Published on March 3, 2014 | by Sean McKee0
Soundtrack Saturdays: Pulp Fiction pop-up brunch
★★★★★It can be difficult to execute a successful themed event. Even harder if you are replicating a classic movie with a cult following. Pop-ups are everywhere right now and this promised to be one of London’s more exciting concepts.
It got off to a promising start as we were greeted by the host dressed as Jules Winnfield, Samuel L. Jackson’s popular character, who was clearly eager to indulge in some Tarantino tomfoolery.
There was a certain level of conviction from the staff. You had waitresses donning the black bobs as a salute to Uma Thurman and dancing along to the movie’s soundtrack, providing an exciting atmosphere as you entered the dimly lit eating area.
A free drink on arrival was a welcome bonus for the admission; at £35 a ticket, hopes were high for an impressive three course meal, as described on the website.
The alcoholic milkshakes on offer were tasty and inventive, served in coffee cups and blended with good quality alcohol. The stand-out choice was ‘the really f***king good milkshake,’ a blend of Bourbon, banana, clotted cream, honey, milk and vanilla ice cream.
Another fun and standout option on the drinks menu came from the ‘adrenaline shot’ provided on entry. A passion fruit vodka mix served up in a syringe made the taste buds tingle and livened up my stomach for the oncoming food – the syringe being a nod to the scene in the film where Thurman’s character is revived from taking cocaine by the adenaline shot to the heart.
The chicken I had chosen appeared to be frozen. It had the texture of something that was reheated a couple of times.
The food is where it all seemed to go downhill. The staff seemed overstretched from the beginning. There appeared to be one waitress, one barman and one drinks waiter for almost 20 tables, including some with very large groups.
This may have only been the launch day, but what unfolded during the service was something I’d never experienced before. After a 30 minute wait, we were eventually served our starters, which were of a substandard level. The chicken I had chosen appeared to be frozen. It had the texture of something that was reheated a couple of times.
Hoping for a more promising main course, I picked what sounded like an incredible burger. ‘Not for the Faint Hearted’ was described as ‘a donut burger with cheese, bacon and a fried egg served in a sugar donut for a meaty caramelised flavour, with a side of hash browns’. Unfortunately, this sat-fat fest never materialised.
After a 60-minute wait we, as well as other diners, began to question the bizarre service of one diner being served at a time. Starving hungry, we began to question the staff about the reasons for the wait. A simple apology was given, but no explanation. The staff did their best but it was obvious the delay was out of their hands, and we put it down to the possibility that there was only one chef. Another free ‘adrenaline shot’ did nothing to alleviate the annoyance of waiting on my food, or the grumbling hunger pains in my belly.
Customers’ frustration and disappointing food overshadowed what should have been a light-hearted afternoon for foodies and movie buffs alike.
After another long wait, my friend was served with an overdone burger disguised with a piece of still cold cheese. In the end, I settled for an inferior meal that I hadn’t even ordered, which was barely hot and tasted like something I could have got from any old burger joint. Then, after finishing, I was informed the delay was due to a broken grill.
So incensed by the wait and the pandemonium of the singular waitress trying to make sense of the mess, many diners decided to up and leave after a hugely disappointing first two courses. We decided to follow suit, politely informing the hosts that the two cocktails and bottle of wine we had while waiting for our food was on them.
Customers’ frustration and disappointing food overshadowed what should have been a light-hearted afternoon for foodies and movie buffs alike. Instead, we were left in limbo, represented by a dull and food-less basement room that promised so much and provided so little.
Soundtrack Saturday’s Pulp Fiction pop-up brunch, is located at: Roxx Club, 4 Winsley Street, Soho, W1W 8HF.