East Coast, First class, Edinburgh to London
RATING: Food (all-day menu) 3; Drinks 4; Service 3 (variable); Ambience 3; Toilets 1 (generally a mess); Website 2.5; TOTAL 16.5/30
It’s hard to criticise when you receive regular refreshments and a food offer at up to 120mph on trains which are sometimes packed. There should also be some serious consideration in the food offering made for those with food allergies. Basically, there should be alternatives and the staff trained sufficiently to be aware of diet problems. Staff should be trained to cope when it comes to complaints. Recently, a door jammed which meant the carriage, particularly for those near the door, was freezing. On another, the guard admitted he switched off the power to a carriage which then meant that laptops and phones could not be recharged. I was forced to move as I needed to communicate. So, what about the food? Sandwiches vary. Recently, it was hot smoked salmon with a creamy lemon, dill and chive mayonnaise and peppery rocket on oatmeal bread. Or, free-range egg sandwich with a creamy seasoned mayonnaise and tarragon, Cheshire cheese and cucumber slices on malted bread. Note, the word creamy in both. Lactose intolerant people were forced to look elsewhere. Also, why, oh why, was tarragon added to the egg sandwich. It did not work and detracted from the overall taste. The British chicken breast served with South African style spicy Chimichurri sauce, mixed leaf salad and bread was, thankfully, packed with flavour The other alternative was a puff pastry parcel filled with chestnut, closed cup and field mushrooms in a rich cream sauce with fresh thyme served with mixed leaf salad. Not for lactose intolerant people. So three out of four were out and what about the orange macaroon cake. Was it gluten free? Invariably, they run out of bananas and the only alternative is an apple. Overall, this is not good enough if you are paying for first class.