Dave’s View: Andrea and I have opposite polarizing auras if there is such a thing as an aura. I usually have the negative aura and Andrea has the positive. I have the negative aura most of the time because I can handle it, while Andrea on the other hand, simply can’t hold a negative aura and can’t use it to her advantage. This situation happened at MacNiven’s Restaurant last week.
We entered one of the few open aired bars in the city and sit down. It’s a nice establishment with Scottish flags and pictures of Scotland that adorned the walls. Another added feature of the place is the squeaky floor boards. When you walk on them, its like you’re walking on floor boards that have been there for over 300 years. It’s like they took a bar from Scotland and teleported it to downtown Indianapolis. A very authentic Scottish pub feel. This restaurant had a very positive aura until the service started.
The service here is just plain slow. I can understand if the place was packed, but it wasn’t. Our waitress, I think was having a “bad” day. Now, I don’t know what happened to her this day, but she brought it to work and spread it to all of her patrons, including me. Definitely to Andrea. I shook it off, Andrea did not. She can’t handle negative auras. I try to take people for who they are and not judge. We’ve all had our bad days at work and we are oblivious to the ones that surround us. This is what happened with our waitress. For some reason it took her over ten minutes to brings us our drinks. It wasn’t busy in the restaurant and it was a simple draft beer and a white wine. Again, our waitress, not necessarily a bad waitress, was just extremely slow.
We order an appetizer. The Haggis Sampler. I’ve never had Haggis, so we ordered the sampler to test it. If you’ve never had Haggis, it’s sort of like a ”meat smear.” There are many people out there who do not like “meat smears”, Andrea is one of them. Haggis is heart, liver, and lungs of pigs, cattle, or sheep mixed with oatmeal and spice. I know it sounds bad, but it’s not. The heart, liver and lung are chopped up finely and when you place it on the rye bread it spreads like semi-chunky peanut butter. The taste is meaty and there is a bit of a spice you can taste, but it’s not an appetizer that is extraordinary. If you never had it, take the adventure. Andrea took the adventure, she hated it, but she took the adventure. That is all that matters.
For the main dish, I had the Mince N’ Tatties. It’s Scotland version of Shepherd’s pie, but without the pie. Beef, onion, and carrots stewed in thick sauce served on the side with mashed potatoes(tatties) and mashed turnips(neeps). The mince part had a nice spice and potatoes were well cooked. The neeps on the other hand, were lacking taste and quite dull. Overall, not a bad dish, but nothing that stood out. Take the restaurant as a whole and that’s what you’ll find out: Nothing stands out… except a bad aura.
Food: 7 Service: 6 Ambiance: 9.25 Total: 22.25 out of 30
$35-$45 with adult beverages. This is an over 21 bar. Minors are not allowed.
Andrea’s View: Tell me if this has ever happened to you. You go on vacation or a business trip out-of-town, and one evening you stop in at a bar a couple of blocks away from your hotel. You walk in, and everyone stops and stares at you with the dreaded, “What are you doing in our bar” look. This is exactly how I felt at MacNivens. I felt like I had walked into the wrong bar in the wrong city and I could not get out fast enough. We were ignored when we walked in, and our server never smiled. She even acted like we were speaking a foreign language. Now, I had some misgiving about MacNivens before we even went, so maybe this experience was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Dave and I have traveled to both England and Ireland, and the food is pretty bland, boring, and at times, downright dreadful. Why would I think Scottish food would be any different? We started with the haggis sampler, and I ordered the sausage roll for my entrée. First off, for those not familiar with haggis, it is ground up heart and liver mixed with oats and spread on toast. Yes, it sounds awful, and quite frankly it is. Our entrées came out of the kitchen really quickly after we were served our appetizer. If I had been enjoying my appetizer, (I was not) I might have been really annoyed. The sausage roll was basically a pig in a blanket. The sausage itself was not bad, but the flaky crust was tough and chewy. They even managed to screw up the baked beans and fries that came with my sausage roll. The beans were clearly from a can and the fries were seasonless and soggy. Pretty authentic as far as UK food goes. The only difference between the bad food I had in England and Ireland and the food I here at MacNivens was the people serving it. And yes, I am well aware that Ireland is not part of the UK, it’s just in the neighborhood. The restaurateurs of Ireland and England are warm, friendly, funny, and even sarcastic about their food. They serve up the “slop” with a big smile as if it was all part of a national joke. At MacNivens, it’s just bad food served with a nasty attitude. MacNivens is just way too serious, or maybe just insecure, to poke fun at themselves.