Half full or half empty restaurant?


You walk into a restaurant at 5.30pm on a Saturday, with an eye for a garlic bread, a Diavola pizza and a double helping of profiteroles, all washed down with a pint of Peroni, a bottle of Chianti and a Jamaican coffee. And hey presto, there’s only one table of four people in there – bingo! Dinner is on!

Not necessarily so…

At 6pm there may be tables booked, further tables booked at 6.30pm and then again at 7pm. If you are seated at 5.30pm, you therefore take the table of someone who has pre-booked a table within the next 90 mins. And even if the tables were all vacant until 7pm, a 90 minute window is less than most people take for a three course meal, with wine and coffee (especially if they make a special couples’ visit to the toilets between courses – but that’s a whole new blog post…).

So why are we making this point?

A recent Saturday teatime saw a group of customers arrive, without a booking, and sit themselves down; napkins on lap and beaming at the fillet steak on the menu. Unfortunately, it’s rarely we have a Saturday night that isn’t booked up in advance – which we explained. The response was along the lines of “it doesn’t look very full to us” – which is a fair comment – it was empty.

We therefore realise that the logistics of restaurant bookings aren’t quite as transparent as we have taken for granted. We hope this helps explain why we aren’t being difficult intentionally, and avoids a repeat of staff being deemed arseholes if we turn customers away, which we try not to do.

Logistics is also the reason why you’ll more often than not get a long pause when you ring up and ask if we have space – as the cogs turn and we work out who, what, where and when. The author of this post is particularly guilty of this…

Bookings in advance is required for all days. This isn’t just due to being full, but also so that we can serve you more quickly by the restaurant having the appropriate food preparation and waiting staff in place. It’s a fine balance of juggling staff provision with expected customer numbers. Sundays is a real culprit of this – it’s very variable. It can go from a table of one, sitting without food and drowning their sorrows into a cup of warm milk, to eight tables of four all rocking up at once, just as we’ve sent a waitress home.

So please book in advance. We hope we’ve helped give an understanding of why this is helpful and that you will forgive any Sunday where you’ve had to wait a little longer to be served, due to one waitress holding fort: pouring pints whilst decorating a cheesecake, answering the phone whilst serving food, and taking your order whilst throwing a parmesan shower over the meals on the neighbouring table.

Routes to book: 01625 573898 or via www.briscola.co.uk

Footnote: we appreciate that there is a Christmas tree in the photo – but today it has snowed like Lapland in December, so it felt quite fitting…


Embracing the Gluten-free Carbs


The Gluten-free traffic is increasing through Briscola, with honks of “I wish I’d known earlier”. And so, our gut-friendly gluten-free blog is born.

Regardless of intolerance, allergy, weight-watching or stomachs that inflate like gym balls at the mere whiff of gluten, we are happy to provide ‘free-from’ dishes. So where do we hide these dishes on our menu? We don’t: take anything you’d like from any of our menus, and we’ll do our best to muster up a gluten-free version. Lasagne and cannelloni requests are best made in advance, but we have gluten-free pasta, pizza bases and breads at the ready for the other options on the menu. And this goes for take-out and buffets too – you can enjoy the food on you sofa in the company of such TV gems as Tattoo Fixers, or to comfort you at your desk whilst you attempt to survive a 17 page Excel spreadsheet creation in a 20 minute time slot. No one needs bowel irritation amidst such activities.

The feedback is good – our pizza base rivals the one that is gluten-friendly and we have had new customers on the back of its recommendation. We have also considered those who are solely wheat-intolerant, and recently added a barley risotto to our specials board – which has been well-received.

Dairy-free diners, do not feel neglected – we can whip up an almond and coconut latte no problem. And we have vegan cheese and soya cream braced for your arrival (we can adapt sauces as well as drinks with this). So carb-lovers, do not feel you have to leave your vegan or celiac friends or partners behind or sneak crafty take-outs on the quiet. Come as a party of mixed dietary requirements and fill your table with an array of dishes to feed your gluten-loving or gluten-intolerant palettes.

Any more requests – let us know, we always welcome a gap in the unmet market and are keen to make everyone feel welcome.

Written by Millionaire Waitress

Please see more details about our restaurant or book via www.briscola.co.uk 



For those expecting an article on anything other than freshly ground coffee, we confirm this is a purely a coffee-bean-grinding-themed post.

A recent conversation held in the Happy Valley was around the popularity that a coffee house might attract – for walkers, parents off work, and those wanting a take-out caffeine boost. This triggered another realisation that we have another area of Briscola that we need to promote: not only do we do take-out coffees, but we are happy for the bar area to be used as a lunchtime/afternoon coffee bar, and we have a mean coffee grinder to deliver really good coffees.

We have coffees to suit all: decaf, soya milk lattes, almond milk cappuccinos, rocket-fuel espressos, Irish, Gaelic, Jamaican Blast, Napoleon, Calypso, Italian and Russian. These can be served in-house with an accompanying Nutella cheesecake, after a fresh salad lunch or we can whip up a liqueur coffee to take up White Nancy – now we’re talking.

If we can drum up the ‘coffee-bar’ trade then we can certainly look at opening early one day a week to deliver a morning service to those who would like it. We can see a ‘cosy Café Del Mar’ set-up working nicely, with some chill out music and a few rustic candles. This could be an ‘instant’ success (sorry…).

Our grinder is too much of an unknown treasure – so please go forth and spill the beans. Everyone is welcome in for a coffee, and there’s no obligation to buy a meal.

With best wishes and a large serving of Affogato,


Written by Millionaire Waitress