We were a group of five who entered at 7.10pm. We hovered around the desk for several minutes but no one approached us. It wasn't particularly busy, certainly there were tables available.
Eventually I asked the staff member behind the desk if we should wait to be seated or just take a table. She could see us the whole time we were waiting, but it was as if she only noticed us when I approached her. She asked how many we were and told us someone would seat us shortly.
Another staff member approached us after a couple more minutes and asked us how many we were again. She then showed us to a table and took our drinks order.
By 7.30pm there was no sign of our drinks and no one had approached us about our food order. Shortly after that a third staff member approached with four of the five drinks we'd ordered, but made no reference to the missing fifth. We asked to place our food order and she said, in a matter of fact way, that she'd send someone.
The second staff member then returned. She told me, without apology, that she'd forgotten what the missing fifth drink was. I told her what it was but she didn't go to get it or, more appropriately, ask another staff member to get it, but proceeded to take our food orders. I was concerned at how long everything was taking and the apparent hap-hazard service so I asked how long our food would take to arrive - there were two small children in our group and we were there to eat, not to enjoy the ambience. I was told bluntly that this depended on what we ordered. After we'd ordered: 2 x pasta/chicken; 1 x curry/chicken; 2 kids meals we were told there was nothing complicated and our food would be out soon. The waiter was about to leave our table when I asked her about the missing drink again - she said she'd bring it.
After another five minutes my drink hadn't arrived. I went up to the pass and asked after it. The waiter who took our order (and then forgot it) actually said it would come when it was ready!
A couple of minutes later the last drink arrived and we decided to forget the bad service and wait for our food.
At this stage I took my 5 year old son out to the toilet. We were horrified at what we found. I reported this situation to a staff member when we came out - the same staff member who'd taken our drink and food orders - but no gratitude, or even politeness, was expressed. An apology for the appalling toilets didn't even cross her mind.
30 minutes after we placed our food order there was no sign of it. I went up to the pass again and asked to speak to a manager. A (new to me) staff member approached me. When I asked why we'd had no food after 30 mins she asked if we'd ordered steaks. When I told her what we'd ordered she was surprised and couldn't offer an explanation. I complained about the service and attitude of our waiter and the disgusting scene we'd encountered in the toilets and she sympathised. Then our food arrived.
The food was good, but why do they serve three Indian dips (chutneys + raita) with a THAI red curry? Given that they do serve them, why don't they serve anything to dip in them?
After our meal it seemed that no more could go wrong when the final insult occurred. The waiter who took our orders cleared our plates and brought the bill and when asked to bring a credit card machine to the table, did so. We were incredulous when she then walked off with my credit card in the machine tossing "I'll bring back your card in a minute" over her shoulder as she went. On her return I asked her what was the point of bringing a machine to the table if she was going to take the card away, and she gave me some line about the battery on the unit not being good. When I told her that I didn't care about this and that I hadn't given her permission to remove my credit card from my presence she told me I was rude and told me not to come back to the Brook Inn.
I was so surprised at her overall inefficiency, rudeness and seemingly total lack of understanding of customer service (and standard credit card procedures) that I was dumbfounded. To add unbelieveable insult to injury a young man in a chef outfit then beckoned to me, the customer who had just paid 80 for 3+2 tardy pub-grub meals, from the pass(!) to COME TO SPEAK TO HIM!
Incredulous, I approached him, where he asked what was wrong. Even at this late stage I still had some sense that it might be worth explaining the situation. I was wrong though. He wasn't interested in hearing what was troubling his customer; he exhibited the same unsuitability to customer service that his colleague did.
The food in the Brook Inn is definitely tasty, even if the ethnicity and authenticity can be a bit confused, but the prices are typical of an establishment offering a much higher level of service (and decor to be honest). The management have not engendered ANY sense that the customer pays the wages in their staff and it is obvious that training, if any, is minimal. A horrible evening.