Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Bistro De La Gare - Fawlty Towers in King's Cross - June 2012

I must caveat this review by blaming the Author for everything. An urbane man of taste and distinction, tasked with the small matter of finding a destination for a festive gathering that might show the football (without being full of football fans) and would allow us to eat, drink and gossip, on a Friday night, in North central London, as a group of 8... To be fair to him, I don't think he ever realised quite how bad a choice he was making, and was almost certainly led astray by others dictating decisions.

Anywhere this close to newly fashionable King's X, with only two tables taken on a Friday night, should ring alarm bells. From the get go it was clear we were in for a comedy, if not gustatory, treat. If John Cleese as Basil Fawlty and Gordon Ramsay were clustered in the kitchen with a video camera rubbing their knees and plotting some form of post-divorce double act money-spinner they couldn't have done a better job.

The venue is cosy, kitschy and stuck in the 80's. The bad 80's. The middle class 80's. When normal people with normal jobs had started to eat out semi-regularly but my God you ate what you were given and didn't ask questions.

And questions were verboten hier. A deliberately Teutonic phrase for a casual French bistro. And the two questions seemingly most verboten were "why has my main course arrived 40 minutes after everyone else's?" and "could my food be cooked until not raw?".

Trust me, it's a long time since I've been somewhere that has deserved a slagging off like Bistro de la Gare, but my God did they strive to serve (or not in one case) one of the worst dining experiences I've experienced this year.

Of the main courses; one was allegedly pretty good (but then I defy you to screw up a Caesar Salad), two were acceptable, three were pisspoor and another, chicken based, meal failed due to being slightly bleedy in the middle... My pisspoor processed ham pizza, its semi-raw base reminiscent of bad paratha, was only cleared because it was shared two ways with the poor soul deemed unworthy of dinner. I did mention we were one main down didn't I? That's slightly unfair, it actually arrived as we stood up to leave and so they tried to charge us for it anyway...

It could have been worse I mused, watching the elderly woman next to us gamely give a stiff upper lipped response as she struggled on with not one, but two fawlty racclette machines in a row. At least I'm confident I've got a good few years of dining ahead of me. Gamely pushing a curly slice of cheese round a lukewarm hotplate, she must have felt like a pained participant at the last supper.

I'm not going to describe it further. Suffice that others suffered so that you don't have to.

Le Bistro de le Gare on Urbanspoon


  1. Oh dear - sounds even worse than La Brasserie, if such a thing were possible...!

  2. I am impressed by your comment about The Bistro de la Gare restaurant.
    usually and that even if is not often, we receive a formal complaint, which give us the opportunity to understand if something went wrong and if is real at lease we can apologize, but with you it wasn’t your case.
    I remember the situation you were 6 persons seat at table 14 if you look your bill! oups their were no bill, you didn’t paid but you forgot to precise it!!!
    it look more as a professional way to use everything around to make sure of a free meal, if as refer to your empty plate.
    About that "the lady at the next table was complaining to…" you right it is very important to precise it and to make sure that people who read your comment can understand you "such a clicher".

    The Bistro de la Gare has been open for 4 years, 2 years the best area restaurant in kings cross referring to Top table with an average spent per head of £15 with home made cooking, Prawn risotto, Scottish sirloin, Lamb chops, fresh salmon etc….
    Before criticised restaurants and play food critic, I personally invite you to learn your gastronomy and understand the difference of BISTRO and gastronomic restaurant, but once more and regarding your profile about your personal restaurant thought, it appear that you have a budget problem to get a proper gastronomic experience in your profile.
    Criticise restaurant like Nandos, Yum Yum, Cha Cha, Viet grill, you are not serious!! what is your expectation when you paid less then £20 a head and what happen with Mac Donald?
    Let me help you with few restaurant name if is not the case, Dorchester, Green House, The Square, le Deuxieme, The Letbury, L’aventure, Morton’s club, Umu, Ivy, La petit Maison, Gautier, Morgan M, Atelier Joel Robuchon, Clos Maggiores, Gavroche…..

    However is clearly seem that you need this kind of satisfaction to exist!
    And putting people job at risk to satisfy your frustration and lie, I am not saluting you.

    Business Partener
    Mr Rebergue
    Ps : And by the way, don’t worry for the Caesar salad as you can not even recognise a marinated chicken.