Reids Bar, Billericay

To say there isn’t anything good about Reids bar would be a grossly exaggerated lie – because the relief I felt when I left the place was about as good as stepping off of a long haul flight or the feeling when you haven’t had a poo for quite sometime and then manage to go (I wouldn’t know firsthand though I don’t poo). Luckily the saving grace of the evening there was that we had organised a surprise baby shower for my best friend and the company made up for the overpriced swill they call ‘food’ and the haphazard joke they call ‘service’.

For a start the set menu for our party was a lot more than we had been previously advised online. Unfortunately when you are somewhere as faux pretentious as Reids you feel self conscious if you have an eyebrow out of place so complaining about the prices? Forget it. We decided to keep it simple for both ourselves and the waiting staff by ordering our own drinks at the bar, which was only a few short steps from our table albeit past a wide eyed group of TOWIE wannabes who couldn’t seem to believe there were normal people dining in a shared space with them.

The menu doesn’t cater for vegetarians very well and if you are vegan you can all but forget going there unless you wan’t to spend the evening eating overpriced bread rolls that feel like chewing superglue (if you chewed superglue though you would probably get high – which would make the evening more bearable). There was ONE vegetarian starter option and ONE vegetarian meal which had cheese in it so a no chance if you are a vegan. As I didn’t like the ONE option for the starter I asked if I could replace it with one of the smaller entree’s for the price. I don’t know about you, but if you were going to offer ONE option for veggies I would make it something more palatable than fungus soup. Or mushroom soup as they called it (seriously, who likes MUSHROOM soup?). The lady was very helpful but you could see that she wasn’t exactly loving life after my other veggie friend asked to do the same.Again, not our fault Reids. Sorry we don’t want to eat dead animal carcass.

Now I don’t know about you, but I love bread. All the bread. Bread me up. I love going into a restaurant and eating all of the wonderful breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So when I ordered the ‘Gourmet Bread Selection and Butter’ I thought, great. BREAD. Unfortunately what Reids class as ‘gourmet’ and what I class as ‘gourmet’ are two incredibly different things. We were presented proudly with two small bread rolls that looked like someone had ran down to the Harvester and jacked them off of the salad cart. If you think looking bad was the worst of it, it didn’t end there. They were so rock hard and chewy it is a miracle I didn’t have to send them my dentists bill afterwards.

Due to the fact I am lactose intolerant I couldn’t eat the only vegetarian option so went for salmon. Sometimes the fish have to take one for the team. We all ordered meals such as steak and fish that come with potatoes and vegetable as per the menu. Only you don’t get your own. No that would be getting too much for your £32.95. We received FOUR bowls of potato and vegetables for 15 people. So say on average there were 12 potatoes in each bowl we received approximately 3.2 potatoes each with a tiny serving of salmon and about 3 vegetables each. If they were the most amazing potatoes that God had put on this earth I would have understood – but they were harder than the bread (can you sense the theme here – go hard or go home maybe? It is in Essex after all).

So after the marathon of having to try and get through the food and still all being starving, we decided to call it a day and some of our party no jokes had to go to McDonalds after. Splitting the bill was easy as we had all had the same thing and done drinks separately. So the bill comes over and we all work out our share and add £2 on each for a tip – because after all it wasn’t the waiters fault the food was horrific was it? We received the bill, and then did a couple of payments by card and cash which we got the receipt for. Then over comes the waiter to advise us that there is an extra £60 to be paid. Wait – what from? Oh he doesn’t know. So we showed him our original bill and the fact that our receipts for payments added up to way more, so where does this magic £60 come from? The machine. Ok but what for? He doesn’t know, maybe service charge? Oh great answer but seriously? Instead of just calling over the manager as quickly as possible – this went on for a good half an hour with the waiter insisting we pay this magic £60. As you can imagine we were all tired by this point, still starving, and absolutely not in the mood for this. But still no, sorry guys, you have to pay this £60 even though I can’t tell you where it comes from. Eventually, and I mean seriously eventually because we wanted to leave at 9.30 and didn’t get out until 10.30 the waiter offered to call the manager. He came over and to top off the absolute cheek that is Reids bar asked one of us to borrow a calculator. Guess what? It turns out the machine was wrong and we had paid the bill after all . So after an hour of faffing we finally all got home to actually eat something decent.

My advice if you are thinking of going here? Don’t. Book your event at McDonald’s or Nando’s because the food will be the same quality and trust me – you’ll get better service.

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