Wednesday, 30 June 2010

cheese, please, but pass on the service: La Fromagerie

Cheese. A world without it would be very dull indeed, IMHO. As I've noted before on this blog, I bloomin' love the stuff, and would happily eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And sometimes I do.

It's not going to take you more than a shake of a lamb's tail, then, to anticipate that I'm likely to be a supporter of London's finest cheese emporia. Neal's Yard, Paxton & Whitfield, Hamish Johnston, La Cave à Fromage... they're all close to my heart, not to mention my stomach. But La Fromagerie, tucked away in a quiet corner of Marylebone, should be on that list, right?

La Fromagerie exterior

And it is, kind of. The cheeses there are worth the trip. A huge selection, all in pristine condition, ready and ripe to go. But the rest? The shop? The café? Not so much.

I visited a few weeks ago, and although satisfied by my intake of the whiffy stuff, was distinctly less so by the service throughout. Put simply, the latter put the dampers on my lunch, and might have blighted my entire afternoon, were it not for a post-La Fromagerie visit to Ginger Pig's droolworthy shop right next door, where service is cheery, friendly, helpful, and expert. The contrast could hardly have been greater.

Ginger Pig shop

La Fromagerie, pleeeeeeeeease take note: if you're going to sell premium products, then please at least TRY to make sure the service is up to scratch, too. So, having sight of a menu when I'm seated would be good. Not 15 minutes later. If I ask for a wine recommendation to go with my cheese, I do NOT expect, 'Well, if you like white, go for the house white, but there's the red, if you prefer red.' I mean, WHAT??? Oh, and - in the event that I do in fact opt for a glass of vino after such brilliant guidance - I'd prefer to drink it from a clean glass, please. Not one that seems to have been handled by the entire staff first, going by the number of fingerprints all over it. And the slices of pear that come with the cheese plate - any chance they could be replaced with slices that aren't bruised?

Grrrrrrrrrr. I expected better. A lot better.

Anyway, for what it's worth, here are the pics:

La Fromagerie waiting area
Waiting to be seated. I'm expecting a disco in the interim, 'cos of the glitterball, natch.

La Fromagerie seating
Seated. It's a little on the cosy side. But you've gotta love that clock.

La Fromagerie goodies
The view behind me. Cheese room in the background - where the service is as chilly as the room temperature, but more of that later...

La Fromagerie cheese plate
The cheese plate. Can you see the bruise on that pear slice? Thought so.

OK, well, the cheese was good. Clockwise, starting from 3 o'clock as you look at the plate - Sariette de Banon (goat), Camembert Fermier Durand (cow), Haut Barry (ewe), Lou Bren (ewe), Devon Blue (cow). For me the standouts were the Sariette de Banon - creamy, flaky, and slightly fruity - and the Haut Barry - earthy, slightly sweet, and nutty.

And what I also liked about the Haut Barry was its ridiculously colourful (and wholly natural, I hasten to add) crust...

La Fromagerie Haut Barry

Pretty, innit?

Portion sizes, although the picture may not suggest as much, were pretty much spot on, I thought. Not too little, not too much, and just about acceptable for the moolah involved (£13.50).
And then, my friends, is the small matter of cake. Or rather, the large matter of cake:

La Fromagerie meringue cake

Soft hazelnut meringue filled with Valrhona ganache? Really? Do I have to? Oh, go on, then.

La Fromagerie meringue cake 2

Again, you probably don't get quite the sense of scale from the photo, but these slices were IMMENSE. A couple seated next to us gasped when they saw what was being put in front of us. I smiled back, reassuringly. Of course I can, and will, eat it all.

I didn't. But one of these days, I might try again. Because I don't like being defeated by cake. It pains me. Still, on this particular occasion, the pain was relatively short-lived, because we had a pressing engagement with the cheese room before we left.

For a cheese lover, a cheese room is surely ultimate fantasy, the room we'd all have built into our homes were it not for the fact that space and money don't permit. At La Fromagerie, you can indulge that fantasy a little without paying an architect for the privilege.

La Fromagerie cheeses 2

But only a little. Because, frankly, the whole experience is (or was, for us) spoiled by the affineurs, whose brusqueness and coldness made for a tongue-biting and teeth-gritting time. I know a fair amount about cheese (four decades of eating the stuff helps), and I don't appreciate being treated like a numbskull, least of all by an arrogant and patronising schmuck (sorry, affineur) seemingly barely out of nappies. And in any case, what I may or may not know about cheese is wholly irrelevant. If I'm asking questions about the cheese, wouldn't you want to help me, to get my interest, convince me, maybe let me try some, and, y'know, SELL IT TO ME? You are failing your customers, La Fromagerie, and doing your business a disservice.

Oh, and I was told that I wasn't allowed to hold my point-and-shoot closer than about a metre away from the cheeses (no reason given, and no, I'm not exaggerating).

OH, YEAH? So sue me, then.

La Fromagerie cheeses

La Fromagerie cheeses 3

With the teeth-gritting rendering me in danger of an imminent dentist's visit, we chose just 2 cheeses from the many to take home. By this time, I really didn't feel like lining La Fromagerie's pockets and propping up some overblown egos any more than we had already done.

Our choices:

La Fromagerie Vache Porte d'Aspe

This is a favourite of mine, but I have to be in the mood. It's strong, verging on brutal (any idea why I chose it on this particular afternoon? No, me neither). Its taste is pungent 'fading' to something resembling a chilli burn. It's an acquired taste, I guess, but fun.

And...

La Fromagerie La Laurentine

This is a lovely, rich, creamy goat's cheese. If you like goat's cheeses - and I know they're not everyone's favourite - do put this on your must-try list.

And so, some GBP sterling lighter, but pounds of cheese and waistline heavier, we took our leave and dived into the Ginger Pig shop next door. Our experience in there threw that of La Fromagerie into even greater relief. And not in a way that was favourable to the latter.

Drinking wine, eating top-notch cheese and cake, and choosing more cheese to take home, should surely be a pleasure, a joy. I regret to say that on my visit, La Fromagerie didn't make it so. I'd heard great things, but I left disappointed and disgruntled. I may end up returning at some point, if only because I love the cheese, but what it comes down to is this: there are other cheese shops/cafés I'd rather go to first, where the service is everything it should be and the customers leave with happy hearts and bellies. So it's probably safe to say you won't see me back at La Fromagerie anytime soon.

La Fromagerie on Urbanspoon

49 comments:

goodshoeday said...

Wow thats some level of bad service you got there. I've never been to La Fromagerie though it has been on my list for a while, it has just plummeted rather a long way down.
Like the fact you have a nice designer handbag in prime position in one of the shots maybe that tells us something about the type of clientele who have to have their bags on a chair. In my view if you can afford a designer bag of that ilk you can afford to chuck it on the floor ;0

clairetweet said...

Excellent post. Nice that it is so honest. I too hope they take note. What a fantastic looking place with so much promise ruined by poorly trained and mannered staff.

That meringuey thing looks FANTASTIC. I would love to try a doorstep sized slice of that.

Keep us informed if you get any responses from them or visit again.

Viki said...

Thanks for the info. Maybe the Highbury shop might be a little better?
What a shame though, I hate having such a disappointing food experience.....makes me rather grumpy!

curlyluddite said...

Sunch a shame about the service. Especially since the wares are so good. Very unwise of them!

Pia K said...

with one or two minor things not being top notch but the rest lovely then one don't really mind, but the layering of badness nere... jeez! it would be so interesting to hear of any responses! i hope you've emailed them your post...?

i'm not a cheese buff as such (it would probably help if there were more porper vegetarian cheeses around, which alas is so lacking in sweden) but i totally love how the place looks! and the cake, oh divine... and really, shame on you for not finishing it...;)

Lizzie said...

A most excellent rant.

Funny, they didn't seem to have a problem with a bunch of us bloggers taking pictures up close of their cheese.

I only went to that particular bloggers' evening, but an annoyed friend told me she inadvertently spent £13 on a wedge of what she thought was brie in the Highbury shop; upon discovering it was in fact truffled, and it's price, she was too scared of the formidable server to back down.

We had an excellent cheese board that night.

The Ample Cook said...

In spite of the rules imposed re photographing, your photos are excellent! A great review too.

I'm afraid I would be inclined to email them, attaching this review. I really do believe that any business owners NEED to be informed of any short comings.

Nicisme said...

What a shame because the cheeses look fabulous. And don't get me started on the meringue dessert... mmmm.
I had to laugh re the camera distance, maybe they don't know about zoom lenses, lol! Your photos are really super.

Choclette said...

Think you should defiantly post them a copy of this review - bad service is sooo not acceptable. Unhappily, so many establishments don't seem to realise this! the cheese looks fabulous though.

LexEat! said...

such an entertaining post and excellent photos - I apologise of course for getting enjoyment at your expense!

i agree, definitely send them the post!

Kavey said...

I too have only been here once, for the same blogger event Lizzie mentions... and of course, they were on best behaviour then.

Though I recall someone else mentioning some very frosty/ arrogant service that had put her off visiting, though she had been a regular customer previously.

For me, whilst I loved the cheese room and could appreciate the added value of their skilled affineur, I will probably stick with the warmer approach (and, for me, more convenient location) of some of the others on your list.

vincent said...

Kind-a-Captcha

Jacqueline said...

The cheese looks lovely, but what a disappointing experience.

dasilvajums said...

I have eaten at La Fromagerie and purchased cheese from the cheese room. I agree that service is a bit slapdash, but i had a far friendlier experience. It is worth remembering that it is just a few tables in a shop and not a fancy resto. The food there is very good, and not just the delicious cheese platters. Yes ok your pear was bruised but it looks like a tiny bruise and well maybe I am alittle less fussy but i've never discarded a fruit because of a small bruise. However if you were upset about it, why didn't you raise it with the manager at the time? explaining the dirty glass, the pear, the wine tips...you may have found he would attempt to rectify the situation for you, and avoid you leaving on such a low note. I doubt any mgr would be pleased to annoy a customer, especially a blogging one! :)

I DO know what you mean about the cheese room, we had an old french guy try to dissuade us from adding another cheese to our order as we were "doing it in the wrong order". I just asked him if his manager would be happy to hear him turn down cash and he relented. Just be firm, and remind them you're the customer!

I am pleased you liked the ginger pig though- what a shop!!!

ps- your dessert looked amazing!!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

goodshoeday - yep, I think you've got the clientele down to a T. I fitted in well, obvy ;)

clairetweet - the meringuey thing WAS good, no probs there!

Viki - it may well be. I've not been

curlyluddite - shame, indeed

Pia - sorry about the cake. I did my best! :)

Lizzie - I can believe it. Like you, I've no problem with the cheeses there - they're great. The rest, well...

The Ample Cook - we politely raised issues with staff at the time (except with the affineur). All dealt with, more or less (tho' not the wine 'recommendation'!). But having to do so spoilt the experience

Nicisme - quite...

Choclette - it was, it was!

Kavey - yep, me too

Jacqueline - indeed, it was. More so, because I'd heard such great things

dasilvajums - I did raise all those issues at the time (that bruised pear slice was actually a replacement for more badly bruised ones!). I know it's not a fancy resto, but I think if you're serving premium cheese (and charging premium prices), everything that goes with it should reasonably match it, standard-wise. I don't want schmooze, I just ask for competence. Oh, and don't worry, I'm firm ;) But again, in a good place, one which understands what sevice is about, you just shouldn't have to do that.

BribedwithFood said...

I hate bad service. With a passion.
I have said before that service for me can make or break a dining experience and I'm sad that you had to feel so disgruntled among all that cheese... I mean, that IS something!

Thanks for the warning and also the final cheese tips - I'm looking at buying some (from elsewhere obviously) straight away as they sound exactly like the type of thing I'd enjoy :)

The Grubworm said...

Great write up of some equisite looking cheeses. I like what they have on offer, but I to (and some friends) have hit that haughty, frosty reception in the Highbury store before. So now, we just go to Neal's Yard instead. 'Tis a shame, but there's too many nice places to go to have to deal with bad service.

Becky said...

I adore cheese too but bad service would stop me going there. I often end up leaving shops when people look like they cannot be bothered to serve me . Sadly your shots make it look so gorgeous I may have to stop in, that or I will have to build my own cheeseroom.

Lucy Fishwife said...

I used to live round the corner from the Highbury one. Again, lovely cheese, fantastic selection, and the rudest and most snottily, dismissively, patronising service you could imagine.

Catherine said...

The pictures look great, it's a shame you had such a bad experience though :( re: the wine suggestions, I feel thats probably a training issue with the staff, and if the company dont want to invest the time to train them properly on matching wines, the chances are they probably have a high turnover of staff too. This probably reflects in the careless attitudes, not that I'm condoning it in the slightest! I could be completely wrong, but thats how I see it.

That cake, however, looks UTTERLY divine, you must go back and complete the task in hand!! :)

Kanga_Rue said...

There's no excuse for service like this when their competitors offer warm and engaging service. The cheeses look amazing, but the idea of tackling their lesser areas is really off-putting and I'll be steering my business elsewhere.

Enjoyable read and your photos are great despite the distance limitation!

sasasunakku said...

Those bishes better tread caerphilly (ahahahaha...no? Going to stand in corner now).
Hate it when service peope are rude (or anyone really), why don't they do *another job* that doesn't require coming into contact with the general public if the hate it. Gah.

Suzy said...

Love your photos! It all looks delectable!

I am a regular and a fan of La Fromagerie. I've always viewed it as a buzzing cafe vibe and love it. Best coffee around! I'm always a little intimidated by the sheer choice when I go into the cheese room but the guys in there are quick to put me at ease. I hope this was a "once off" in your case as I am sure La Fromagerie is worth another visit.

Helen said...

I was at the blogger evening too and although the cheese was amazing - so well kept - some of it literally stunning...the cafe food was just rubbish. A souffle was one of the worst I've ever eaten. I didn't notice any problems with the service but then they would have been on their best behaviour. I think they should just stick to what they do best with selling the cheese and forget the cafe.

La Fromagerie said...

All the staff at La Fromagerie have read your blog the last few days and everyone is extremely upset, surprised and genuinely disappointed by many of the comments.

All my staff pride themselves on giving friendly and professional service. Many of the staff have been with us for several years and are passionate about what they do.

Of course, I make no excuse for bad service and we would hope that a customer would bring it to our attention at the time so that we can put it right to ensure their visit is as lovely as it should be. We take all feedback very seriously and we always strive to improve, so i can only apologise that you felt the service you received was not up to standard.

I stand by all my affineurs, chefs, café staff, & shop staff for their dedication, passion and integrity – we have all worked very hard the last 8 years since we opened in Moxon Street to create somewhere unique that represents the producers and everything we love about food.

We have two very talented chefs who produce fabulous seasonal menus incorporating all the beautiful fresh produce. In the last month we have launched a new breakfast menu, new cheese plate selections, wines by the glass and we continue to improve in all areas of both products and service.

Everything posted on your blog we take very much to heart and we would gladly welcome anyone who has taken the trouble to post their thoughts back to La Fromagerie so that you will see the lovely generous spirit that so many of our customers do enjoy and return back time after time.

With reference to use of cameras at la Fromagerie: Customers are welcome to take photos in the shop and cheese room on request. If the photography is for personal use we just ask that the privacy of anyone enjoying the café is observed.
For those seeking photographs for professional use we can provide a link to hi res. pictures from our press pack. We are also very happy to arrange times for photo shoots on request as we do for many professional publications.

With kind regards,
Sarah Bilney
General Manager
& All the staff at La Fromagerie

Winerack said...

I work locally to La Fromagerie and have been visiting the cheese room there about twice a week for 7 years. I have always found the 'affineurs' to be helpful, polite, informative and busy. They're busy because it's a superb cheese room. I have never eaten there, but you seem to be rubbishing a valuable Marylebone institution because you didn't get Michelin star service in a café. I have not read your blog before so don't know you're style or expectations but wonder if you are American? How terrible for you that you didn't get sommelier advice from a waitress and that you were unlucky enough to receive an unpolished glass. I assure you I am not affiliated with them in any way.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

BribedwithFood - me, too. It doesn't have to be formal and polished, just friendly and helpful

Grubworm - completely agree

Becky - the cheese there is certainly very good indeed

Lucy Fishwife - oh. Oh dear. :(

Catherine - you may well be right

Kanga Rue - thank you

sasasunakku - brownie point for worst joke ever... ;)

Suzy - Thank you. And I hope it was a one-off, too

Helen - it's an idea...

La Fromagerie - I appreciate your apology, and am happy to confirm that problems at the time in the cafe were rectified.

As you will have read in my post, I thought your cheeses were terrific. I would have bought more to take home, but found your affineur's manner seriously off-putting.

It seems from other comments on this post that our experience of La Fromagerie's service is not an isolated one. Comments on Twitter in reaction to my post were in the same vein, as follows:

'I go weekly cos it's near but each time I go I think the service gets more arrogant.'

'Prefer the wider selection at La Fromagerie but not the service.'

'one of reasons I go to Neals Yard much more than La Fromagerie is service of guys in cheese room. Sniffy.'

'i lived near highbury story & heard complaints nearly every time i bring up their name.'

'Went to Highbury one regularly for more than 10 years, never a flicker of a smile. Given up.'

'had such rude service some years ago I stopped going for a year. nice sunny service @ Neals Yard.'

'is there any london food shop that receives more complaints about its service?'

'so right. Ingredients, freshness, locally sourced blah-di-blah. What about training and service?'

I flag these up only to demonstrate that poor/rude service seems to be a consistent theme.

Winerack - nonsense.
(a) I did not rubbish La Fromagerie, as you will know if you had read my post properly. There is much about it that is good.
(b) I don't want Michelin service, whatever that may be. Whether I go to a Michelin restaurant or my local cafe, all I ask for is civility and helpfulness. The standard of the eaterie is irrelevant in this regard.
(c) similarly, I didn't expect a polished glass, just a clean one. The one I was given was clearly not.

Rachel said...

I know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion , but here i think you going a little over board, from reading your review i believe that you only been to la fromagerie once, and took your conclusions from that visit! have you asked your self did i get that service because i came through as a total 'smuck' ?? i think the answer is YESS!!
I been going to la fromagerie for years, its a busy area the cafe atmosphere is always buzzing and the service is great, i know sometimes they are extremely busy and the staff have always come up to me and my partner and apologized if they couldn't give us the best service.
As for the cheese room staff, I'm always overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge that they have about the cheeses .

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Rachel - please read my previous comment

Winerack said...

Thanks for the reply. I'm not the one writing non-sense. When I go to an establishment where I am not happy with either the service, product or both, I don't go back. You seem to delight in unwhittingly discouraging others from going and forming their own opinion by writing a 'cup more than half empty' blog and gathering together an on-line support group for your opinion. Though you felt you deserved an apology from this establishment (i still fail to understsnd what for, even having properly read your blog) the only true way for any business to fix their mistakes is being given an opportunity to excel to others. I am only taking the time to respond as such, having only ever commented on any blog once before, due to what read as a 1 sided post full of intolerance directed against a business dear to my heart that I and many others I know,patronise with pleasure. I am in no way affiliated with La Fromagerie.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Winerack - I take no delight in mentioning the flaws I encountered at La Fromagerie whatsoever. And I don't know what makes you think I felt I deserved an apology.

I reviewed La Fromagerie as I have done many other places. I simply gave my account of what happened. As with any review, it is up to the reader to make up his or her own mind whether to visit the place on the basis of that review.

Winerack said...

IMHO you do a lot more than "...simply give my account of what happened." You appear to spin and opinion form by your use of subjective negativity, which would strongly discourage me from visiting if I weren't already a patron.
I also do not see in your blog (maybe because it's hard to find if it is indeed there) where you mention that the trivialities that upset you were addressed satisfactorily during your visit.
I leave my defense of the La Fromagerie there (to avoid further trivialities) and hope you give them an opportunity to excel on another occasion.

May said...

I think it's great that you just shared your experience and told it as it was. Bad service is just what it is and should not be accepted, regardless of the prices on the menu. My experiences there ( I have been a few times) is that the service varies, mostly uninterested waitressses.

Good that La Fromagerie have taken note of the comments. If you are customer facing, make them happy and they will evangelise for you.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Winerack - see my comments to other responses re La F's addressing the problems

May - couldn't agree more! :)

Anonymous said...

I have been a customer of La Fromagerie for years now, and am slightly perturbed by some of the negative comments made. The food is of incredible quality and freshness, and I've always found the customer service to be pleasant. Yes, it can get busy, but never in my experience, have the staff been anything less than helpful. I do hope that readers are not put off by this post. We should be supporting our small, independent stores/restaurants. I urge you all to find out for yourself how wonderful La Fromagerie really is!

Robert Giorgione said...

Wow! That choc meringue looked delish! I've been a big fan of La Fromagerie for many years. In fact, have posted many articles on my blog too. Patricia Michelson rocks!

youngandfoodish said...

Speaking as a mostly appreciative shopper at the Highbury La Fromagerie I'd say that the people who work there need to get out more. Say "cheese" at any Islington cocktail party and someone is sure to complain about the chill at La Fromagerie. They are not referring to the temperature of the cheese room.

By opening their eyes you've done them a good service, something to which they may be unaccustomed.

BeccaRothwell said...

Not sure how relevant this comment will be but thought I'd put it up anyway having read through the debate.

I've never been to La Fromagerie, though living not too far from the Highbury branch it has been on my list to visit and remains so despite your poor experience, primarily because of the continual high praise the cheese has been getting, and now out of sheer curiosity to see what the service is actually like.

It seems though, that those defending La Fromagerie are unwilling to take into account the swell of people who have also experienced poor or frosty service. Clearly this wasn't a one off incident, although it may be that the staff were previously unaware that this was how their service was being perceived. In that respect, although perhaps upsetting, it's surely better to hear the negative criticism and constructively work to improve, rather than insisting that everyone who felt they had poor service must be wrong as the evangelists seem to be.

I have a lot of respect for La Fromagerie themselves for taking the time to read this post and respond politely to the issues raised. It doesn't read to me at all like you were expecting "Michelin starred service" again whatever that is, but that there was simply a mounting of small issues which collectively served to sour your experience.

Reading the post I couldn't help comparing it to my recent experience at a deli bar in Manchester where the staff were wonderfully helpful, listening to my preferences and suggesting which cheeses I might then enjoy, as well as which meats and pickle would pair well. This certainly wasn't silver service, which I actually associate more with expected arrogance and likely would have found intimidating, but just friendly, helpful customer service, which made me feel comfortable despite my ignorance.

A good informative post, which hasn't put me off visiting La Fromagerie but will provide another perspective from which to judge my own experience when I finally do get to pop in.

Fiona Beckett said...

A very interesting, well written, beautifully photographed review.

Is it fair though? I can't say I've ever had such a bad experience - I've always found the staff friendly but imagine service can get frayed under pressure. It is fundamentally a shop with a few tables rather than a restaurant - not that that excuses bad service (and no, I don't think for a moment you expected Michelin).

It may possibly be suffering from its popularity being the only restaurant in London which offers anything like this sort of cheese experience. I'm sure they will take what you say to heart so I hope your review won't discourage other people from giving it a try. It is a great place to go and eat cheese. And cake, obviously ;-)

A London Fishmonger said...

Wonderful post of a most interesting experience and great fun reading everyone’s comments. Interesting to see no arguments against until La Fromagerie themselves replied. My experience could suggest there could be some employees responding to criticism. Well done and please goto another poor place next as they always offer more entertainment.

sunita said...

I've been to the place once, love the cheese collection. But didn't spend time enough to judge them. Sorry for your soured experience.

Lovely photos,btw,Iabsolutely adore cheese.

Alan said...

I think your experience is typical of that elitist food culture that London can sometimes be guilty of.... You'd never get that treatment at Neal's yard though.

I remember years ago going in to La Fromagerie in Highbury, before the Marylebone store - there's no restaurant there - it's purely retail.. They were so unfriendly and cold. I think at the time I was investigating a job opportunity. thank god I didn't go down that path - I might have turned into a bitter superior cheese seller....

Real cheese is artisan, rustic and cared for throughout it's creation - fromagerie somehow misses these facts - completely at odds with the whole cheese making process. Shame....

Douglas Blyde said...

Your pictures of La From made it look like it was in a village, back in time. Beautiful, but shame about the service. I've waited to be led behind that glass partition quite some time in my life!

Heather said...

That chocolaty Pavlova gave me a she-boner. But I hate shitty service! Guess I'll get me cheese elsewhere. I mean, should I ever find myself on your side of the pond.

Foodycat said...

No need to go back when Neal's Yard's staff are absolutely charming and you can put together your own cheese feast to eat at home!

Fahara said...

I couldn't agree with you more, the staff at La Fromagerie always seem to act as though they're doing you a favour if they so much as look in your direction. I once went in their in a flush mood, keen to spend copious amounts on ridiculous quantities of cheese and came out 20 minutes later with no cheese and with disgust at the useless toads in the cheeseroom. I walked next door and bought a pie at the Ginger Pig instead.

Dave said...

Haven't been to La F in Marylebone to eat for a couple of years now. Used to love their Sunday Brunch. It was always busy and the service was harried sometimes, but it is what it is. The food was great, and the cheeses fantastic.
I now live 2 minutes form the Highbury Barn store, and now do not buy my cheeses in that store after the sour mood of everyone who works there including the manager.
Neal's Yard is the place to go.

Alice said...

It's such a terrible shame to have a bad experience somewhere that is so hyped up. We went there a year ago and although we didn't have as bad an experience as you, we certainly came out disappointed.

Your cheesy pictures are making me hungry, so I'll have to stop off our at local, friendly, cheese shop on the way home now!

Sam said...

What a shame the service wasn't up to scratch, the cheeses look great but without good service it ruins the whole experience.

Your photos are great, how strange that they were so awkward about you taking them....