Yesterday I enjoyed… okay let’s start that again. Yesterday I _endured_ a lunchtime meal at Elephant & Castle in Temple Bar. It seemed like a reasonably popular, hip joint upon first appearances, and I had heard good things on the grapevine, which is normally a reliable barometer for good food and good service. But this time it was off. Way off.
After ordering a beefburger with cheddar and fries not long after 1pm (a simple choice, yes, but I wasn’t in the mood for anything more complicated) I was left waiting somewhere between 35 and 40 minutes for the meal, if you can believe that. (My timing’s a little iffy there since I didn’t exactly set my stop watch, if you know what I mean.) There was no obvious reason for such a delay. Sure it was the lunchtime rush, but the restaurant was by no means full, and others who had been seated after me were being served in half the time. As the minutes ticked by, and my stoicism turned rapidly into passive-agressive bitching, I decided to decline having the dessert.
Eventually the meal arrived, without an apology. I mentally scratched the tip from the bill. Then I began to eat, tucking in to one of the most ordinary meals I’ve had the displeasure to experience in recent memory. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say I’d had more filling, even tastier food in the past at a fast food joint. To top it off, the burger — which I had ordered well done, but was obviously medium rare — wasn’t as much juicy as it was greasy; the mark of a cook who’s not really bothered.
The only redeeming feature of the meal that I can put my finger on was the delicious apple juice which kept me going through the arduous half-hour wait for lunch. That the juice — like eating a fresh apple without the chewing part, it was _that_ good — is made by an independent company (Llewelyn’s, at a farm in Lusk, north Co. Dublin; can’t seem to find any info online) and not prepared at the restaurant itself, is no surprise.
I think it’s safe to say that the staff of Elephant & Castle shouldn’t look forward to enjoying my custom ever again.