First of all let me say I have been to Arisaig for an evening meal on the 2 courses for 2 people deal before and it was great. It couldn't have been any more opposite for the afternoon tea.
We arrived about ten to twelve for our 12pm booking only to see that the lights were out an no one appeared to be there. Two staff arrived shortly after to say they weren't open until 12:30pm. There was a couple there with us who immediately started to protest as all our bookings were for 12pm. We were told it was ok to take a seat and they would be with us shortly. We were told the sandwiches on our tea stand would be egg mayo, ham and mustard and cheese and tomato. Honestly I would have expected a little smoked salmon or something considering how much they preach about Scottish fare but that was fine and we just asked that the sandwiches are dry i.e. no butter or margarine.
We had to wait a whole 45 minutes for our tea stand to come out (to be fair to whom I'm assuming was the head waiter as he had on a black shirt, he did come over and apologise and offer us some coffee) and when it did lo and behold the sandwiches were buttered. As we then got our coffee (the other waiter couldn't tell my "latte" was actually a mocha) we asked for the sandwiches to be re-done and he obliged taking the bottom tier away.
That left us with the middle tier of a plain scone each which at least seemed fresh (the only saving grace), the top tier was what I thought a halved shop bought brownie which tasted a bit stale, 2 mini strawberry tarts which were ok but cream was a bit runny and a halved slice of lemon drizzle cake which was actually quite nice. The waiter returned with our dry sandwiches a further 15 minutes later so all-in-all we waited an hour for some slapped together sandwiches which were hardly "gourmet". After we ate and were never once offered a refill of tea or coffee (we got the impression the staff were avoiding us because they knew we weren't happy); we approached the manager to complain. In truth he looked like a rabbit in the headlights and clearly didn't know how to handle customers. I know this probably seems like a bit of a moan, but I honestly don't complain unless I find the service has been truly awful and the food is sub-par. In truth it did put me off going back during the day, they were hardly rushed off their feet yet we're waiting an hour? I still have a voucher for the 2 for 2 courses so we'll see how they do with that next time. Honestly, I wouldn't be back without an offer on the food as it is quite expensive but with afternoon tea it was certainly a big let down of standard.
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Alison Lockie - 09/08/2015