What's akin with The Dolphin?

Friendly chat, questions, reviews, find old friends or relatives. Not limited to Sydenham only issues but keep it civil!

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shell1
Posts: 36
Joined: 22 Jun 2008 20:17
Location: Sydenham

What's akin with The Dolphin?

Post by shell1 »

Having been a regular at the Dolphin over the years, I was disappointed this weekend by the poor quality of the food served. Has the usual chef gone AWOL?/disappeared to South Africa?/left the kitchen to a 2 year old?(some might say that even a 2 year old could cook better than what was being served this weekend). I've never needed to complain about the food served at the Dolphin until this weekend - can anyone solve the mystery? share this experience?

We ordered the "confit of duck" which was a piece of anaemic looking tasteless muck under a huge layer of pale yellow greasy skin served on a "bed" of green slush (supposed to be spinach I think) covered with watery Bisto (passing as sauce/gravy). Abysmal! Tasteless. And they're charging "restaurant prices" at this place??? We complained. Dealt with very courteously by the waitress. The waitress offered to replace the dish and if we wished to re-order, which we did. She also offered supplementary drinks and dessert which we thought was very good customer care.

On previous visits to teh Dolphin, we had thoroughly enjoyed the steak so we ordered that. The steak arrived. We were hopeful. But then we tasted the food......The steak again was pale in colour, tasteless and cut to the size of "The Yellow pages" (except the Yellow Pages has more flavour, believe me). Needless to say, we left the steak uneaten except for the one mouthful and managed to swallow the potatoes. We were puzzled by the extreme change in the quality of food compared to the food we had tasted just a fortnight earlier.
This time my partner swore me to silence and not to complain about the appalling mush we'd been served. But when the waitress asked how the food was, I could only muster up a weak grin "not great". We then had the desserts which were equally unpleasant.

This time the tall Gestapo type blonde waitress (the one with the aggressive manner who could do with a day or two at charm school) marched to the table and peered down her nose disdainfully at me. She growled: "It's the suppliers, same chef, we've given you free drinks and dessert blah blah blah....". I tried to protest pathetically while my embarrassed partner left me to it and caught up with the rest of the footie. I whimpered at her but the bill had already been paid. :cry:

Oh well - at least we Sydenhamites still have the wonderful "Trattoria". :)

biscuit
Posts: 69
Joined: 9 Aug 2008 14:28
Location: Sydenham

Post by biscuit »

Oh well, I do like the Dolphin but will perhaps stick to the (not so cheap)drinks. Maybe chef was having an off day? :?

TDA
Posts: 26
Joined: 14 Sep 2005 14:21
Location: SE23

Post by TDA »

At The Dolphin we pride ourselves on serving high quality food. We always use the best and most reputable suppliers we can afford in order to deliver extremely good value and great tasting seasonal dishes.

Our chefs are all highly trained professionals and we work with them continuously to maintain standards and consistency. Our front of house staff are a long established, pleasant and extemely capable team and we are very proud of them.

There is of course always added risk in cooking fresh food that a recipe can go wrong or an ingredient is not up to scratch, but we are our harshest critics and eat in our pubs regularly and review and improve our menus constantly. We do, very occasionally, receive complaints and these are always fully investigated and appropriate action is always taken to remedy the matter. Often this feedback is very helpul in identifying weaknesses in our systems. We actively encourage anyone who is in any way disappointed by us to contact us immediately and we will do our best to sort out the problem

And having said all that, I do find it rather distasteful, if not spiteful and malicious, for someone to choose to make anonymous personal attacks on our staff on a public forum without first taking the matter up with us directly.

Michael Richards
The Dolphin

Rachael
Posts: 2443
Joined: 23 Jan 2010 13:42
Location: Sydenham / Forest Hill Intersection

Post by Rachael »

Michael - that was a rather heavy handed response. The tone of the OP was more disappointed than malicious. And to be fair to them, it sounds like they did take it up with staff at the time, but didn't get satisfaction. They praised the offer of free desserts and drinks. The general point was that they really like the Dolphin and wondered if this was a one-off problem. I would think the 'corporate speak' of your response, coupled with the rather aggressive final paragraph, might have lost you more customers than the original post ever could.

Chazza
Posts: 290
Joined: 28 Mar 2008 12:51
Location: Sydenham end of Venner Road

Post by Chazza »

I agree with rshdunlop. If the customer had been happy with either the service or the handling of the complaint on the day, they'd not have made the forum post. It's the old adage - if a customer is happy, they'll tell one person. If they're not, they'll tell ten.

Michael, the Dolphin is a pretty good boozer and I think you'll find a lot of people on this forum who support it. But, the service isn't great, given the prices charged. I was in there a few months ago on a quiet evening and had cause to make a friendly comment about service at the bar being slow. The bar(wo)man shot me a rather withering look and deliberately took a while to serve me after that. There was no apology nor any explanation.

I didn't post about it on the forum at the time, deciding instead to vote with my feet. It's a shame really, because your beer garden is bloody lovely.

lbere
Posts: 238
Joined: 6 Sep 2006 16:11
Location: se26

Post by lbere »

I must agree with the comment made regarding the bar staffs lack of speed. You could be the only one waiting at the bar to be served and you are 'made' to wait whilst the bar staff tidy up the glasses etc.

Belle
Posts: 46
Joined: 30 Nov 2005 11:45
Location: Sydenham

Post by Belle »

I've been a regular too, and ate at the weekend. Was disappointed with how long we had to wait, though the food was alright, just not enough of it. The waitress was most apologetic.

Great Bustard
Posts: 53
Joined: 30 Apr 2009 12:45
Location: Kirkdale

Post by Great Bustard »

TDA wrote:At The Dolphin we pride ourselves on serving high quality food. We always use the best and most reputable suppliers we can afford in order to deliver extremely good value and great tasting seasonal dishes.

Our chefs are all highly trained professionals and we work with them continuously to maintain standards and consistency. Our front of house staff are a long established, pleasant and extemely capable team and we are very proud of them.

There is of course always added risk in cooking fresh food that a recipe can go wrong or an ingredient is not up to scratch, but we are our harshest critics and eat in our pubs regularly and review and improve our menus constantly. We do, very occasionally, receive complaints and these are always fully investigated and appropriate action is always taken to remedy the matter. Often this feedback is very helpul in identifying weaknesses in our systems. We actively encourage anyone who is in any way disappointed by us to contact us immediately and we will do our best to sort out the problem

And having said all that, I do find it rather distasteful, if not spiteful and malicious, for someone to choose to make anonymous personal attacks on our staff on a public forum without first taking the matter up with us directly.

Michael Richards
The Dolphin
They have every right to say as they wish where they wish, if you arent happy theres always the courts

bigbadwolf
Posts: 726
Joined: 7 Jan 2008 21:21
Location: Forest Hill and Sydenham

Post by bigbadwolf »

And having said all that, I do find it rather distasteful, if not spiteful and malicious, for someone to choose to make anonymous personal attacks on our staff on a public forum without first taking the matter up with us directly.
I couldn't agree more, Michael. If you have a complaint then make it known to the management of the offending establishment face-to-face. Don't sit out any inconvenience and then scurry home to vent your displeasure in the form of an anonymous online hissy fit.

Unless it's the Two Halves. Obviously.

KateM
Posts: 51
Joined: 5 Dec 2006 14:55
Location: Sydenham

Post by KateM »

I had lunch in The Dolphin recently with friends. It was very delicious! Also, The Dolphin were very supportive to a local school event we had last Saturday - they obviously value the local community. I think it is a great asset to Sydenham and the owners probably work very hard and that is probably why the response was a bit like it was.

The Clown
Posts: 371
Joined: 8 Apr 2005 14:04
Location: Sydenham

Post by The Clown »

I frequent The Dolphin and in defense of it, most of the staff are really polite helpful and the food is generally good.

It must be very difficult to walk the fine line between quality and value for money and this applies to both the food served and the staff employed.

The wine list is great - well chosen wines at good prices.

I am bored of the hummus/babaganoush/tapenade plate though. It has been a regular inclusion on our group orders but I just dont think it is tasty enough. If they could liven it up a bit and give it a bit more consitency, then I would be most happy!

Dorian
Posts: 371
Joined: 6 Sep 2007 14:55
Location: se26

Post by Dorian »

" You cant please all the people all of the time".

I think its a great place even if the service is sometimes a little slow. I think the owners slightly heavy handed response to the OP was a little over the top but equaly would show his passion and commitment to making the place the the good quality , " destination" venue that it is.

Thomas
Posts: 632
Joined: 22 Feb 2007 13:08
Location: Upper Sydenham

Post by Thomas »

I think TDA might have a point in that if you do have a complaint then you should first speak direct to the manager. Then again, the Dolphin is a treasured part of our high street, and so it's hardly surprising that people will want to discuss it on this site. There are also many pub/ restaurant review sites, which allow anyone to post comments, which can make make for some uncomfortable reading for landlords and proprietors.

Fairlawnresident
Posts: 8
Joined: 24 Dec 2008 14:55
Location: Fairlawn Park

Post by Fairlawnresident »

The Dolphin is a breath of fresh air in Sydenham and despite the prices, a civilised retreat. I am on Michael's email list but could not be more disappointed with his comments. Shell was making a valid and very gently expressed point - the criticism was constructive and Michael's response is at the very least heavy handed and at worst offensive to people who have supported his business despite difficult economic times

LisaJ
Posts: 1
Joined: 30 Jun 2010 06:40
Location: London

Confused

Post by LisaJ »

Am I reading the same posts as everyone else? It seems clear to me that what Michael is objecting to is not the idea of people discussing restaurants, he is encouraging constructive criticism. What he is objecting to is the pointing out, and abusing of Dolphin staff on a very public forum. In any establishment where someone has a problem with staff it is only right to complain to management, and completely unacceptable to describe, and then proceed to attack the staff member publicly.

Marathon
Posts: 390
Joined: 26 Sep 2008 15:00
Location: Lewes, East Sussex

Post by Marathon »

LisaJ – hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately whatever criticism is levelled at the Dolphin’s food, an attack on one it’s staff members by someone hiding behind the anonymity of the forum is indeed ‘distasteful’.

I wonder if Shell would have had the courage to describe the member of staff as a ‘Gestapo type blonde’ to her face?

admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2549
Joined: 20 Sep 2004 21:49

Post by admin »

I apologise for not intervening earlier. Someone should have called Godwin's Law. The thread may have not been long but the reference is normally taken by many people to invalidate the proponent's arguement:

Godwin's Law /prov./ [Usenet] "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

Hence references should be reserved for when such a reference is truly applicable

Admin
Last edited by admin on 30 Jun 2010 08:01, edited 1 time in total.

leenewham
Posts: 5886
Joined: 2 Sep 2007 11:58
Location: SYDENHAM
Contact:

Post by leenewham »

Anyone think it's worth drawing a line under this one? One customer had a disappointing experience, this experience has been brought to the attention of the business owner, there is other feedback which I'm sure Michael finds informative and also a general feeling that overall people love the Dolphin and find it a fantastic local asset (which I'm sure Michael finds heart warming). Lessons learned all round.

Anyone fancy a pint?

Savvy
Posts: 630
Joined: 16 Jan 2005 18:20
Location: SE26

Post by Savvy »

Its a bit early.

kennyb
Posts: 69
Joined: 13 Apr 2007 09:18
Location: england

Post by kennyb »

nerd alert

Its not a law,

its a an irritatingly trite left wing nerdism `


##1 One of the most famous pieces of Usenet trivia out there is "if you mention
Hitler or Nazis in a post, you've automatically ended whatever discussion
you were taking part in". Known as Godwin's Law, this rule of Usenet has a
long and sordid history on the network - and is absolutely wrong


##2 Godwin's law itself can be abused, as a distraction, diversion or even censorship, that fallaciously miscasts an opponent's argument as hyperbole, especially if the comparisons made by the argument are actually appropriate. A 2005 Reason magazine article argued that Godwin's law is often misused to ridicule even valid comparisons.



Whatever you do don't mention the war either. :roll:


the fuhrer was veggie, teetotal, and fond of animals; loved forests and clean pollution free mountain air. A fan of alternative medecine too.
In some areas todays this would make him a raving lefty.

so he can't have been all bad, or maybe he was just confused.



:twisted: :wink:

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