The only time I’ve been to La Cucina at The Plain/St Clements was about a year ago while I was moving to Oxford. A friend and I went early evening and each had an excellent pizza in a comfortable, lively and friendly atmosphere. Now settled in Headington, Mrs T and I decided we’d go for lunch. Shock horror – it’s closed for a week’s holiday! Damn. It was open when we went past only a few days ago.
Mrs T suggested an old favourite, the Café Noir in Headington. We got there about 12:50. It was busy but there were still a few tables. We sat down and by 12:55 had ordered our meal (main courses only). Half an hour passed. 35 minutes. Now it’s half past one and we’re hungry. Other people were enjoying their food. The waitress came over and said ours would be another 10 to 15 minutes as “the chef had a problem in the kitchen”.
Now you know when the pilot says “we’ll be delayed for 20 minutes but we’ll be off as soon as we can” you can settle down for at least an hour’s wait. We knew that 10 to 15 minutes would almost certainly turn into another half hour before we finally got our food, so we decided to cut our losses and leave. The staff did the right thing and gave us the one glass of wine and bottle of mineral water we’d had while we waited without charge, but we left disappointed and hungry. Café Noir’s loss was Subway’s gain.
Sadly it’s not the first time we’ve had a very long wait in the Café Noir at lunchtime, and it will put us off going again unless we risk it and go very early which is a pity because the food’s good and the people are nice. But they need to get their lunchtime offer sorted out – not many people can afford such a long wait at that time of day.
Still, La Cucina reopens next Tuesday, so we’ll give it a try next week. Here’s hoping.