We order drinks at the bar and wait to be seated amid what can only be described as mayhem – apparently the chef is inebriated and there isn’t enough food to cater for the 50 diners tonight. My husband and I continue to wait … 15 minutes after schedule, and without an apology, we’re taken to our table.
Our cutlery has been laid out incorrectly – and then I have to duck as the table next to me has asked for a bread roll and it’s being thrown across the room to them.
I ask for butter, and the waiter steals it from the table next to us. Another guest finds a set of false teeth in his soup. The manager’s wife appears to be drunk and is talking loudly to each of the diners (asking if they’re vegetarian or ‘normal’), while her husband tries to communicate (without much luck) to the rather short, mustached waiter – who doesn’t seem to know any English apart from, “I know nothing”.
Cue two hours of chaos and laugh-out-loud jokes and mishaps with Basil, Sybil and Manuel – from Fawlty Towers The Dining Experience (including a hilarious ‘don’t mention the war’ scene and the obligatory goose step).
The grub: It’s a set menu – tomato and basil (geddit!) soup; chicken in mushroom sauce or wild mushroom risotto and apple tart with custard. The food is delicious. The only grumble would be the portions are too small and our meals aren’t very hot – but you’re not here just for the food.
Behind the bar:Everything you’d expect from a decent pub. A decent selection of wines and champagnes; a reasonable selection of beers and spirits.
Bill please: From £50pp for show and three-course meal. Wines from £15 per bottle.
Verdict: You’re guaranteed a laugh. And you don’t need to be a fan of the TV show to appreciate the actors are superb. Runs until Oct 30.
Victoria Embankment, WC2N 5DJ
– Carol Driver