A disappointing lunch at Elliot’s Bar & Restaurant, Apex Waterloo Place

I know I may have mentioned to some of you about the pretty long run of good reviews I’ve had recently but I wasn’t expecting this lunching experience to be quite so underwhelming, and actually quite comical on reflection, (although at the time it was pretty irritating).

Elliot’s is the public bar in the new-ish Apex Hotel in Waterloo Place. Decor wise, it’s urban bar meets Edwardian parlour, with clean lines, modern art and open spaces cheek to cheek with fancy chandeliers, church-style windows and comfy chairs and sofas.


Both myself and my dining companion, fellow foodie and blogger, ‘B’ have been here on several occasions (although not together it has to be said) and usually found the staff pleasant and attentive. This was my first dining experience however and unfortunately for them, yesterday lunchtime was a pretty farcical affair.

On walking in to the reception area, my ready smile was ignored, so, carrying on into the unattended and very quiet bar area, I took a seat expecting someone to come over as soon as they were back. I studied the menu/drinks list and greeted ‘B’, there were by this time a couple of members of staff behind the bar, we continued to chat on and still no-one had even acknowledged us despite having tripled the number of customers.

Eventually I took matters into my own hands and went up to the bar to order a coffee for myself, a diet coke for ‘B’ and a club sandwich (mine) and a salmon fish cakes. We continued our chat and eventually my coffee arrived (in a Starbucks mug??) yet no sign of the diet coke. I waited a little but there was clearly nothing else coming, so again I went up to the bar where I was told that they hadn’t heard the other drink, despite there being 2 of us and having ordered 2x lunch?!

We chat on. The diet coke finally arrives and then I spot that a couple of business men, who had arrived some time after us were now in receipt of their lunch orders! This time I bypassed the barman and stopped the waitress as she passed by to enquire if there was any sign of ours, she said she’d check and by the look on the barman’s face I’m pretty sure our order had never been taken through! Especially as cutlery was suddenly produced and placed on our table.

We talk on (you’ve got the pattern now). Eventually our lunches arrive, now here you have to forgive me as I completely forgot to take any photographs, maybe the sheer hunger or as ‘B’ suggested the complete surprise it actually arrived, drove such standard actions out of my mind. However picture any club sandwich with fries and plate of fish cakes and you’ll be pretty spot on! It was an average sandwich and although I thought that the fish cakes looked pretty overcooked I was assured by ‘B’ that they were very tasty.

Time had ticked on and with both of us needing to get back to work pretty pronto, I decided the best thing to do was get up (again) and go and ask for the bill. Now the next bit is a little Fawlty Towers, the barman comes over to where I’m sitting and tells me that it’s £20.45, no actual bill or anything to back this up…. I asked him if I could have one and he acted all surprised as if it was an unusual request to see what you’re being charged for! This time he returned quickly with both the bill and the card machine.

Now to the lesson in cookery! You’re going to like this! As the payment was going through we were asked if everything had been ok, I started with the usual British polite untruth but indignancy allowed me to find my voice and say “yes, except for the slow service” to which we were treated to the reason for the delay! Apparently it takes a very long time to cook a fish cake to get the centre hot! By this time keeping a straight face was nigh on impossible, but the ridiculousness of it all, had at least broken my annoyance, especially when I realised what an entertaining blog this would be. (In case you were wondering, no tip was left!)

To summarise, this is a lovely place to go for a coffee! (& thankfully the good company stopped this being a thoroughly dismal affair!)

Elliot’s Bar, Apex Hotel, 23-27 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3BH. Tel: 0131 523 1819

I think it’s only fair to mention that The Apex’s Social Media team picked this blog post up very quickly and I was contacted by their Business Development Director to say they take these things seriously and invited me to return for lunch and to discuss. This time we were in the restaurant & of course they were prepped but I have to say that the quality was exceptional, the food divine and I would actually return there myself and have already recommended it! 10/10 for turning a bad dining experience on it’s head!

Here are some pics from the revisit:

Goats Cheese

Black Pudding starter

This sea bream main was divine!

The duck main

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2 Responses to “A disappointing lunch at Elliot’s Bar & Restaurant, Apex Waterloo Place”

  1. February 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    At least you got a giggle as well as poor service 🙂

    • February 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

      Indeed, when i was writing it up it did have me smiling!

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