Meals at St Thomas’ Hospital, London
Lambeth, Greater London SE1 7, UK
I have been away from this blog for almost two months! Time flies! The reason of this absence is the arrival of my beautiful baby daughter who has kept us very busy since her birth. I am slowly recovering from the lack of sleep and I am ready to post again when I find some free time. I have a huge backlog of reviews to post but I will start by an unusual review: the meals at the maternity section at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
St Thomas’ Hospital is superbly located across the River Thames from Westminster and from our room we had a great view over the Houses of Parliament. The food, however, was certainly not great as is the case in most hospitals – but at least there was some compensation with the view. As for the hospital itself, things went eventually well but it was a shame many of the staff we met were not competent, including doctors asking my wife questions in the middle of contractions instead of waiting till they ended or just taking a look at the notes where the answers could be found. Overall I will keep a positive opinion but it is just because of two great midwives, Jennifer and Edith.
Now back to the meals: the post natal ward breakfast menu gives you many choices. You just tick what you require from the menu: fruit juice (apple/orange), muesli, cornflakes, all bran, rice krispies, weetabix, baked beans, scrambled eggs, porridge, wholemeal bread, white bread, wholemeal toast, white toast, butter, flora, marmalade, preserves, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cold milk and hot milk.
Post natal ward breakfast menu
We chose the scrambled eggs with the wholemeal bread and butter. As drinks we had tea and orange juice. The scrambled eggs were terrible. Despite coming covered, they were on the cold side and they tasted of nothing. Cornflakes seemed a safer choice.
The wholemeal bread and the butter were fine, same for the juice and tea. At least we had a great view over Westminster and a new born baby to keep us distracted from the breakfast.
The lunch gave the choice between the traditional dish (breaded fish – fillet of cod coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried), the chefs dish (cumberland sausages with onion gravy), the world dish (lamb curry – diced lamb and vegetable in a mild curry sauce), the vegetarian dish (mixed bean casserole – butterbeans, kidney beans, haricot beans with vegetables in tomato sauce, topped with potato), the sandwich (roast beef and mustard or cheese and coleslaw), the salad (scotch egg and salad). You can also get garden peas, fresh seasonal vegetable, chipped potatoes, creamed potatoes, rice. As dessert, the choice is between the hot sweet (pineapple sponge) and the cold sweet (fruit yoghurt or orange or chocolate mousse).
Cumberland sausages and pineapple sponge
Actually the cumberland sausages were ok. They were on the too-soft side but at least they had some taste. The vegetables were overcooked but ok as well. We had worse later so things are relative here.
The pineapple sponge was not good at all. It had the look of breaded chicken covered by a mild curry sauce and it tasted very artificial. Once again, the view helps not to focus too much on the food.
The supper was bad. It was served fairly early, I do not remember the time now but it was about 5 something. We chose the chefs dish which was the ham omelette and the rice pudding. Below are the other choices:
Ham omelette and rice pudding
The ham omelette was seriously bad. It was very dry and it would have been hard to guess it was a ham omelette had we not been told about it. The rice pudding seemed very good by contrast but I cannot tell if it was good in absolute or by comparison to the omelette.
We were still hungry so in the evening we went to the hospital’s canteen to get more meals as take away for dinner. We chose a chicken curry and a pasta with cheese. Huge mistake… They were horrid and by far the worst meals I had for a very long time. The curry was incredibly bland, same for the pasta. We wished for a Burger King. No kidding. If you are hungry, go to the McDonalds near London Eye (near the London Aquarium) as they are open till late.
The awful chicken curry
We stayed two full days. Actually we were supposed to leave on the second day in the morning but because of administrative mess reasons we left at around 11pm… So we had again the same breakfast the next morning and as for lunch we decided to play safe and to choose a sandwich (it was possible to have a beef casserole, a fish pie, a caribbean beef curry, a bean and vegetable stew instead) with some fresh seasonal vegetable and an apple and berry pie.
Ham and tomato sandwich
The sandwich was ok and the apple and berry pie ok as well. Not sure if we got used to the food at this point LOL.
The supper gave the choice between a shepherds pie, a barbeque chicken (my choice), a bijanlo (spicy African vegetarian dish with beans, tomato, aubergines and potato), a sweet and sour bean and vegetables (butter beans with stir fry vegetables in a fruity sweet and sour sauce), a sandwich and a cheese ploughmans and salad. As dessert I had the bread and butter pudding.
Chicken thighs in barbeque sauce and bread and butter pudding
Barbeque chicken with the view
The barbeque chicken was good, and the barbeque sauce was not even oversweet. The dessert was decent too. It was nice to end our journey to the hospital on a positive note.
Cost and conclusion: thanks to NHS, we had nothing to pay in addition to our income tax. We will not keep a good memory about the food there, but we will certainly remember the superb view we had from our bedroom. As for the staff, in our experience there were many incompetent people and just a few who were good. It is sad these people have to work more to compensate the deficiency of the incompetent.