Where I ate:
Favoloso, Balkerne Passage, Colchester
I had my work Christmas meal last month and despite the mixed reviews from the office (they went to the same place the previous year), I was really looking forward to it; even more so when we received the menus and had to pick our choices. It was my first experience of a work Christmas party as well, so I was stupidly excited. However, I left Favoloso disappointed and unsure how the amount we spent on food was justified.
The set menu was priced at £28.95 for three courses, but we all put in £32, which also included a £10 deposit. Drinks weren’t included and were added on top of this.
The restaurant itself was really small and we were the first party to arrive that evening – two other larger groups arrived as we were eating – and there were a couple of other smaller tables of two. Maybe the staff weren’t prepared for the large volume of customers in such a short space of time, but the service was pretty terrible from the off. Drinks took forever to arrive, we were waiting 25 minutes for a bottle of wine at one point, and when we told the staff we’d had enough of waiting and to cancel the order, we were told we couldn’t. Nobody was ever keen to ask if we wanted anything else, particularly drinks-wise, and we were left to ask ourselves – but clearly to no avail. Orders were also mixed up, despite the fact there was a list of who was having what, with numbers of each dish. And the worst thing – a waiter standing around on his phone; totally unacceptable, but nothing was done about this. This alone has put me off ever returning – and that’s before I mention the food.
What I ate:
Starter: Leek and potato soup
Main course: Sirloin steak in a green peppercorn sauce
Dessert: Millionaire’s chocolate torte
The soup tasted like Heinz cream of chicken with lumps of leek and potato, but I was so hungry, I ate it all. It was fine with the bread and with glug after glug of white wine. I love leek and potato soup though, it’s probably my favourite, so I was really disappointed and it’s the worst I’ve ever had.
Maybe I’m a snob because we have the best meat at home and I’ve been lucky enough to have some excellent steaks in both France and Spain this year. There is no way on earth this was a sirloin steak though – it resembled more a flank, and was overcooked and rubbery. Again, I ate it all because I was so hungry, but I certainly wasn’t satisfied. The accompaniments were terrible as well: we shared boiled potatoes, roast potato wedges, vegetables and ratatouille (how the hell does that go with roast turkey, peppercorn sauce or seabass in a crayfish sauce?!). I had two roast potato wedges and a small bundle of vegetables (two carrots, two green beans and a sugarsnap pea tied in another kind of green vegetable), so I was by no means full. Clearly no thought had gone into the side dishes, or to the portion size.
Dessert was the best of a very bad bunch, although I didn’t eat much of it as it was far too rich. The chocolate layer would have been better if it was half the size, the caramel layer was amazing and I could have done with more of that. The Chantilly cream was sour and was decorated with red crystals of sugar and silver balls: the real tack of Christmas!
Average food at ridiculous prices (I had a look at the blackboard and they were charging £22 for that steak alone?!), terrible service and everyone could not wait to leave. My first awful experience blogged and I won’t be returning.