We only went to this hotel for the Christmas Afternoon Tea deal and it was the absolute worst dining experience of my life and I still feel sick by the memory of it.
For reference, here is the description they posted for the afternoon tea:
'Upon arrival, you and your lucky companion will be seated and treated to a warming glass of mulled sparkling wine. Then kick off the feast with delicate sandwiches including turkey and stuffing, brie and cranberry and smoked salmon and cream cheese before moving on to chocolate cake, mulled wine poached pear tart, mince pie crème brûlée, winter berry scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, all served with lashings of vanilla and cinnamon whipped cream and accompanied by a frothy cappuccino or cup of tea. '
First of all, my companion was anything but lucky, in fact I was embarrassed to have suggested going to this event and I'm sure to him it felt more like a punishment than something exciting or pleasurable in any way. Now moving onto why...
'A warming glass of mulled sparkling wine' - as suggested in the description, mulled wine is expected to be hot, it is also spicy and sweet. Upon arrival we were offered a glass of cheap champagne, when I questioned it saying that we were told we would be getting mulled wine we got a confused response of 'Oh, well yes, the champagne is the mulled wine'. At this stage we accepted it and anything but warming we were given a glass of what tasted like Lambrini, whatever it was it wasn't mulled wine in any way.
Obviously if this was all that was wrong with the meal I wouldn't be writing. Unfortunately for us this was just the beginning.
Our afternoon tea arrived and it was 'delicate' sandwiches made with bread so stale it was rock solid. The bread was absolutely inedible and in the end I complained about it to the waiter and he eventually made us a fresh load of sandwiches, I can imagine that the food they were serving had been made in the morning or perhaps even the night before and been left out to spoil. The contents of the sandwich were no better; the turkey and stuffing was cheap turkey slices that tasted heinous with unrecognizable 'stuffing', the brie and cranberry was in fact brie with what tasted and smelt more like jam. There were also egg mayonnaise sandwiches again the bread was incredible stale and I had a small mouthful of the egg filling and was revolted to realise that it was warm and it instantly made me feel sick.
The sweet food consisted of two bite size chunks of chocolate cake, one stale and inedible mince pie, one creme brulee and one droopy, unappetizing berry and custard tart. There was no sign of the poached pear tart and the 'winter berry scones' were one stale plain scone and one stale sultana plain scone. There was no sign of a frothy cappuccino or cup of tea.
Myself and my guest hardly touched a thing despite having paid £24 for it. I felt ill from the warm and stale egg mayonnaise sandwich and as i said, even now the memory of it is making me heave.
At £24 it is still grossly overpriced for what we received - You couldn't pay me to go there again, let alone charge myself and my friend £12 each for the displeasure. The deal was a huge rip off and it felt like a lazy attempt to cash in on christmas.
The staff knew that we were unhappy with our meal, especially as we had left almost everything, but didn't offer any solution or condolence. There is no way in hell I would serve what I was served today to anybody without embarrassment, Thistle Hotel made Fawlty Towers look like a haven.
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