Crossing the Rubicon is an Indian restaurant on Glasgow’s Great Western Road. We’d been trying to go a few times before but the fates conspired against us. This, then, was a much anticipated trip because it promised great food and a selection of ales, including some on cask. That sold it for me. Drygate Brewery have an incredible mango IPA named after the restaurant, so I had high hopes!
We booked a table for two over the phone to be there for 7pm on a Sunday. The meal was booked via an ITISON voucher which I’d given my other half for Christmas. The voucher said:
Curry feast only; starters: Pani Puri, Krispy Chicken Pops, Cheese Kachori, Samosas. Choice of Rubicon curry each: Lamb Keema, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chickpea Chole, Vegetable Bahji; please note all food will be served at once. • All curries served with rice, a salad of chopped tomatoes, red onion and coriander, and a homemade pav
So, a selection of starters, a curry from a choice of four, sides, and either a float of 3 beers or a glass of wine. Sorted.
We arrived at a couple of minutes to seven. We did that hovering thing for a moment but there was no-one who was obviously there to seat us. A couple of folk after us bypassed us and went straight to the bar. A harassed waitress then advised that it would be a few minutes until our table was ready and told us to go to the bar and order a drink.
Twenty minutes later we were still by the bar. We hadn’t ordered a drink because the meal was meant to come with drinks. Eventually, we were shown to a small table next to the window.
We had the menus dropped onto our table and a short and nonsensical description which boiled down to pick a curry. Nothing else. Just, pick your curry. I had to point out that, for the starters, it would be great if my wife’s dinner could include a veggie haggis samosa. We got a mumble in return.
Now, perhaps before we had arrived, the waitress had been having a particularly terrible day. We all do at times. I get it that you can have a crappy time and still be in a position where you have to put a smile on your face. She was, however, so short and brisk with us as to make us both feel uncomfortable. I didn’t feel like I could ask the questions that I wanted to about the drinks or the meal as it would have been an inconvenience to even broach the subject. It was far from the welcome that we’d hoped for.
Something odd then happened. A chap came up to us and asked if we were there for the pub quiz. I was puzzled. No, we weren’t. We were meant to be there for a romantic meal. He shrugged and moved on.
We were invited to move to a larger table in the corner. That was a nice suggestion, but I wish we had declined. It was positioned in a way that you could only access your seat by asking people at another table to move out of their seats. Once we’d all carried out this manoeuvre, I realised I was next to a drafty window.
Our drinks were brought and left on our new table as we moved. Now, I got a three 1/3rd pint taster of cask ales, but no idea as to which was which or what I was drinking. What’s the point of a taster if nobody lets you what you’re tasting?
We were looking forward to the selection of starters when we received Pani Puri. It was a fried, round, hollow puri crisp with chickpea curry, and a selection of relishes and sauce. The chickpea dish was fantastic, and I was beginning to think that the night might turn around for the better. Then the pub quiz started.
Literally every table apart from ours was involved in the quiz. We looked like the only ones there for a meal. The only ones eating. The music stopped and the quiz-master’s voice filled the venue while we ate on. It was excruciatingly embarrassing. Emma had booked this over the phone but nobody had thought to say by the way, do you know there will be a quiz on at that time? Had they done that, we could have booked for a different night.
The main course arrived. We assumed it would be accompanied by the selection of small starters as the terms of the voucher said it would all arrive at once. It did all arrive at once, but what we got was one starter. This was not what the voucher had led us to believe we’d be getting. Unfortunately, we’d handed the voucher in at that point so we couldn’t reread the terms until we got home.
The meal itself. First, the good. The haggis samosa was pleasantly spiced and well cooked. However the chicken in my Chicken Tikka Masala was overcooked and dry, and the meal didn’t have enough rice. Emma’s main was a Vegetable Bahji, which was nice enough but had far too much rice. It was all quite ordinary and a bit of a let-down.
With the quiz going on around us, and being stuck in our little corner, we opted not to wait for a dessert and followed our instincts to leave as soon as we could.
We really wanted to like Crossing the Rubicon. The selection of beers at the bar are really impressive, with three casks on at a time, and all of them very reasonably priced. Sadly, the service was below par, the food disappointing, the voucher misleading and being stuck in the middle of a pub quiz was an avoidable disaster. All in all, a big let down.
The desire to leave quickly and the gruffness of one of the waitresses meant that we didn’t want to raise the issues on the night. My wife did leave them feedback but we didn’t hear back from them.
Crossing the Rubicon is at 372 Great Western Road, Glasgow G4 9HT.
After posting this, I received a tweet from Crossing the Rubicon asking me to phone them. I did, thinking they maybe wanted to apologise. They said that they “wanted to go through the review with me” over the phone. I asked them to contact me in writing. After further correspondence, I got this:
Hi there, I’m sorry that you felt your experience was disappointing, we have taken your comments on board and we will be sure to inform bookings of the quiz on Sunday, with that being said, we do advertise the quiz on all of our social platforms every week. I’m sorry we didn’t live up to your expectations, we are more of a bar than a restaurant so I apologise if there was confusion in that respect, I do hope you will come back in and give us another go when you are looking for a more of a casual night out and I’ll be sure to look after you. Thanks
As apologies go, it’s pretty poor. I don’t see any acknowledgement of the bad service or disappointing food. I’m particularly annoyed at the “we are more of a bar than a restaurant so I apologise if there was confusion in that respect” comment. They advertised their voucher in the restaurant part of itison, and the voucher was for a meal. If there was ‘confusion’ then it’s clear to see why. They’re basically saying that if you want to go out for a romantic meal, avoid Crossing the Rubicon.