Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Paul Rhodes Bakery

I stumbled across Paul Rhodes Bakery whilst leafing through a small book called Tea & Cake London recently. The blurb in the book mentioned that Paul Rhodes as an accomplished chef who had work for people such as Pierre Koffman and Nico Ladenis before moving on to become a pastry chef and turning his attention to breadmaking. With all the experience and success that he had achieved, I was preparing to wowed by the stuff in his bakery. Since I was heading up to Westfield, I decided to pop down the road as well and visit Paul Rhodes new(ish?) bakery in Notting Hill for an early morning coffee break. First impressions were that the bakery did look inviting with lots of goods on display and the interior felt bright, airy and clean. However,  dig a little deeper and all was not what it seemed. The bakery operates as a counter service and there was somebody all ready to ask what I wanted but after I had placed my order, he promptly forgot what I had told him? Then, when I got to the till to pay for my goods, he told me how much I owed and proceeded to look the other way. I might be sounding a bit anal here but surely, this is customer service 101 and if you cannot perform these basic tasks, why bother showing up to work at all? It wasn't as though the place was humming with people either so I'd hate to think what service is like during busier times (just as a comparison, at The Espresso Room, Ben will always greet every customer as soon as they walk in the door and ask them what they would like whilst he is making another drink. Sometimes, if its a regular, he even remembers their preferred drink?!! Ordering and paying is prompt, professional and takes less than a minute. Not difficult....)

I plumped for a plain butter croissant and a pot of tea before heading to the back of the cafe to the elevated seating area. Even though I wasn't paying an arm and a leg for it, all I can say is that its pretty shocking to be served a stale croissant given Paul Rhodes' "reputation".

Unfortunately, there weren't any other cakes I particularly fancied so I made a sharp exit afterwards. Its doubtful that I will return.

Promised a lot but failed to deliver. One of the things I learnt on my barista course was that  it was difficult to find people to work for you who "care". To me, this last photo is a great illustration of people who just don't care - condensation left on the cake display and the audacity to charge up to £4 for a pecan tart which has a broken pastry shell?! Customers deserve better than this!

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