tomato and basil sauce served with crushed potatoes and chorizo sausage. Matt went for the steak, cooked medium rare. Advised by the server that the steak doesn’t come with anything he ponded and decided to accompany it with a salad!

We opted not to have any wine. This seemed to be complicated by the fact I was having white meat and Matt was having red. I was fine with my vodka and he seemed to be fine with the lager. So all was well.

The dishes took about 15 minutes to arrive. The length of time that was indicated by the server. We passed the time by eating olives, sipping our drinks and just having a general chit chat. (although some of the things discussed should have not been in ear shot of the server number 2 when he came over to the table)

My chicken looked lovely, although to be honest there was a little bit too much oil on the plate for my liking, but the chicken was cooked to perfection and presented in an appetising way. The potatoes on the other hand didn’t look quite crushed, more battered about in the pan and slightly bruised, not to mention a mix of warm and cold ones. The chorizo was long, red and cooked just as it should be.

Matt’s steak filled the plate. Was garnished and looked very appetising. The test wasn’t over until he had cut into it and could see if it had been cooked the way that he wanted it. It had. Thank god!! The salad arrived a few minutes later than the rest and looked edible.

That was it. We didn’t see any of the servers again until it was time to clear the plates, which were whipped away swiftly before the line of servers arrived at varying degrees all asking the same question…. ‘do you want to see the desert menu, or have coffee?’ and each and every time we gave the same answer. No thanks, we are fine but if we could just have the bill please. This then took nearly twenty minutes to arrive. As it was said, it could be excused if the place had been busy. If there had only been two waiting staff on but there were six!

The bill arrived and sat with us for ten minutes before anyone returned again. The look on Matt’s face was one that suggested he wasn’t overly impressed by the service and he confirmed this by saying he felt that he needed to complain. That his steak hadn’t been good quality as it was fatty and chewy and not how he had expected it to be. How the greeter in the high heels had under valued our custom with her comment that came across as though a table of 15 is more important than a table of 2 and that at no point when selecting drinks was water offered or that when we said that we weren’t interested in having a starter the server hadn’t enquired whether we wanted any olives or a bread basket. In fact we had to go up and ask for the olives! i was dreading it. Hoping that he wouldn’t say anything and luckily he didn’t. He did, however, suggest that maybe we should just get up and leave without paying due to the length of time we were sat waiting but we stayed put.

So as for dinner out, I don’t think we will be venturing to Alma De Cuba again. Another restaurant tried and another on the don’t return list, for food. I am sure we will be seeing the place for cocktails and lazy afternoon drinks though!

Roast chicken tonight. At home.

  1. Ellie Plant says:

    Haha oh dear what a palava, i would have totally lost my appetite waiting and gone to maccy d’s instead. What a shame you couldn’t get tapas. Not liking the ‘stuffed parrot’ mention, i hope it was not a real stuffed one! ;O] And just for future reference, you eating poultry and Matt eating steak should not have posed a wine dilemma, clearly you should have ordered a bottle of red AND a bottle of white!

    • jdjakey says:

      I am afraid to say Ellie that the parrot did seem to resemble a real live one that obviously was dead but in a very illaberate cage!
      On the wine front you are completely right. Never crossed my mind at ordering two bottles although it would have bumped up the price of the meal as the cheapest bottle on the menu was £35!!

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