The Trafalgar Pub

I’m on the Kings Road, sitting in Starbucks, sipping a far-too-milky latte even though it’s about a million degrees outside. There is an informal interview taking place before my eyes, and if I were on the hiring end, this girl would get the boot. It’s not my concern though, so I’ll just go back to my own thoughts.

In honor of being on Kings Road, I’ve decided to review a place on this very road, in the heart of Chelsea. Recently renovated (I think more than a year now); The Trafalgar Pub definitely has its own unique personality. It’s also a massive waste of a perfectly good spot on this famous road, where someone with half a brain could start up a really great pub in its place.

Before I go on, I have to mention that my criteria for a good bar/pub do not revolve around price.  My critique stems from an extensive background in the Hospitality Industry, where I’ve held every job under the sun. Hence, my judgment is not clouded by fancy patterns on the carpet or cheap drinks, but is focused on the level of professionalism possessed by all the members of the staff.

The day in question was St. Patrick’s Day and the bar was quite full (it usually is). We managed to get a table over in the “restaurant” section, and sat down to wait for another friend. Immediately, I noticed that the table was stickier than flypaper. After looking for the waitress for about 20 mins, I called her over and asked her to collect the dirty glasses, and to wipe down the table for us. She said, “OK”, and vanished. I held down the fort while my friend went to get drinks, and when she returned she was laughing at the fact that the barwoman didn’t know what Weiss bier was and kept telling her that they don’t serve “Rice”….. :O

Our friend finally arrived, but the waitress that was supposed to clean the gross table must have gotten lost somewhere on the way. Finding her had now become essential because my friend was hungry and wanted to order food. Found, captured and reeled in, the waitress finally came to the table. Her first order of business was to clean the table…which she did, badly, because it was still sticky after she finished. Bored and puzzled she then took the order:

Prix Fixe Menu two courses – £9.50 – Starter: Salt and pepper squid with lime mayo – Main: 8oz West Country beef burger with smoked bacon and cheddar served with chips

I usually advise against Prix Fixe Menus but there was no other choice at that time. Knowingly, I didn’t expect much…the hungry person was hopeful. While we waited for the food, we went to the bar to order drinks. There was a lot of confusion at the bar and an extremely clueless barwoman tried to take orders from the thirsty customers. She skipped us a couple of times, and as I was about to make myself noticeable (not in a good way), the manager came and asked us what we wanted. I did my usual “Let’s talk ales” number, and the manager was amused, so I tried a couple and decided on Franziskaner on tap, a Weissbier that is usually my Plan B when available. Happy and stocked with alcohol, we returned to the table.

The food was not there when we returned but came soon after. The appearance of the squid served on a wooden board was appalling and the burger had the familiar “rustic” look, served on another identical wooden board. The grease was already saturating both boards and I was very reluctant to try, but I bit the bullet and went for it. The squid successfully coated my mouth with oil, bad oil, and being Greek, I felt aggravated. I tried a chip from the burger board and of course it was brown solidified oil, so that was the end of that. I didn’t try the burger that was falling apart after one bite, but my friend was not impressed either.

Summary so far : Food sucks, service is non-existent, waitresses and barwomen are on different planets and the whole place looks like a college kid’s dorm room because no1 taught the staff to pick up & clean dirty tables. Great…

I was getting bored with the situation and my last stop before departure was a trip to the toilet. I entered and found the clueless barwoman resting on one of the sinks, rapidly tapping away on her blackberry. She looked up…and then looked down. I went to wash my hands and she didn’t want to move, but had to so that she wouldn’t get wet. I found all this extremely funny, and so I went to tell my friends… We left soon after, crossed the road and waved “Goodbye” to a confused, unorganized and indifferent Trafalgar on Kings Road in Chelsea.

The Trafalgar Pub Chelsea – 200 King’s Road, SW3 5XP (The Trafalgar is a trading name of Mitchells and Butlers Leisure Retail Limited)

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