Friday, 2 December 2011

Cardamom Black Opening

I was invited to attend the opening of Cardamom Black in Harrogate yesterday evening.  I wasn't told much about the event in the invitation to it, and assumed it would be a smallish gathering of press/bloggers etc.  It was actually an evening of shmoozing and being seen for the Harrogate Glitteratti.

We arrived at Cardamom Black and patiently waited to give our names and be told what was happening.  It was absolutely heaving in the bar area, so we were asked to go upto the restaurant and find a seat and told that food would be served at 8pm.  

I walked into the main restaurant and was amazed at how sparkly and lavish it was.

The restaurant area filled up very quickly and a large, noisy group sat next to us.  Phil went to get us some drinks and we chatted and enjoyed a few canapés.  We were also entertained by a magician, and I almost saw some dancing until it became too crowded to see!  

8pm came and went and I decided to head to the bar and ask the girl from the PR agency what was happening.

I waited for at least 15 minutes at the bar, and was completely ignored whilst other people's orders were taken.  I was a bit annoyed by that, but being short it can happen quite a lot to me.  I had a word and found out it would be a buffet that was being served.

A buffet when there's at least 300 people at the opening - chances of there still being food there after queueing for an age - slim to none.

The owner tried to give a speech, which I really wanted to listen to and find out more, but he was drowned out by the group next to us talking loudly, and most of the rest of the room talking.  Incredibly rude in my book especially considering everyone was eating and drinking for free.  Very disrespectful.

That was the final straw for me, and after a brief trip to the incredibly posh, glamorous loos I decided to leave.   I can't deny that the atmosphere and buzz about the place was great, but it seemed that people were there more to be seen and schmooze than actually find anything out about the restaurant, or be bothered about the food.

The restaurant interior is probably the most bling I've ever seen a restaurant interior be, it certainly has the wow factor.  I can image it would be very good for weddings and functions.  I would have loved to have tried some food but really couldn't face a chaotic queuing session, or put up with the crowds for any longer.  I think it was a bit of a wasted opportunity for me really, if I'd known what it was actually going to be I possibly wouldn't have gone.  But I suppose I should learn from that and ask more questions about what's going to be happening!  That being said I hope I'm not sounding ungrateful for the invitation. I'm always very honoured to be contacted and invited to events.

Best of luck to the owners of Cardamom Black, I hope the restaurant is a fabulous success and that everyone who enjoyed the hospitality and generosity last night become regular customers.

Update - I reviewed Cardamom Black in January 2012 


  1. What a shame! Sounds like an amazing place though

  2. Thanks for your review!Personally, I thought that the launch was a disaster; there was huge q's for drinks; yes it was complimentary but everyone was waiting around in the q for around 45 mins for bar staff to serve draft beer! (they were not allowed to serve a bottled beer which was beautifully displayed in their bars).

    Only tried one canapé, they did not provide a napkin/wipe so people had nothing to wipe their hands with.

    I did not dare to give my coat to the staff to look after as the poor staff members were struggling with the volume already!

    I thought that this was badly organised and a shame really as this should have been their biggrand opening!

    To give them the benefit of doubt, I went again next day to ask for a menu with a view to having a dinner that same Friday night;however at 3pm the menus were not ready; staff mentioned that they were being delivered from Manchester.
    Yes the place looked a mllion dollars but down to the nitty gritty details it did not deliver on its big showcase night. Yes real shame.

  3. The opening night was great. There were about 400 guests, but they handled everything very nicely. That's true that the bar was too busy. It was worthy waiting in the que for food. Because all of the dishes were delicious. I wonder how they provided so many dishes for so many people. Next day i went to the restaurant again. I had seafood mix for starter. It was the best seafood starter i have ever eaten. I will go to cardamom black again next week with my friends. Harrogate had been waiting for this restaurant.

  4. I ate there the other night with friends and although the food was really good, I was put off by the temperature of the restaurant (cold), how slow the staff were, we had to request everything at least twice, took 45 minutes to get a table and it was very quiet, red wine was freezing, coke flat, so very disppointed especially when the food is so good.

  5. @Karen G - the venue is AMAZING!

    @anon 1 - I think the opening event was just a bit too chaotic, lots of people. I got the impression that a lot more turned up than were expected which is unfortunate - but good for the restaurant. I hope you do visit again to try the food.

    @anon 2 - Really glad you enjoyed the opening, I'm not very good with crowds, they tend to panic me a bit. I'll go with the seafood mix as starter when I go next month based on your recommendation - thanks!

    @anon 3 - That's a shame you didn't have a good experience, remember they're just starting out though and finding feet - I'd give them another chance to impress you after they've been open for a bit longer.

  6. @anon 2 - You were right mate. The seafood starter IS delicious. I tried the dish called Chicken Malai Curry. I have to say it was spot on. Yummy! Those who like creamy dishes, have to try this dish. Nearly every weekend my friends and me go to new restaurants. I have to admit, I have never seen such a gorgeous restaurant like Cardamom Black before. They just started and as a start they are doing really well. Wish you very very good luck Cardamom Black.

  7. Omg these guys are just amazing went last weekend and what a turn around really trying to iron out these problems it was out of this world!!!!!!!! food/decor/service everything spot on, well done! highly recommend x


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