On a lovely Easter Monday, my partner and I decided to head out and raise a glass in one of my all times favourite places – the Orange Tree pub, set in Totteridge. It is a great area, which I adore. There is just something about Totteridge with a nice blend of modernity and that old English spirit that just takes my breath away. It is a beautiful part of London with some of the most picturesque sights in the entire capital.
As for the pub itself, I can say that I have been there several times in the past and I always found the place in an amazing state. The food, the interior, the amazing service – everything was just flawless. I figured I hadn’t been to the pub in at least 6 months so I suggested that we go and visit again.
I think maybe the previous experience I have with the place clouded my reasonable thinking, as looking back I think it was probably a mistake to visit on bank holiday. I didn’t account for all of the traffic and the many visitors there would be. The trouble started when we first reached the place with our car – there was no free parking nearby so we had to drive around. If that wasn’t enough, when we finally stepped through the front door of the pub, we noticed there is no free table. I know I should have listened to my partner’s suggestion to just leave and look for a more available place, but I insisted on staying.
When we got a table, we had to wait a good 15 minutes to have our order taken. If that is not bad enough, imagine our surprise when we first got the desserts. One slight disappointment followed another – throughout the evening, nobody came to clear away the dishes so we constantly had to give them to a passing waiter, as there was no free space on the table.
Now, I understand the pub’s friendly policy on dogs – they allow pets inside. However, did they really have to do it on such a busy day? Imagine a place so full of people and dogs barking. There were a few and they were all pretty stressed by the chaos inside. I felt sorry for them and just couldn’t help but think that the poor creatures had no place there with that many people.
Moving on to the next issue – the place wasn’t clean. I don’t mean not-clean-on-a-busy-day, but rather not cleaned properly at all. I believe I spotted the problem, and it comes from the fact that there is no cleaning company involved. I am sure it is the staff of the pub doing all the cleaning, and obviously they didn’t perform well on a busy day. It is clear as the day what the course of action would be – hire a cleaning company! Having people independent of the staff to do the cleaning is sure to keep the place in presentable state, with or without many visitors. I even think there are some companies that offer on-site staff, allowing for easier time overall, especially on a busy day.
Overall, it was a rather troubled dinner, but I cannot erase my good memories of The Orange Tree from the past. I am sure that they can do better on a busy day and despite the fact that this one was particular experience wasn’t the best one, I will be sure to check the pub out again in the future!