I’m pretty sure that this is going to be a contentious thread, but I feel pretty strongly about it, so here goes.
Shortly before Christmas, my wife and I travelled on the overnight St Malo - Portsmouth crossing. We always eat in the main restaurant, but have been increasingly unhappy in recent times (we make the journey 2 - 3 times p.a.). Mrs G will almost always take the fish as a main, but it has frequently been overcooked - by that I mean cooked and left on the ‘pass’. My mains have varied in quality, but rarely memorable.
On this occasion, I ordered the ‘Pulled Lamb’ dish (anything ‘pulled’ seems to be the current fad). Mrs G took the vegetarian dish, which was a pulse dish of some sort. Mine was totally average, my wife’s was really poor. Her dish had zero ‘eye appeal’ and tasted completely bland.
Now, en route to Brittany, we always stop in a Campanile hotel. Yes, I know, not everybody’s idea of a perfect hotel, but they’re clean and very reasonably priced. The evening before, she had a vegetarian dish which was undoubtedly ‘out of a bag’, but which was absolutely delicious. Cost was €9.90.
I rather feel that BF has lost the plot over its waiter service restaurants. We’re not looking for ‘steak / frites’ (although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that). But what about a nice Rack of Lamb with a Gratin? The research chefs seem to be trying to go too far in producing something different and ‘off the wall’. The ambiance and service in the restaurants remain excellent - the food much less so IMO.
Did we complain at the time? The half- finished plates said it all and our waiter offered to get us something else - we politely declined.
I read a restaurant report in a magazine while we were in the UK. One of the lines was “It’s for people who don’t mind paying for mediocrity if it comes in a nice outfit”. Sums up my view entirely.