Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wow - we're in such great company!

Head Chef James & Sous Chef Adam with their paper that says proud to be supporting EJC
I thought as I sit here working and listening to Michael Buble  (have I mentioned I'm going to the O2 in a fortnight to see him, oh yes, maybe a dozen times!!) I thought I would write and tell you all about the work we've been doing with the  Environmental Justice Campaign.

We've been taking part in this campaign for the last month, so let me take a few minutes to tell you what it's about;
Throughout June, and in celebration of World Ocean’s Day on 8th June, ourselves and many other VERY prestigious Restaurants have been offering our  diners the opportunity to engage with the campaign through a £1, €1 or 10HKD donation, raising essential funds for a new surveillance vessel to help stop the pirates in some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable nations, eradicating illegal fishing that is decimating marine environments.

We were approached by Paul Davies the Events Manager to see if we would like to take part in this. To be honest, we didn't think twice about saying yes. We know how much we rely on fish in our Pub (particularly in the summer where I think the fish contribution to the menu is around 70%) and whilst we endeavour to obtain all our fish locally, we are keen to show our commitment to sustainability worldwise. So it was a real thrill to be asked to take part in this.

A £1 donation has been added to diners eating with us and it's been quite warmly received by our customers. Yes, there have been a few who have declined from giving £1 but it is absolutely down to personal choice and we have put no pressure on guests - I may well have muttered privately mind you! It's also relied upon staff putting the £1 on the bill...............!!!  Anyway, some days it's only been a few pounds, but others it's been really good - so I'm hoping at the end of the month we'll be able to write a handsome cheque.

So just who are some of the other establishments taking part in the UK?? Well how about Viajante in London (look it up - its fab!) Tom Aikens restaurant (sigh.....) and Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond.  As well as many other fantastic UK restaurants and also in Hong Kong and France!!

We hope if you are one of our customers and YOU donated, you realise what a great cause you gave to - you may just have helped make a difference to our Sea's sustainability! Thank you!!

If you want to know even more, here is the EJC website;

Liz X

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Busy, busy & busy!

Firstly congratulations to Sue & Trefor (it IS spelt with an F!) above who celebrated their Golden Wedding with us on Saturday. Well, themselves and  friends and family - with a great time had by all. I do so love working functions such as this as it always gives me a thrill to give customers a great event to be remembered - hopefully, for all the right reasons!

On top of that we had a full pub downstairs as well as a few hardy individuals braving the elements in the garden, so a busy, busy Saturday night indeed.

The weather is playing havoc in knowing how the staff levels are going to work out, but we're getting a bit steadier so hopefully we've got the rota's right! We're starting to get our students back - the lovely Austin is here - this year with curly hair and a motorbike! Sam is also here - taller than ever but still as handsome. Sadly, the lovely Alex won't be here this summer but he's managed to get an internship - so his future career is really important to him - but we have his younger brother George as a 'runner'. Our very young 'runners' have almost finished their exams so they are chirpier and look less worried about life. Our staff numbers are growing and growing as the business continues to grow, and its one part of the job that I absolutely adore - the staff! I like to think of each and every one of them as members of a special and unique family.

A customer actually spoke to me on Saturday as I was doing my weekly job of arranging the flowers. She said she'd seen me on many occasions and that she was always impressed how I worked with the staff and how I treated them - she did in fact think one of them was my daughter. Don't get me wrong, I can and do occasionally come down sharp with them, but its because I genuinely want them to be the best they can, for themselves and of course, our business. But on the whole we all get on really well, and in fact the amount of repeat summer staff and our retention levels must mean we are doing it ok??? Some of my favourite times are at the end of a busy shift and the pub is emptying and we may sometimes have a small drink and a bit of a laugh. The same in the kitchen - we usually have a bit of a 'post-mortem' on the in's and out's of the day.

In fact when I visit other establishments I am almost always comfortably re-assured at how well we ARE doing! I've been in Manchester this week for 2 days - I went to the Robbie Williams concert - and my goodness, I do wonder how some business's continue to exist. Dirty tables in the pubs, dirty glasses and couldn't give a shit staff!! In particular a large chain of pub was absolutely filthy!! The hotel we stayed at served me a Gin & Tonic in a glass that frankly I would have given the drink for free if it had been in the Vic and I had seen the state of the glass - and to be honest the barman couldn't have cared less - 'Its the glass washer'!!  No it bloody well isn't, it's you!!  Ok, climbs off soap box, but really, it gives our industry a terrible bad name.

Also, say what you like, but places such as Costa have got it so very right in terms of customer service, when on the other hand Debenhams sent me to 3 different changing rooms because they were short-staffed!! Aarrghhhh!!

Anyway, it's Portsmouth for me next weekend to see my lovely family, and then the week after that its my Michael Buble concert with some lovely girl friends at the 02 arena. You know the one?? The one where OH said we couldn't afford to bid for the Buble tickets at The Savoy, but we did and I danced round the Ballroom of the Savoy because I was so ecstatic!! And ever so slightly tipsy!

Then, it should be into the summer trade full on - so no more trips for a good couple of months. Well, that's the plan!!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Dragons and Snow

Good morning world! Sorry for not having posted for a little while but SOH and myself have had a holiday and also when back home we've been incredibly busy - Whitsun Half Term.
So a weird title for todays blog - Dragons and Snow - don't you think?? But actually it just reflects this amazing Storytelling we did again this holiday.  Our great best friend Mark Fraser is a hugely talented Author/Illustrator and he puts on interactive book reading sessions, of which the Dragon is part of it and the snow is a large Duvet he puts over the children.  Our garden was ringing out to shouts of children being pirates and adults laughing at being roped in to play musical instruments and make noises of the sea.............. don't ask, you had to be there to appreciate it! SOH also played his part in being Boggs the Waiter who said a lot of yes, M'lord, doffed his top hat and not a lot else. Great fun and we hope to do it all over again during the summer holidays. If you want to read a bit more about him, here is his website:

The sea washing over the children!!
So yes, we've been incredibly busy, hitting record meal figures on Whit Monday.  We are just so proud of our staff who worked so hard and helped make everything flow so wonderfully!

Summer menus are written and ready to swing into action on a couple of weeks, and all summer staff are in place ready to help cope with the surge of customers we are all hoping to receive.

I never realised there was so much paperwork involved in being a publican, and poor SOH seems to be chained to the desk these days, but there seems to be more and more administration to this job every day............ hateful tasks, but so vital. Personally, I'm happy to leave him to it and look after customers and staff!

The garden is looking good and our new summer baskets are in place - we've gone for the trailing plants again as they look so gorgeous when grown. On that note, I'm just off to the Garden Centre for a few more plants.