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This time, The Phoenix London doesn't rise

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I rarely, if ever post comments about bad experiences I've had at restaurants and the like, but this one i just can't seem to shake. It's just stuck rattling around in the back of my mind. One of those nights, you can never get back.

In planning a very special trip from the US to London with my mother, I spent much time mulling over just the right restaurants for the occasion. I say very special trip because, my mother who is of failing health, has quite likely now, made her last visit to London. My passion for food and dining, is only surpassed by hers. We only had 3 nights, and I wanted to make each one count.

So after much deliberation, I made reservations at a pair of the finest, and most traditional restaurants London has to offer, Rule's and Wilton's. Which thanks to this board, both were beyond stellar. That left one night open.

For the third night, we decided on something a bit more casual and homey. As we were staying at The Rubens Hotel at Buckingham Palace, right around the corner from The Phoenix, I made a point of scouting it out ahead of time as to get an idea of what it had to offer. It seemed perfect. Decent reviews, a pub downstairs for a starter, and a warm cozy dining room upstairs to have our supper. I should have known something was wrong, when the booking website was wide open for a Saturday night.

Long story, well not short, we arrived at our designated 8:30 reservation only to be informed that the dining room upstairs was pre-booked for a private function, and that only the downstairs "dining room" was available. The downstairs dining room consisting of approximately 5 tables in the breezy back of the pub, next to the garden... "garden" as in smoking area.

In addition, the menu for the upstairs dining room looked very nice when I had done my previous recon. Far from the pub menu offered downstairs, and also were quickly informed by the server that only a portion of which was available. Not at all what I had hoped for, nor what we signed up for.

I wish I could comment on the food, but at that point we were so disappointed, we walked back to the hotel in the rain for our supper.

Life is short. Every day and every meal counts.

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