Light tea for Erin as she has school dinners, dinner at 5.30 ish for two hungry growing secondary school children, often before hockey training tutoring or football training. Then I eat when I can before Lee eating at about 7pm if he even sits to eat a main meal. Family meals have become a rarity – not by design but just by practicalities. Therefore we do enjoy the occasions where we can enjoy a family meal out. It is a chance to sit together, to chat and enjoy a meal as a family. We know it is important to have this family time but as children get older I think it gets harder. When they were little we often ate together and valued that time.
Therefore Sunday evening meals has become the time we try to eat together and we were recently invited down to Gloucester Quays to have a three course meal at Bella Italia. Gloucester Quays has become a great place to head to in the evenings, it is Gloucester’s best quarter for leisure and eating out. There is a multi screen cinema complex and a number of bars and restaurants. It is a bright, well presented and friendly and we enjoy popping down for an evening.
Our table was booked for 5.30pm as it was a school night and Erin needed to be in bed by 7.30 otherwise she would be tired in the morning. We arrived at Bella Italia and were shown to a table, the restaurant was comfortably busy but not heaving and we were looking forward to our food. The menus were delivered and the we spent a few minutes choosing before ordering our starters and mains. Erin was eating off the children’s menu but the rest of us from the main menu.
Our starters arrived and were well presented and very yummy. I opted for mushrooms which is my preferred starter and I was not disappointed, it arrived hot and fresh and I really enjoyed it. Chloe, Dylan and Lee all opted for chicken wings.
Then our experience started to unravel somewhat. The main meals did not arrive for another 35 mins which is too long for a family meal. Around us I began to notice other tables waiting. Again when the food arrived it was delicious, there are no complaints about the food. I had a tasty prawn and pasta dish, whilst the children had ribs.
The table next to us waited for an hour for their meals and as we chatted they were getting more annoyed. They spoke to the on duty manager who did take their drink off the bill as a form of apology for the wait and the same was done for the table behind us. After eating our mains the table was cleared but no desert menus offered. After 15 minutes I asked for them. We each chose our deserts but no one came to take our order until I called them over. We eventually ordered, but yet again waited over 25 minutes for the ice-creams. Erin’s didn’t even arrive which our server did not notice and I had to call them back to rectify it, it was because they had run out of brownies apparently – which I know can happen at all restaurants in busy times. It was a shame as the service really let the evening down. The food was good and were all enjoyed our meals but we didn’t expect to still be sitting in the restaurant over 2 hours after arriving. I hope that they can quickly iron out the obvious staffing issues as Bella Italia is a good addition to The Quays and has the potential to be a great night out.