A chain restaurant in a large hotel group may seem like an odd way for us to start our Brighton two-parter. But have a read anyway…
Seasoned readers know we don’t review many chain restaurants, though some of the more well-known ones pop up here and there. Oddsocks Bar & Kitchen is a restaurant chain exclusive to the Jury’s Inn hotel group, and I spent a night in one of their hotels in Brighton at the beginning of the month.
In the absence of somewhere reasonably close-by to eat – my first choice The Shakespeare’s Head around the corner from the hotel was jam-packed full of people, so having exhausted myself walking there and back, I eventually decided to settle for a meal in-house.
When I read on their menus that every Oddsocks has its own signature dish, I thought “here’s an exception to the chain restaurant rule” – a Signature Dish Spotlight feature. But as the evening went on, I just decided to review the whole meal, based purely on how appalled I was by the service.
Now you weren’t expecting that, were you?
It started reasonably well, in all fairness. The waitress handling my original food order was actually quite helpful. The signature dish at this particular Oddsocks is Rotisserie Chicken, of which I had a leg and thigh, with a Maple Syrup and Lemon Thyme rub. It comes with stuffing, chips and a corn-on-the-cob. Okay – sounds pretty good so far.
There was no cutlery on my table, so I naturally presumed it would either be given to me while I waited, or would come alongside the plate – in some hotels, that is the done thing. Nothing came while I was waiting, and then my dish came out (see pictured). You can see from the image that it all looks reasonable as finger-food, so I didn’t think anything of it, for the moment anyway.
A tangent: my grandmother went to America recently – cruised Hawaii and spent a couple of days in Las Vegas – you know, the standard thing for a lady of a certain age to do with her time. While there, she sampled for herself Maple Syrup on a savoury, something that has existed for decades and yet still divides opinions in this country to this day. I personally love it: bacon, bananas and maple syrup for breakfast – like that served on pancakes at another Brighton restaurant No. 32 (see pictured) – is a gorgeous idea. What I don’t like is maple syrup leaking all over the table because the chicken isn’t served on a plate. It came out in a kind of slatted box, which, upon pouring the maple syrup rub over the chicken, allowed it to flow onto the table beneath. A poor presentation choice.
To add insult to injury, the waitress who, up until then had been very helpful, was not only shocked that I had not been given any cutlery (so I was meant to have some!), but also told me she would fetch a cloth to clean my syrupy table, and never came back. I had to ask twice more before this leakage was seen to, by which time I had already moved seats and a friend had joined me.
That sounded very TripAdvisor, didn’t it?
Dessert – a Raspberry Eton Mess (see pictured) – was a much less tumultuous affair, but by that time, I was more than a little pissed off. If staying at the Jury’s Inn behind Brighton train station, there’s an exceptional choice of superior restaurants in town. My advice is – try one of those!