Having browsed the menus on the website, we – a party of 5 - booked a table for a Sunday at the Bluebell Inn for a family member’s birthday treat. We included two meat eaters, two pescatarians and one strict vegetarian (the birthday girl). The day looked promising on arrival as the atmosphere was cosy and bustling, and we were led to a beautiful snug by a glowing fire. Things descended fast, as outlined below:
• There was a vegetarian option indicated on the Sunday Roasts menu on the website (albeit variable from week to week), but there was no vegetarian Sunday Roast option on the day. On enquiry we were told it wasn’t a mistake, there was in fact no option. They could do us a regular roast but without the meat, but with extra veggies. This would, however (confusingly), cost us extra, and the potatoes would be roasted in duck fat. We were given the impression that this would be an inconvenience. Disappointingly, our vegetarian had only a risotto as her option
• As pescatarians, two of us decided to opt for fish and chips. On the website this featured on the Spring Menu at £12.50. However, we were told that it had now been incorporated into the Fixed Price menu and if we wanted it only as a single course option (we likely would) it would be £15
• The entire Fixed Price menu on the website was cheaper than that in the restaurant. On enquiry, and confusingly, we were told that ‘the website prices are slightly different’. We were in fact repeatedly told that the website was ‘slightly different’ but offered no explanation – nor concern - as to why the website menus and prices were not honoured
• When the meals showed up, the meat eaters were brought an impressive bowl of vegetables for their roasts. We asked for some serving spoons as none were brought, and were told in an irritable tone ‘I’ll have to check, but we’re running low on cutlery’
• The meat eaters found their roast dinners were small and underwhelming
• One of us had a giant cookie in a pan for desert. The base of this was burned and inedible. On relating this, the dish was simply taken away, with no apology, no replacement, and ultimately no deduction from the bill
• Two of us had cappuccinos, which - unsurprisingly by now - were lukewarm
To summarise, both the quality of the food and the service were poor, and the prices subsequently way too high. Whilst we were quite clear that we were unhappy with the above aspects of our meal, the preoccupied staff were clear that they did not care, giving us no manner of compensation nor apology, just consistently brusque and apparently well-rehearsed responses (we later heard an adjacent table have the same dialogue on the lack of a vegetarian Roast). This was such a disappointing experience as we’d had high hopes for The Bluebell Inn. It’s a shame, as the venue itself is lovely and has so much potential.
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