After a busy weekend working, my Husband and I decided to go out for dinner. We thought we might try somewhere different, and as we had often passed The Golden Fleece on the A689 from Carlisle to Brampton, we thought we would give it a go.
I telephoned before going to check they had Vegetarian options on the menu, the girl who answered the phone explained that there was nothing written on the menu but the Chef would be more than happy to make me something, and she mentioned curries, stroganoff, stir-fries.
Sounded good, so off we went.
Loads of parking outside, we entered via the back door which lead out onto the carpark.
We were shown into the restaurant part where we had a choice of tables. The tables were nicely set with pretty tableclothes and modern table mats. Pity the background music was the local radio station though, not too bad music, but the repetative commercial adverts were a little irritating. The seats were past their best with the springs collapsing underneath you when you sat, actually once sat down they were quite comfy, but other dinners were shuffling about swapping seats, so they must have been all the same.
The waitress was a nice young lady, very friendly and helpful, but quite inexperienced. She had to go and check almost every query with the Chef, such as what the Soup was (asked by another diner) and whether they could do a dish without peppers.
The menu looked quite good, with some nice options that you don't find elsewhere, such as Duck Wraps, and Pate Stuffed Mushrooms, along with the regular offerings - Gammon, Scampi etc...
To start I chose the Brie, served with chunky pickle. I requested it without onions or peppers.
It did have peppers on, and the salad did taste of onions, so perhaps they had just been picked off. The Brie was lovely, and a nice sized piece for a starter, not too large.
Hubby had the Duck wraps, and he really enjoyed them. So far so good.
Onto the mains. As usual Hubby had Gammon, with egg and chips.
He said it was a lovely piece of Gammon, and the chips were good too.
I asked for a Mushroom Stroganoff, with no onions or peppers. It was offered with rice, but I asked if I could have half rice half chips instead. That was fine.
Unfortunately, when it came it had both onions and peppers in it. It was served by someone who came from the kitchen rather than the waitress, so I politely mentioned I had asked for no onions or peppers, and she apologise nicely and took it away to be re-made, warning me that it would be a few minutes. That was fine as I was nibbling on the chips that had been served seperately.
True to her word 5 mins later a new meal arrived back and I was looking forward to tucking in.
It was horrible!
It had the most bitter taste, of which I still cannot work out what it was. I am usually very good at picking out flavours, having working in kitchens before, but this was like nothing I had tasted before, and I am a fan of Stroganoff so I know how it generally tastes. My tastebuds were rejecting it, telling me not to eat it. It really was quite foul. My mouth still had a bitter taste two hours later, and I only had two mouthfuls.
The waitress walked past a dozen times but didn't stop to ask if everything was ok. I had decided I wasn't going to send it back again, I would just eat the chips. We are not moaners and anyone who knows me knows I eat almost anything.
When she finally came to take our plates she asked if everything was ok, obviously sending a full plate full of food back I had to say something, so I explained it had a really odd bitter taste, and perhaps the Chef would like to taste it. She said she would "pass on my comments", but then stacked the side plate on top before carrying it off to the kitchen.
We waited for some kind of acknowledgement from the Chef via the waitress, but she walked passed us another 4 or 5 times before we finally just asked for the bill. She directed us to the bar.
So we went to the bar to pay, and while the manager (??) was totalling up our bill, my Husband said, "Did the waitress tell you there was an issue with the Stroganoff?" The young lady was standing there looking like a rabbit in headlights, and told the manager that "she hardly touched it, the plate is still on the drainer". At this, to our complete amazement, the manager tutted loudly and throwing the kitchen door open was obviously going to check.
He came storming back and announced to my husband that he would only charge us £4.00 for it - half price. Hubby argued the point saying he was happy to pay for the chips I had eaten (£1.95 a portion on the menu) but not for the meal, as I had hardly touched it. He finally relented but not before giving us a filthy look. He snatched the money, and threw back the change with not a word, then turned and smashed the ticket down on the ticket spike in a temper.
Given the managers reaction I am not surprised the poor girl looked as uncomfortable as she did.
We were not rude in the slighest, but the service we recieved back was nothing short of disgraceful.
If this was dealt with in a proper manner by simply apologizing and removing it from the bill we would have probably gone back and tried it again, afterall it was just one quarter of the whole meal we had an issue with, but due to the appalling behaviour of the man behind the bar we will never be back, nor will we recommend it to anyone.
As always, here are the contact details, in case you want to try it.
The Golden Fleece Hotel
01228 573 686
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