SO, here’s the thing.
The food at Hideaway was excellent. Almost faultless. And good value too. Ridiculous, really.
But service was awful. Not from the waiting staff, who were absolutely fine, but from the management. Cringeworthy. Over the top. Pretentious. And, at times, rude.
Hideaway is little sister to Ramsons, a fine dining joint in Ramsbottom, which receives regular props in the Good Food Guide. It is based in the same building, in quite a cosy, attractive and all together more chilled basement atmosphere.
Sadly, on the quiet night we went, we didn’t get to sit there. We were plonked upstairs in Ramsons with the posh-os, “because it didn’t make sense to use both rooms”.
Fair enough, I suppose, but we ended up getting the perverse combination of Hideaway’s food accompanied by Ramsons’ service. And it was the latter which left a sour taste in the mouth.
There is a very good deal on at Hideaway at the moment. Three courses for a tenner, which is almost unbelievable. There is a catch, and I thought it was the only catch, and this is that you get what you’re given. This, for me, is fine. I don’t like making decisions. It’s too stressful.
But here’s what I don’t like in restaurants: the hard sell.
If you are going to try to push extras onto me, don’t do it in a forceful or obvious way.
As soon as bums hit seats, we were offered/almost forced to have a glass of prosecco.
You are left in the uncomfortable position of having to accept the offer blind, ask ‘how much?’, or reject.
We politely declined but the manager went off in a huff. I later found out it was £6.40 for a 125ml flute of fizz. Cheeky.
To start, we were given a selection of antipasti, followed by beans on toast, Italian style, which is bruchetta with cannelloni beans, chilli, parsley, garlic and olive oil.
The antipasti included Parma ham, other cured meats, sweet roasted peppers, smoked salmon and a disappointing duck rillette.
Mains were duck legs in a sticky Grand Marnier and marmalade sauce, served with potatoes, courgettes with spinach and chilli, and garlic mushrooms. It was akin to what I imagine a rustic Italian Sunday roast would be like.
Desserts. An evilly good panna cotta with a cute grape coulis. Our waiter more than adequately explained that this particular variety of grape carried a hint of strawberry in its flavour.
But the boss man couldn’t help sticking his oar in and wittered on for another couple of minutes, while we sat there desperate to be left in peace.
We opted out of coffees, to be greeted by another sulk from the boss, and when the bill came, it turned out that the starters were in fact two courses and the desserts were an extra £4 each. This was never explained. It was all a bit sneaky. With two carafes of red and a Sam Smith’s organic lager, it came to £70 for three. Decent value, but I still felt like I’d been fleeced.
So that’s the way they roll at Ramsons/Hideaway. Good food, odd service. You’ve been warned.