After spending a couple of hours at V Delicious Show in Kensington Olympia, Matt and I decided we would finally try restaurant 222 Veggie Vegan in nearby Fulham, which has been on our list for ages.
Unfortunately, we didn’t realise until we arrived that lunch was buffet only…
Although I recently posted about how tibits restaurant in Central London changed my mind about buffet food, I fear that 222 may have changed it right back… unimaginative, stodgy and soggy; the hot dishes luke warm at best, the cold dishes room temperature at best.
When we walked in, the small vegan restaurant was nearly full, with only a few double tables left. A good sign, we thought! Well…
The food was bland to say the least. There were about five hot and five cold dishes, none of them doing any favours for the “vegan food isn’t boring” cause. In the hot trays there was rice, some soggy stir-fried vegetables, roast potatoes, corn bread and a basic chickpea dish (which to be fair, was quite tasty, just not imaginative). For cold dishes there was a bean and legume salad (the only other dish I actually enjoyed), a cabbage salad, cold aubergine salad, coleslaw, and a cold broccoli and mushroom salad, where the mushrooms looked like they came out of a can.
The buffet was all-you-can-eat for £7.50, which may sound like a good deal but seriously, how much can you eat when the food is so unappealing? Certainly not £7.50-worth! With drinks, our meal came to £9.70 per person. Given that we paid about £4 extra at tibitis for a buffet with a selection of over 30 fresh dishes, 222 just didn’t seem like great value to us. We both ate one plate then went back for about a spoonful of seconds, just because we felt like we should try and get more value for money! I didn’t finish my spoonful.
The bad taste in our mouths was not helped by the appalling service.
When we first took our seats, we were brought plates by the waitress, who then disappeared. Now, we did realise as soon as we sat down that it was a self-serve buffet only but not all patrons may, so you would think the waitress might mention something! We were not asked about drinks and after a while had to call the waitress over to order these. The drinks then did not arrive until we’d both loaded our plates, sat back down, started eating and called her over again to enquire. After huffily telling us they were coming, she brought back our two juices and put the bottles and glasses down on the table. Seriously, 15-odd minutes to bring two bottled juices?
Yes, the restaurant was busy and yes, she seemed to be the only waitress (with one other girl clearing tables) but it was a self-service restaurant, so she was only taking drink orders and the occasional dessert order (I saw one table get dessert)!
We also had to ask for cutlery, as did two tables near us. Not the end of the world but when service is unfriendly and slow, giving us the bare minimum we needed to eat would have been nice.
Mid-meal we were asked (surprisingly politely) if we would mind moving to another double table so that they could fit a party of four where we were sitting. We personally didn’t mind but it’s a bit of an odd request, seeing as we were already eating! Most places would just ask the table of four to wait a few minutes and an area did become available very soon after we moved.
To top things off, I’ve never been glared at when asking for the bill before. But when we did, the waitress just looked at us as though we’d asked her to lick our plates clean, uttered not a single word, then stomped off to print the bill before throwing it on our table. I must stress that we were very quiet patrons, we were not rude in the slightest and the only times we asked the waitress for anything were when we didn’t have cutlery and when our drinks hadn’t arrived after some time. Both times we were polite and said our pleases and thank yous. We’d even moved tables for her, mid-meal! She honestly had no reason to treat us as though we’d spat in her face.
The dinner menu at 222 actually looks quite nice and the restaurant has received rave reviews online so it seems such a shame to say this but I don’t think I’ll be rushing back to try it…
222 Veggie Vegan
222 North End Rd, London W14 9NU