Having heard of the March special at the Normanby Hotel from BrisvEGustation, there was no way I could resist trying it out whilst the meals were on sale. Having heard from a colleague that it would be best to go during a weekday when it was less busy. With this advice in mind, I went on a Wednesday after work. Expecting it to be somewhat more quiet, it took quite a while before we could find a park.
We lined up at the counter to put our order down. Whilst the line wasn't especially long (maybe 4-5 people in front of us), by the time we got to order, the staff advised us that the wait for food would be an hour. Service was also noticeably blunt, with counter-staff being a bit snappy, impatient and completely devoid of friendliness.
Putting our order in was only the beginning of our trouble, as almost all tables were taken and the remainder were reserved. Having heard that Bovine was essentially an indoor area serving food from the same kitchen, we wandered in to try our luck to get a table. Lining up at the counter (as the sign indicated), and despite being the only one waiting to be served staff loitered nearby without acknowledging me for around five minutes (whilst I tried in vain to get their attention). Eventually we told them our predicament and were given a table that was promised to be wiped down. Unfortunately the crumbs and half eaten piece of pasta remained on our table for the rest of the evening, along with the faint lingering scent of vomit.
Our meals eventually came after 40 minutes, which was an improvement on our expected 60 minutes, and by that time we were famished. My first companion ordered the Eye Fillet, cooked medium with mushroom sauce. Cutting into it, she was quite disappointed to see that the steak was cooked quite well done, even in the centre. Having said that, the steak was still reasonably tender, but the sauce was quite bland and strangely chunky and didn't have too much of a mushroom taste to it.
My other companion ordered the Carbonara, which was strangely served with a single spoon. Whilst I understand that they did have a special on, we were a little surprised at the small serving size of the dish, which appeared larger then entree, but hardly enough to be a full sized main. My companion noted that the pasta tasted quite fresh and was quite dense, but unfortunately the bacon was rubbery and chewy, whilst the sauce was quite bland.
I ordered the rib fillet cooked rare with green pepper sauce. Fortunately for me, the steak was indeed cooked rare, but it was still very chewy and difficult to eat. My sauce tasted almost exactly like my companion's mushroom sauce, and it was almost as if the peppers were only added last minute, as I could hardly taste them in the sauce. The beer battered chips were tasty but not too hot and not too crunchy. The salad was quite standard, reasonably fresh and crispy, which was appreciated.