Friday, June 13, 2008

Sahara deserted

Having successfully persuaded my other half that my new dress needed wearing out, last weekend we decided to brave Oxford on a Saturday night and dine in style. Being summer and a graduation weekend, The Trout was fully booked, so we tried Sahara on several friends' recommendations. It all started out well and good: looked at the website, menu looked tasty, setting was nice, location wasn't too painfully far and involved no awkward parking. Phone up: yes, they definitely have tables free tonight, pick our own time, brilliant. We strut our summery stuff down to Blue Boar Street and walk straight past the place. This happens all the time to me; no worries, double back. No one's there, and I mean no one. Must be the wrong door; try another one. Peer through the window: see a tin of paint and DIY stuff. Hmm.

Phone the number I booked on: "Hi, I'm a little confused as to where you're located"
Helpful guy: "Okay, not to worry: tell me where you are and I'll give you directions"
Polite me: "Well we're stood outside a restaurant called Sahara on Blue Boar Street, but perhaps we have the wrong one..."
No-longer-so-helpful guy: "OH!! Hahahaha...chortle...snigger...etc..."
Slightly annoyed me: "Are we in the wrong place?"
Trying-to-be-apologetic guy: "You're booked in at Reading - we're all ready for you!"

It turns out the restaurant's being used for some TV show - Gordon Ramsey or the like. It's only for one month, and the only way to find this out is to click on a picture of Gordon on the website, which then pops up a little message to tell you. I'm not in the habit of clicking on pictures of Gordons on the net, and there was no mention of it anywhere else or when I phoned. The Oxford calls are being forwarded to Reading, where the guy was delighted to have a table ready for me.

So, rather annoying, but the guy did turn into friendly-and-apologetic guy, even if he didn't offer me a free meal or anything. The upside was that we arrived at
Chiang Mai just in time to sneak in between two reservations, completely unaware of its popularity and respective excellence.

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