Oh lord, I just really don't know where to even start with this one. I don't really like to give negative reviews of anywhere, and especially not places in my home town because I love it here and I want everyone to come and enjoy it - but I was invited here and honestly so much happened that I felt like I needed to talk about it. It's not all bad, but Katy came with me and I think I can pretty confidently say that neither of us would ever go back, with (in my opinion) just cause. So, let me tell you about a night out at Empire last week.
Empire is on Seel Street, and so they're competing against some of the best - Alma De Cuba is the mecca of cocktails and their door is right opposite, Brewdog has burgers like you wouldn't believe and they're a three minute walk away; to make it on Seel Street, you have to really create something special, it has to be a bit of everything. Having seen the menu, stalked their twitter and seen the outside of the restaurant - I really thought that Empire might have it. Edgy? Check. Vegan options? Check. Good location? Undoubtedly. So what was the issue?
Well when we arrived - we had no clue what we were doing and so we head over to the guy with the clipboard; he couldn't find us on the list, was incredibly unhelpful and with no information whatsoever sent us off to sit down whilst his coworkers giggled around him in a way that generally just made Katy and I feel really, really uncomfortable. After sitting down with menus we ordered drinks (although we had to ask for drinks menus in the first place) and sat to talk. I say talk, but I really mean shout because this place doesn't seem to switch the music down when it's in restaurant mode, and it was like sitting in the middle of a club eating my tea. All a bit strange, if I'm honest with you.
After looking through everything we ordered the Meat Lovers board with steak, chicken goujons, mixed kebabs, salad and cous cous and we also ordered a side of salt and pepper chips. I have to give it to them, the food was genuinely amazing - the salt and pepper chips were perfect, we enjoyed trying new things and considering the board was a sharing board we did end up leaving some as we were full. The drinks were also pretty good, but you're paying a top cocktail price at anywhere from about £7 upwards. Also, ask for side plates, because even though the food is pretty messy and you're literally sharing from a board in the middle of the table, nobody gave us or (it seemed from looking around) anybody else side plates without us asking.
In the end, although we enjoyed the food we didn't even spend a full hour there as we just really didn't like the atmosphere. The food was great - but if you're looking for somewhere to actually chat to friends with helpful staff, I'm not sure this is the one for you.
Contains a meal provided for PR purposes however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.