This is the first (and hopefully the last) time I'll ever publically complain about the behaviour of serving staff in a London cafe - but Cafe La Roche (the smaller cafeteria next to the main restaurant) takes the biscuit.
I wandered in there yesterday, and asked for a jacket potato with chili - an overpriced £6.75, at that - to take away. Pretty much all the eateries along that stretch of St Martin's Lane offer takeaway food. On hearing the words, 'To take away please', the waitress gave her co-waitress a very odd sideways look, but proceeded to prepare it (it took about 20 minutes) in between serving the other in-house customers, while I sat there feeling very awkward, as if I'd done something terribly wrong.
Finally, she shoved a paper bag at me. When I asked if there was butter included, she growled "It's in there!!", and on being asked for salt and pepper angrily shook her head. "Um... is there some kind of problem?" I asked. "No" she glowered. "Because you seem rather annoyed" I continued. Silence. I suddenly twigged. "Would you have preferred me to eat in, rather than take the food away?" "Yes." Ah. I apologised, said I wasn't aware this was solely a sit-down affair. The waitress glared at me. "But I won't be coming here again" I added, and left.
The irony was, the potato itself was the most miserable, shrivelled affair, with barely a dollop of cold chili on it. Adequate, to say the least. Judging by some of the other reviews about this place (and I wish I'd read them before I stepped in there, but of course we never do), this is by no means an isolated occurence; outrageously rude service, bog-standard and wildly expensive food... La Roche isn't doing itself any favours if it wants to cultivate local custom, and appears to exist wholly as a typically overpriced tourist trap. It could well take a lesson from another cafe, Scott's, around the corner, whose staff greet even complete newcomers with a beaming smile, ensuring instant loyalty and return visits