Quality will shine through

By Greig Cameron on Mar 2, 11 02:57 PM in food and drink

On Saturday I was lucky enough to be having dinner with my wife in the Rhubarb restaurant at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.

A gift voucher we had which had been languishing on a shelf was finally being put to good use.

It was only the second time I had eaten at James Thompson's lavishly decorated and opulent sanctum.

Even though the decoration has the capacity to overwhelm what I noticed most was that when we arrived at 6.30pm the dining rooms and bar areas were extremely busy.

That didn't change over three delightful courses and as parties left they were quickly replaced.

Indeed after we had finished eating staff had to help find a nook for us to sit and have some coffee.

Now when one of the more upmarket eateries in the capital is clearly having a bumper night at the tail end of February surely it's cause for celebration.

I'm sure it was for the management at least until the till system collapsed.

That electronic failure left many customers waiting far longer than normal to pay bills.

But kudos to the excellent staff who were very attentive and regularly came to apologise people who had been waiting patiently

Yet sitting in the whisky room at Prestonfield it occurred to me that these people - taken from all walks of life and a broad age range - were here to have a good time.

They would dress up, eat well and maybe even have a few drinks. Fears about inflation, cost of living and public sector cuts seemed a million miles away.

A lot of people still have money to spend. It's just they are going to be far more careful about where they spend it.

Other business could have learnt a lot from the staff at Rhubarb about how to deal with what could have been a disastrous IT failure.

Even though we waited for more than 30 minutes for our bill I still felt the staff had looked after us as best they could and a lovely evening had been prolonged rather spoiled.

And that kind of service will undoubtedly lead to repeat business at some point.


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