Sunday 16 June 2013

Rotary Bar and Diner: bad, really bad

It was always going to happen. Such is the proliferation of American BBQ diner food in London, one bad egg was always going to get through. A cynical attempt to jump on the band wagon, to cash in without putting in the hard yards. I just didn't expect it to be now, here, at the Rotary Bar and Diner. This place has pedigree. It's owned by the Rushmore Group, the same people as Giant Robot and the Player Bar, both of which are great. Rotary Bar and Diner is not. In fact it's not just not good. Its really, really bad.

The bar itself is fine, good place for a few drinks. The menu looks enticing - everything seems to be in the right place. There are wings, devilled pig skin, burgers and ribs. What could go wrong.

We started with the chicken wings. They were cooked. But that is about the extent of the positives I can muster. Greasy, they tasted like they had been slathered in butter. And not in a good way. Even worse were the pork scratchings (sorry, devilled pig skin) - they tasted only of old oil. And finally, the smoked chicken salad.  I think they may have popped out to Subway for the sauce, the chicken was barely smoked. Worst of all, in the midst of it all was chicken skin. Not lovely, crispy, salty chicken skin. No, a slimy, limp dishcloth of a piece of skin. Horrible.

After being all smiles and sunshine to start, our waitress turned sour when we said that we had not wholly enjoyed our starter. And we were still on our best behavior at that point. I mean yes the starters were awful, but we still had chicken, ribs and steak to come, things were about to look up. Right?

The chicken and ribs came covered in "BBQ sauce". Sickly sweet, this was everything BBQ sauce should not be. Here is my plate when I started.

Here is where I finished.

I couldn't eat it.  That is not like me, as my friends and waistline will attest. I love food, I never leave things. I have been brought up on "waste not, want not". But I just couldn't eat it. Neither could the Brand JD manage the dry chicken, again covered in that sauce. But wait, there was a corn muffin. Surely that must have been good. Well, it might have been a corn muffin at one point, but by the time it made it onto my tray it would have been better used as a cricket ball. One bite was all I could manage.

The steak at least did not come drenched in sauce. It had been well-aged and reasonably cooked. But it looked lonely on the plate with only a side of over-cooked and over-buttered cabbage to accompany it.

By this point our waitress was steadfastly ignoring us and a young Parisian took over. We were being less well behaved by then. The complaints rained down on him. I felt a little sorry, it wasn't his fault and, as he rightly pointed out, he had not cooked any of it.

I really hate writing negative reviews, you've had a bad meal and now you need to relive it. Often I don't bother, why go through it again. But in this case it was so bad I felt I had to. In fairness they did give us 25% off the price. But then, if I had paid full price for what I had just eaten, I would have been upset, really upset. It would have been over £25 a head with one beer. For that money you can eat seriously well in London. Just not at Rotary Bar and Diner.  Don't go.
The Rotary Bar & Diner on Urbanspoon

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