I took a trip over to Shifnal recently with Alex, to a restaurant called Henri’s. Situated on Church Street in the town, with an outside seating area and a (small) car park, it seems well placed for passing trade and the general aesthetic was nice.
Our table was booked for 7.45pm, and all but one of our party arrived on time. We were shown to our table, and drinks orders were taken. The restaurant serves a variety of world beers, although usually well known brands such as Corona, Peroni and Red Stripe.
The menu offered a pretty good choice of starters and main courses, and a specials board was brought around which had a number of dishes on. We didn’t order food at this point as we were still waiting for our remaining diner to arrive, but the waitress returned periodically to see if we wanted to order yet.
Eventually, at around 8.10pm, our stray arrived and took her seat at the table. However, the waitress had stopped coming to our table to find out if we wanted to order yet, and didn’t even come back to take a drink order for our late arrival.
After what seemed like an eternity, our food orders were taken at around 8.30pm. One of us had snails for a starter, with the main courses being lemon and thyme chicken, seabream, salmon and my choice of lamb shank. I was then told that the lamb shank wasn’t actually a shank, but a rump. Not a massive problem, so I ran with it.
Our food took quite a while to arrive, undoubtedly not helped by the party of 12 on the table next to us that was presumably taxing the kitchen quite a bit. At one point the owner of the establishment came over to tell us that we’d not been forgotten and that our food would be with us shortly. Our late arrival still hadn’t been asked if she’d like a drink, by the way.
The food eventually arrived just after 9.15pm. As is so often the case with restaurants these days, the presentation was great but the quantity of food left a lot to be desired – I can only speak for my own plate, but three small pieces of lamb rump, a fondant potato and a handful of peppers and courgettes do not a filling meal make.
To make matters worse, the quality of the food was also sub-par. The lamb was cooked nicely and was tasty, but the vegetables were all over-cooked and the gravy was lacking in flavour. For £14.95 I would have expected more.
After our meals, we were shown the desserts board, which again had a pretty good selection, ranging from poached apricots in a brandy snap basket (Alex had these) to a traditional Eton Mess. I didn’t fancy anything in particular, so asked the waiter if I could just have some ice cream:
“Certainly, what flavours would you like?”
“Hmm, what flavours do you have?”
“Ooh, you’re asking the wrong person there really. I know we’ve got vanilla. I could find out though?”
I was dumbstruck. Asking the wrong person? You’d expect a waiter to know these things. As it turned out, the flavours available were your standard vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.
The ice cream was nice though, so I’ll let him off.
All in all, I wasn’t particularly impressed. The atmosphere was nice, and the restaurant itself is well laid out and has character, but the service was atrocious – starting out reasonably attentive but soon dropping to barely-there levels. The party of 12 on the adjacent table weren’t being particularly demanding and there were plenty of staff on duty, so I find the lack of service inexcusable. That the food wasn’t brilliant is also a crying shame, as it could have been so much more.
Footnote: The menu uses Comic Sans MS as it’s primary font. This is almost reason enough not to go there.