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“Could be much better”

The Place To Eat at John Lewis Reading
Ranked #460 of 621 Restaurants in Reading
Cuisines: European
Description: JOhn Lewis Reading was known as Heelas. All John Lewis in store resturants are called The Place To Eat. It's address is Broad Street Reading.
Restaurant details
Description: JOhn Lewis Reading was known as Heelas. All John Lewis in store resturants are called The Place To Eat. It's address is Broad Street Reading.
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Could be much better”
Reviewed 21 February 2014

As a family we have used the Place to Eat for many years but on meeting up with a friend for tea and cakes I was disappointed. I cannot understand why when serving freshly made tea in individual pots it is not thought a good idea to serve fresh milk! Unfortunately we both found the water had been over boiled or the water heater needed descaling. However the cakes were delicious and the partners were all working hard to serve everyone. The ceiling is low in this part of the building and on looking round the restaurant I think the repositioning of the tables would give the restaurant a better atmosphere. There seems no way for the sound to escape and it was very noisy and difficult to chat and catch up. Take a look at John Lewis in Oxford Street and Exeter for some ideas, both great.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank 25Jenny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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114 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London, UK
Level Contributor
25 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Good but would benefit from some changes”
Reviewed 23 January 2014

As someone who frequents The Place to Eat on an almost weekly basis (new Mum on maternity leave) I've tried to write a review which best summarises my experiences:

The food/drink:
Great selection of different types of food e.g. sandwiches, hot, cold, cakes, crepes etc. but the sandwich section could definitely do with a wider variety. As a vegetarian I have a choice of the egg mayonnaise roll, Greek salad or veggie soup. A cheese roll/cheese and pickle would be a welcome addition. Everything else that I've seen is meat or fish. The cakes are superb (more mixed fruit tartlets please as I've had these sell out in front of me!). Prices are ok, some items seem overpriced for what they are.

PLEASE, please, please can you start serving the pots of tea/coffee with proper, fresh milk? At £1.95 for a pot of tea I'd like fresh milk not those horrid long life cartons. Every other eatery in Reading that charges the same amount is able to provide fresh milk,

The service:
Generally speaking, as a Mum with a pram in tow, the service is very good. Out of approx. 10 visits I've only once had to ask for someone to help me by carrying the tray to the table. On every other occasion staff have taken one look at me and offered straight away - the same goes for elderly shoppers and those with lots to carry. If I'm being critical, the service behind the counter could do with a bit of a rethink - with three staff it doesn't always run smoothly and there can be a backlog waiting to pay - not great if your hot food comes out first and you're still waiting for your pot of tea.

Layout:
As the restaurant is a favourite of parents/mature adults, trying to find somewhere that will accommodate my pram is often tricky - the space between tables can make it really hard to get seated. This bugs me slightly because I bought my pram from John Lewis (ease of movement and size being selling points) and yet I struggle to get it around their restaurant! The same goes for wheelchair users - if all the tables closest to the front of the restaurant are taken, it is very awkward trying to get access to those further back and results in asking countless other customers if they could kindly pull their chairs in.

I will keep going back as generally speaking I find the experience of eating there pretty pleasant and it is handy for their Parent Room which is one of the best in Reading.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Picalili84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
382 reviews
233 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 229 helpful votes
“Nice - late afternoon tea”
Reviewed 1 November 2013

We stopped off for tea and cake as a welcome break from shopping. The restaurant was quiet which was great for a girls catch up. We ordered lemon drizzle cake and scone, jam and cream plus green tea and latte. All were nice and portion of cakes large. The cost of the tea = £10.00 which was reasonable bearing in mind the location.

I have enjoyed John Lewis restaurants in Oxford Street and Brent Cross, where service is better. I would rate Reading as average but a welcome break from the mono coffee shops chains.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ianthy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Lost it's sparkle”
Reviewed 14 June 2013

You queue for a lifetime whilst 3 lifeless individuals stand behind the counter staring into space. I guess 1 supposed to serve food, 1 to serve drinks and the other to take the money at the till - nothing seems to come together. Frequently, the cups and plates are stained, it's a good day if they have any tea spoons, if not, you are left waiting whilst someone goes off to find some. Then you search for a clear table, those that do not have people sitting at them invariably need clearing, with no one in sight to do this. The only saving grace were the scones but unfortunately they were not a strong enough draw to keep our custom. Having visited the restaruant regularly for many years, we have given up. The town is full of much cleaner, efficient coffee shops & if John Lewis don't care, why should the customers.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Sharry63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baughurst, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
367 reviews
213 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 194 helpful votes
“Not to John Lewis Standard”
Reviewed 4 June 2013

My wife and I have visited this café a number of times in the past. This time we arrived very early and it was really quiet. We noticed that it had been refurbished so thought that it would be nice and clean. We chose a table by the window. The tables had just been wiped, not cleaned, as they were still damp. The table we sat at and others still had cup marks from the previous day (or earlier) and ours had hair on it.

The food and beverages are expensive for what you get, I had a caramel shortbread, which was only half the size of ones you would get in Costa or Nero and more expensive. My wife and I enjoy espresso coffee because we like strong coffee. The ones we were served were no stronger than a weak Americano. Also the person who served did not have the bright disposition of the normal John Lewis partner.

Overall not a good start to the day, it did get better when we visited the rest of the store and met some very helpful partners

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Anthony A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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