This review is for Côte in Bury St Edmunds, a town around 30 minutes from me. The restaurant is located in the older part of Bury St Edmunds town. This is actually the second time I've been to this restaurant, however I wasn't running this wonderful blog back then so I'll post you a review of my second visit.
I'm sure you gathered by the title Côte is a French style restaurant.f
As we (my 4 friends and I) entered the restaurant we were greeted promptly by a smiling waiter, making us feel very welcome. We were booked in, however the restaurant wasn't particularly busy on this quiet Wednesday evening. I noticed that the waiting staff hadn't gotten a table ready for the 5 of us. They didn't seem to have the most accommodating tables for parties larger than 6 or 7. I found it strange that our table wasn't pushed together ready for when we arrived at 7. However afterwards I realised that they were being quite accomodating towards us by asking us where we could prefer to sit. I found this quite refreshing because most of the time you get shown to your table and that's that. However it was nice to have a choice.
We were sat quickly and given a few moments to choose our drinks. Obviosuly we took a long time to choose what we wanted due to chatting and gossiping too much, the waiter was very laid back and laughed telling us he'd come back. It was nice not to feel rushed at all.
The menu was wonderful, it wasn't too large, which is something I always look for when eating out, as I think the more food there is on a menu the more likely it is to be pre-bought and mostly frozen. However the Côte menu gives the choice of a dozen or so excellent sounding dishes.
Our drinks came quickly and so did our food. Nibbles first, followed by our main course. I chose duck breast, and it was a dish so perfect I could have almost cried. Have a look for yourself;
We were asked once how our food was and of course we said it was amazing. Then we were left to our conversation until we had finished. I believe in checking if everything is all right once but no more than that.
We had a nice break between mains and desserts, giving us time to study the menu and make our decision out of the handful of beautiful sounding puddings. The desserts came quickly once we'd ordered them, I choose a praline stuffed crépe with caramelised bananas and I honestly thought I'd gone to dessert heaven.
We spent a good 3 hours at this restaurant which was nice since my friends and I don't get to see each other alot, so it was nice not to be rushed through a meal together.
I've had nothing but positives to say about Côte thus far, however there are a few negatives, and they all occurred when we were paying.
My friends and I split our bill between the 5 of us. It worked out to around £30 per person. As we were getting our money together I noticed that the restaurant had added on its own tip, which is something that makes me so angry about restaurants. I never understood the idea of adding your own tip, and personally I think it's extremely rude. I work in a restaurant myself and we have NEVER included a tip on our bill, however we still recieve a nice amount of tips. Adding a tip on and guilting people into paying it doesn't mean your service was good. It means customers are too nice to ask you to take it off.
We decided to leave the added tip on the bill since we were going to leave one anyway. None of us had sufficient change and we all paid with notes, and decided we would split the change when we got it back. However we waited a while and it became apparent that our waiter had assumed we were leaving our change as a tip on top of the one we'd already been guilted into paying in the first place! I found this extremely presumptious and rude. As much as I'd enjoyed my meal and the entire experience, this did put a dampener on the evening. We left a little shocked and in disbelief of what had just happened.
Overall I do rate this restaurant highly, the staff are friendly, the food is excellent, high class but not too expensive. The entire restaurant spells out sophistication. However I think that the owners of Côte would benefit from rethinking the way they deal with and go about their tipping system. I think that what happened to my friends and I may put some people off coming back again completely.
I would advise you to go and see what you think! No matter what the food will be worth it.
What do you think of tips being included in bills? Let me know in the comments.