Now the tower has issued refunds and acknowledged the offering ‘fell below (its) usual high standards’ after some guests went to fetch takeway Burger King orders as they were so disappointed with their event meals.
It appeared that almost every main course dish was sent back, according to one disgruntled customer – who had hoped the evening would be a special memory with her terminally ill mother.
Gosport resident Judi Burns attended the night with her 75-year-old mother Maggie Day, who has been given just months to live due to a lung cancer diagnosis.
The 48-year-old Spar worker said: ‘As soon as the food started to come out, it started to go back.
‘Without exaggeration every single plate of food was sent back.
‘It was braised steak with vegetables – the vegetables were cold and the steak was inedible. It was rock hard and dry.
‘One family went and got a Burger King, and when they came back in, everyone cheered.’
One guest who went looking for takeaway posted a scathing review on social media, also blasting the ‘inedible’ food on the night.
The guest said: ‘The band were the only good thing...on arrival not enough glasses for drinks, no food that resulted in going to Burger King and bring it back in and inedible dessert. We got a round of applause when we came back into the venue with our meals.
‘I felt sorry for the serving staff and band but for the amount we paid it was appalling.’
Judi, who bought the tickets through a GoFundMe page to pay for bucket-list activities for her mother, said the pair have now been granted a full refund and free afternoon tea as compensation.
She said: ‘We were supposed to be making a memory that night. Everyone loves a bit of ABBA. It sounded like a really good evening.
‘We thought, mother and daughter night, we’ll make some special memories.’
A spokesman from Spinnaker Tower said the event was struck by ‘unprecedented and last-minute kitchen staffing issues’ that were outside of the team’s control.
He added: ‘To avoid cancellation, our remaining team tried their best to put on a great event. However, we acknowledge that we were unable to deliver on the quality meal element, which fell below our usual high standards. We have personally dealt with and resolved any complaints received.
‘We pride ourselves on delivering quality experiences with breathtaking views across Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent for all our guests, and we would like to assure our visitors that the difficulties experienced were specifically related to this individual event.’
In February, the tower apologised and issued a refund over a confusing gender-reveal light show that provided more confusion than clarity.
A lifetime celebration party with Maggie as guest of honour will be held The Vine pub in Stokes Road on April 30.