New head chef Vikas Khanna, whom Mr. Ramsay tapped to head up the kitchen, personally presented a plate of ginger-infused lamb chops with blueberry chutney, which, despite my dining companion’s visual aversion—and a serving size nearly as skimpy as her tiny tandoori shrimps—proved surprisingly flavorful.
The hostess, meanwhile, spent most of the hour perched at her stand, staring blankly out at the street.
Passing by later around 10 p.m., every table was empty.
The near total lack of Friday-night patronage even fell short of Mr. Hyde’s own slim predictions—a far cry from the “sought-after venue” Mr. Ramsay attempts to create, according to the show’s casting notice, which is included in court records.
To be fair, Dillons—er, Purnima—was in pretty bad shape before Mr. Ramsay arrived, Mr. Hyde admitted.
After years of serving Irish-style fare—“hamburgers, steak, shepherd’s pie, fish ’n’ chips,” he said—management decided last October to shake things up, hiring an outside consultant to help remake the place into an Indian-style eatery. “New chefs were brought in, new menus,” Mr. Hyde said.
The changes, he alleged, only chased away Dillons’ regulars, and few new customers have shown up to replace them. The consultant, as well as three chefs, were fired just days before Mr. Ramsay’s arrival.
Ironically, it was Mr. Hyde who practically begged ownership to enlist the help of Mr. Ramsay and his cameras in the first place. “I was naïve,” he said. “I’m thinking, ‘Hallejuah! Gordon Ramsay is gonna come in and save the day!’”
“As bad as it was, it was never this bad,” added Mr. Hyde, who is now looking for a new job.
“When the show airs—if it airs—in September, that’s when there will be a lot more things going on,” said the restaurant’s publicist, Amy Krakow.
“I’d like to see it air,” Ms. Krakow added. “I’m sitting here with a chef and a restaurant and an owner who don’t have enough people in there. I’d like to see it air soon so people can come in and taste the food.”
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