IT could be argued my service senses were particularly well honed having just returned from America, where restaurant owners take training for it very, very seriously – if only to be assured of a 20 per cent tip.
But having said that, my usual first order of a slimline tonic morphed into a sparkling water, my steak came cooked on a wing and a prayer, there was neither a salt nor a pepper pot in sight, least of all freshly ground – and not a single inquiry was made as to how our meals were.
So even by normal standards, the signs were all there that there was a pretty wide gap twixt the cup and the lip of superlative – or even acceptable – standards.
And yet, having said all that, I’d say there’s huge potential for Blackpool’s latest seafront diner and I’d like to think that ironing out a few translation issues will pave the way for a return visit.
I call it a diner but again, that’s open to interpretation. We passed trays of cakes, cafe style, as we walked to our window table while Champagne cooled in ice buckets next to low sofas perfect for a casual soiree.
As for us, we had gone for a midweek dinner for two, expecting a quiet room - and were surprised to find several tables occupied even on a post-Lights evening in November.
Curiosity had taken us there on a new tram no less. It was a nice opportunity to abandon the car and hop on for a smooth seafront journey to a stop just a few yards away from the front door. Timing one back was simple enough and better, we felt, than trying to park close enough on a chilly winter night.
We ordered garlic bread to share while perusing an interesting menu. It was tough indeed to get our orders across, our waiter while as attractive as any film star and smiley, too, clearly found it very difficult to understand the simplest of requests, leaving me with a total failure on the tonic water and my cousin waiting in anticipation of a white wine spritzer which did, to be fair, arrive albeit not in the long tall glass she had asked for.
Our mains were a sirloin steak and a cod loin. Both served with sauteed vegetables with soya and sesame, mine with a pureed potato with celeriac.
Cooked medium, please. No, not well, medium. How would it emerge? Over the medium mark for sure, but not well enough to complain although, at £16.95, I think I might be on my own there. These are not diner prices, but for a restaurant the Ts need crossing with a sharper pen. The cod loin was priced at £14.95 and was cooked to perfection, but it seems a shame to put so much effort into the kitchen then lose so many points front of house.
A dash of fresh pepper isn’t much of an ask, but would have made a tasty difference to a steak.
When it came to the list of five desserts, all sounded special and interesting - but a request for further information on ‘artisan pudding’ and whether the brownie had any nuts in it were something of a reach for our lovely waiter.
No nuts, he confirmed, so I was brought a very tasty squidgy brownie while my cousin took a risk and stuck with her mysterious pudding choice, washed down with lovely cappuccinos. At £5.95 and £4.50 respectively, those puddings brought the bill to £62.55 to include my earlier latte too.
For just over £30 a head, it was a nice evening and I wasn’t complaining. It remains to be seen if the lovely atmosphere and pleasant seafront views make up for what got lost in translation.
Name: Beach House
Address: Promenade, Blackpool FY1 1AP
Phone: (01253) 749899
Parking: No, get the tram or walk from nearby car parks
Disabled access: Yes, no steps
Worth a visit for: Nice food and a lovely atmosphere
One thing I’d change: Front line staff need to know the menu better