Not so much a full review: more a quick rant.
Having failed (again) to get into Wright Brothers after a few pints at the ever reliable Wheatsheaf, John and I popped along to Wine Wharf last night. I've been a couple of times before. Nothing special but a lengthy (slightly spendy) list of wines to choose from and some halfway decent food sounded just about right. And so it would prove, but some distinctly ordinary - even bizarre - service took the edge off things a bit.
Having been denied the oysters I was craving by the crowds at Wrights I thought I'd start with half a dozen at Wine Wharf instead. They were only listed by the dozen on the menu, but, fearing the inevitable "computer says no" moment, I thought I'd ask anyway. Sure enough, I was met by an apologetic no-can-do because there was no item on the till. What a load of cobblers.
I wasn't particularly in the mood for kicking up a fuss but I also didn't feel like giving up. The manager's immediate response was that the kitchen only ordered oysters in by the dozen. Presumably you also order your wine that way too, I said, but you don't expect everyone to order twelve bottles at once. OK, I only wish I'd said that. Anyway, he could tell I didn't think it was much of an answer so he said he would "ask the chef". Good management skills. The chef, of course, said yes. All this hassle for half a dozen rocks that would presumably have been thrown away along with at least six more if I hadn't ordered them.
While these complex negotiations were taking place I took the opportunity to order the rest of the meal: some Welsh Rarebit to start and some fish cakes and smoked haddock for mains. Big mistake. Despite the fact that there were only two of us eating all the food started to turn up at once. We were both too hungry to tell them to start again so we told them to hold the two dishes that hadn't arrived yet and started tucking into what had already arrived: in my case the big juicy oysters I'd fought so hard for, in John's a couple of good chunky Thai fishcakes, long on flavour but perhaps a little too salty, with some OK chips. Before long someone in the kitchen was panicking about the other two dishes so they were sent out whether we were ready or not. The rarebit hadn't particularly suffered from being left out under the service lamps but the sauce around my haddock with bubble and squeak was drying out a bit and the poached egg on top had become a hard-boiled bullet. It shouldn't have been beyond someone to do me a new one - it would have made all the difference.
So overall a disappointment, and a real pity as it should have been a simple, no-nonsense, enjoyable end to the evening. The environment is pleasant enough, the food basically good, and the staff friendly and actually pretty helpful overall. Just ever so slightly deficient in common sense.
Wine Wharf, Stoney Street, Borough Market, SE1 9AD. 020 7940 8335