Hooters brings All American-junk food to English tables. Rebecca Prescott checks it out.

Since Opening barely a week ago, this eatery has been fully booked every night. ilovecf.com managed to get a table to suss out what all the hype has been about, and whether the food served by these buxom ladies is actually all it’s cracked up to be.

A party of five arrived at about 8 o’clock with hungry stomachs and curious minds. As we enter the Jam packed American-themed diner, your curiosity as to why men would be keen customers is quickly confirmed. Waitresses in red hot pants and barely-there t-shirts scuttle around serving burgers, hot dogs and all things fried to a predominantly male room of customers.

As we are shown to the bench-style table and begin to thaw from the cold a chirpy Hooter waitress takes our drinks order. Nice and efficient I thought, this could be a good evening. While browsing the menu of ‘hootersizers’ (appetisers!), burgers, seafood, and basically anything American-styley, I was imagining the big juicy steak that I had decided on, the food orders were taken.

To start; one portion of tater tots (a bit like potato croquettes) please. After a swift change of decision on one of the starter which were “unavailable”, the new order of onion rings arrived. Crispy on the outside and full of flavour-no complaints here. Then after a twenty-five minute wait, the second starter of tater tots arrived. It all goes downhill after this point. Another drinks order was taken, and another twenty-five minute wait, and a reminder to the waitress, we can finally rehydrate and wait with anticipation for the main courses.

The order: one steak (rare), one portion of boneless chicken wings, two hot dog meals and one smothered chicken burger. What arrived on the table: One rack of ribs, two cold hot dogs, chicken wings on the bone, and yay! the smothered chicken burger. Four out of the five dishes ordered were sent back, and a steak, two still semi-cold hot dogs, and the correct chicken wing order returned. The steak tasted strangely like an old welly and the cold hot dogs had un-melted cheese and raw onion sprinkled on the top. Not impressed.

I have to admit the chips were acceptable, if a little salty, and the chicken wings turned out to be almost tasty. During the confusion, nibbling and picking at the long awaited food the ‘cheerful’ waitresses began performing a rather bizarre dance with each other, rather like when you used to at an old school disco when everyone stands in a line and awkwardly jerks around the dance floor-just weird. To give them credit the waitresses are friendly enough and happy to rectify their errors, however I would far rather have less of the fake smiles, and a more efficient service.

So meals half-heartedly eaten, the bill arrives twenty-five minutes later (and another reminder to the waitress) at a cost of £95.40. At this point I felt the need to speak to the manager. A lovely, if a little stressed looking gentlemen arrived at the table and I explained the problems which occurred during the meal. Thankfully, he deducted 50% from the bill. If this had not happened the whole evening would have been even more difficult to swallow... literally. I understand there are going to be a number of teething problems in the first couple of weeks of opening, but if the system they are using is clearly not working, then less bookings should be taken.

I have to say I found the whole experience a little strange. Half naked women serving substandard food with random jigs on the dance floor is just bizarre. I am no prude, but this is not the place I would want to take my family for a meal. Ok, fair enough, it is called Hooters, the name gives it away, but that is no excuse for the poor quality of food. Surprisingly, when speaking to the bouncer he explained that the customer base was mainly “couples either on their first date or long-term relationships, and we actually get a lot of families here.” I think I would have to disagree. I did not witness any of these people while I was ‘dining’ there.

So why would you want to go to Hooters? If you are male, fancy a drink and willing to wait, maybe things will improve as it becomes more established, but I won’t be returning.

To summarise - FOOD: VERY POOR, SERVICE: FRIENDLY, BUT SLOW, ATMOSPHERE: STRANGE!

Hooters
Mary Ann Street, Cardiff CF10 2EN
Tel: 029 2039 9273
www.hooters.com