Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Merlin's Rest

So tonight I was on my own for dinner, and already out at 6:30, so I decided it was time for me to try a pub I had heard had did scotch tasting. So I was down Lake St and stopped in to Merlin's Rest for the first time.

I walked in and had an immediate sense that it was the sort of pub I've been looking for. The decor was homey; there was an older gentleman with a long but well trimmed bushy white bead and a fisherman's hat; it smelled of beer, fried food, and malt vinegar. And there was a table right up front for me to sit at. I got excited.

After 10 minutes waiting for someone to hand me a menu though, I started to become a bit cautious. To be fair, I think that the poor waitress was the only one working tonight. But I have to say that the lack of service in general over the course of the evening really put a damper on my enjoyment of the establishment.

But I didn't walk out again, and I finally had a menu, and a scotch menu (14 pages of scotch....). I ordered a Deerstalker 12, light herbal flavors, a little bit of burn, just enough to make the smoke a little harsh, but it was enjoyable enough.

And I ordered my vegetarian Cornish Pasty. This sounded like the perfect thing for a winter night. And I had never run across a Vegetarian Pasty. Excellent! So I waited. and an amount of time I thought was generally appropriate later, my pasty arrived with a mushroom gravy and very flaky looking pastry cover. I cut into it, and the pastry was a little bit soggy. Truly, it's the sort that seems to happen when one microwaves a pastry. I bit in, and the flavors were lovely. It was even better with the gravy, and it all balanced the scotch beautifully. It was really disappointing to have something that I knew could be spectacular, and have it just miss the mark.

Then I waited.

And waited.

And really, a person shouldn't have to wait 30 minutes with their dishes piled up before the waitress comes back to ask if there's anything else I'll be having. Which, I still would have gone for pie if it had only been a 15 minute wait. But by that time, I was irritated and just wanted to pay and go home.

I'll certainly try the place again, but next time with company so that I might not notice the delay in service quite as much. It is the sort of pub one could sit in for hours. I just would rather choose to and keep paying for stuff rather than be sitting there bored and waiting for the check.

1 comment:

  1. I've only been to Merlin's once or twice, shortly after it opened, tho' I have a number of friends who go there frequently. However, usually, they're there for something specific, like dancing or music, or else are there specifically to hang out.

    In short, I simply don't think prompt service is a part of Merlin's Rest's "thing"! I think they're designed and staffed around the idea that people are there to be there, and that actually eating and drinking are almost but not quite secondary.