Thursday 1 May 2014

The Good Life Eatery, Sloane Avenue

 Working for a women's health website, as I did only a few months ago, I've been aware of The Good Life Eatery since its opening on Sloane Avenue late last year. This trendy cafe promises good, wholesome food, made from the freshest and tastiest ingredients available. With all dishes gluten-free, what better place to go for a Sunday brunch after indulging in a bottle of wine and a pizza the night before?! We knew it would be heaving, but for a meal fit for the likes of Rosie Huntington Whiteley, we decided we were prepared to wait.

And just as well, as the place was packed out. There were queues for tables and queues for take-away. We all stood squashed in the doorway, whilst those lucky enough to have a table chuckled, instagramed, and took their time finishing the last drips of their almond milk lattes (infuriating, although we couldn't blame them - we would be doing the same as soon as we were given a chance). It was suggested to us that we might order at the bar first, then give the waitress a nod when we were finally seated. I ordered the all-greens frittata, but declined one of the cafe's speciality juices when I was told  it was £6.50 per bottle. Despite being 100% natural fruit and veg, and tasting delicious (as I sampled a friend's later) I couldn't quite justify the cost per sip, so opted for a large skinny Americano instead. After about twenty minutes we finally had a table and gestured to the waitress at the bar that we were ready for our food... But sadly, that was when the real wait started.

If you read my blog regularly, you'll know that on the whole, I'm complimentary of the places I go to; a couple of slip-ups may go unmentioned if the overall experience was enjoyable. But on this occasion, I'm afraid, it's simply unavoidable. The Good Life Eatery makes it perfectly clear that, with room for only 25 people to sit, there's a "first come, first served" policy. But, in my mind, once they're through the door, a customer is a customer, and whether they're seated or standing in the queue, they should be treated with the same amount of respect. Watching three people take up a table for six for an hour after finishing their meal simply isn't fair on the twenty people waiting. If they aren't going to be considerate enough to move on, as they proved they weren't, a polite nudge from a member of staff would have been nice.

We sat down at a table of ample size for the four of us, but with a bench seat along the wall and only one chair, we had to squeeze three of us down one side. We asked if there was another chair, but apparently they are serious about seating for 25 only... Luckily after half an hour, the table next to us freed up so we slid down and made space for the couple and single woman who had been in the queue behind us and still hadn't been seated. But even after this time, there was still no sign of our brunch (though at 2.30, it was lunch by now) or even our coffees. I was nominated to go and ask. 

When giving our number, the waiter look worriedly at the pile of receipts sitting on the counter - it was clear our food had not been put through. I reordered our coffees and returned to my table. Another ten minutes passed and our coffees were finally brought, but for a large Americano, mine was a little on the small side. I was then informed that large coffees were only available for take-aways as they didn't have large mugs, but I must have made what my mum refers to as the "dangerous face", because he scampered back to the bar and brought me back a cardboard cup.

But still, no food. By this point it was laughable, and we all made jokes about going home and making it ourselves in quicker time. The very smiley manager then came over and suggested that to make up for the wait he would bring us all cakes on the house. We thanked him, and I joked that we would really like our mains before pudding, but apparently that wasn't taken on board as we were greeted in seconds with two brownies and two slices of Red Velvet.

We managed to resist tucking in long enough for our lunch to FINALLY arrive. Although smaller than I would have expected for the price, I couldn't fault my frittata in the slightest. It was absolutely gorgeous and even now, several days later, I can taste it with much ease. Everyone had a bit and agreed that it was not only delicious, but the best meal on the table (don't you love it when that happens?!). Packed full of lovely fresh greens, it was made even greater by the side of homemade pesto, made with almonds rather than pine nuts. The eggs Benedict and the avocado on toast also looked great, and all of us were substantially filled by the end... But it would have been rude to waste the cakes, wouldn't it? Both sweets were wonderfully moist but as often happens with gluten-free, a little sickly sweet. We were defeated, and packaged the remainder up to take home ( which is saying something, as two of my friends are baking bloggers!).

So all in all, I wasn't hugely impressed with The Good Life Eatery, but the food was absolutely wonderful. I was also reassured by the couple next to us that, as regulars, they usually experience much better service. Maybe another trip at a less busy time would be a good thing. 

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