Lunchtime Blues

Scoff & banter

Here’s a wee story to brighten up your day. When I say brighten up your day I do of course mean shake your head and say “tch” or some other tongue against roof of mouth sound.

Setting the scene

The place – Scoff & Banter, Radisson Blu Mercer St, London

The time – 13:21 on Wednesday 2nd September

I’ll take you through this rather like a short episode of 24. Jack Bauer would have reacted differently but luckily for the staff in Scoff & Banter he wasn’t there.


Arrive at the Radisson Blu near Shaftesbury Avenue


Shown to table and handed menu

Read menu and make selection based on the promise of a beef burger made with 100% Scottish beef, melted cheese and bacon. At £12.00 I struggle imagine how tasty this burger is going to be.

Me – Could I have a Magners cider, a burger and a side order of chips please?

S&B – Certainly sir, but no need to order the side as the burger comes with chips

Me – great, thank you


Burger appears but no chips. Oh well, they are probably going to bring them in a  minute. If not I can always ask when they come and ask how my meal is. Restaurants always do a check back. It’s universal.


Spot that the bacon isn’t bacon. Bad start. The bacon is cold boiled ham. Right animal, fair point but still not bringing home the bacon.


Still no check back but surely it will happen soon. Burger needs some seasoning but alas none on the table. Not to worry they’ll be along in a trice to check how I am enjoying my meal I’ll ask for the salt and pepper then.


Gone off the burger, pretty tasteless. Decided to leave about a quarter, mainly as evidence should they ever ask how it was.


Fuming now. Definitely no chips arriving. 50 minutes after being served, this has become a battle of wills.


Eventually someone appears to take away my cold left overs, although the ham was slightly warmer now than it was at the start but that is little comfort.

I make sure of eye contact, waiting silently for the question.


Waitress disappears and takes my plate in silence.


She’s back now for my glass.


Steam coming out of my ears. Perhaps she doesn’t speak English anymore. She was pretty good at it when she took the order. It’s a puzzle. Waitress lifts glass, smiles and retreats in silence. She must have taken holy orders during the service.


S&B – Do you want the bill sir?

Me – Aren’t you going to ask me how my food was?

S&B – Sorry sir, how was your food?

Me – Disappointing

S&B – oh, sorry to hear that, can you tell me why?

Me – yes.

silence for ten seconds, waitress looks unsure.

Me – I was just working out where to start. there was no bacon, it was ham. The cheese was sparse. The meat needed seasoning but there were no condiments on offer. Also there were no chips.

S&B – The burger doesn’t come with chips. You need to order chips

Me – I did but i was told I didn’t need to.

S&B – Oh I am sorry. I’ll go and see what I can do.


S&B – I have had a word with the supervisor and we wont charge you for the chips.

Me – I didnt have chips

S&B – Thats why we arent going to charge you.

Me – What about the champagne?

S&B – what champagne? you didn’t have any.

Me – I know but if you go by your method of charging I just wanted to check its not on my bill.

S&B – but you didn’t have champagne,

Me – I didn’t have chips either but you still had to ask your boss to have it taken of my bill.

S&B – but the burger doesn’t come with chips, if you have chips they are charged separately.

Me – I didn’t have chips. As we’ve already pointed out you don’t charge for items I haven’t had like the champagne.

S&B – but you didn’t have……. oh I see what your saying.

Short time passes as waitress goes to the desk. returns with a smile.

S&B – We are not going to charge for either the chips or champagne.

Now I am a patient man but I honestly thought I was going to explode, Jack Bauer would have shot her between the eyes by now. Lucky Jack.

Just as I opened my mouth she saved her life.

S&B – oh sorry I didn’t mean champagne, I meant the bottle of cider you had, we wont charge you for that.

Me – thats very kind, what about the bacon?

S&B – What bacon?

Me – Exactly

S&B – but the burger comes with bacon.

Me – no it doesn’t, it comes with cold ham.

S&B – I’ll go and speak to my boss.

Me _ Don’t bother, I really don’t have the time just now. I’ll pop back in for champagne later.

S&B – That’s great, see you then.


Leave Scoff & Banter.

Very poor scoff, very poor banter.

Very poor tip, £1.00

Very good tip – don’t go




One Comment Add yours

  1. Dale Odberg says:

    Most frustrating meal I have read about! I hope that the memory of this meal fades quickly for you. 😃

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