Memorandum by the Parliamentary Press
We have been asked as the two members of the
Press Gallery Catering Sub-committee to let you have our views
of the Press Gallery catering facilities.
Nothing is perfect but we think the food and
arrangements in the Dining Room are of a high standard and good
value is provided. The bar is popular and well used, with probably
the only complaint being the lack of real ale.
Difficulties arise in the canteen where the
main problem is in the quality of the hot meals which in the view
of many of our members is so low that they prefer to eat elsewhere.
Many go to the Adjournment canteen in Portcullis House, others
to the Terrace canteen or to the House of Lords staff canteen
where the hot meals are invariably tastier, crisper and usually
of greater variety.
It may be that the kitchen facilities in the
Press Gallery are not as good as in the other places mentioned.
It may be for another reason but the Press Gallery food is often
boring, bland or only warm when it should be hot. There seems
to be a considerable problem about maintaining freshness. After
about 1.15 pm the dishes on offer, particularly the vegetables,
start to seem stale.
The pasta meals are normally stodgy and the
fish unappetising. When shepherd's pie and steak and kidney or
mushroom pie are served, however, they are usually good. The salads,
lamentable until about a month ago, are considered to have improved
The dessert courses are normally of about the
same variety and quality as those served in the other canteens.
We would like to stress that we have no complaints
whatsoever about any of the serving staff who are the people we
see. All are courteous, good-humoured and efficient.
Many of our members would also like to see the
Press Gallery canteen in particular kept open during Parliamentary
Nigel Morris, Mike Steele
19 March 2002