Although the Plough was a little tired, and the food was Beefeater (i.e. very tired), it was a traditional English pub serving beer etc.. There was passing trade from dog walkers accessing the woods through the car park; from the mourners at the nearby Ruislip Crem and from the large residential neighbourhood. I was a frequent visitor in both the first and last groups, enjoing good ale and friends.
The Miller and Carter group have heavily invested in the building, producing a very well decorated inside, with a more Spanish 'Toro' feel as opposed to the American steakhouse of the Beefeater chain. But they have blocked the access to the woods, and stopped serving anything other than restaurant meals. There is no bar, beyond a small area for those waiting for a table.
So will the restaurant cope with not having the regular passing pub trade?
The food was good. We had just the small plate of nachos to start - enough between 4 of us. My daughter's rump steak was delicious, my wife's salmon steak was large and flavoursome, my lamb steak was generous and cooked to perfection. All the food, including the (tasty seasoned) chips was hot and seemed freshly prepared. We experienced good portion sizes, which must have been the result of a previous review. They had run out of one side dish (which I was looking forward to) at 1800 on a Friday evening.
However, with just one glass of wine and some cokes, the bill came to just short of £100 including a tip. I am not sure the restaurant will survive beyond the "initial interest" visits at these prices.
In terms of service, I am reluctant to criticise as all those who served us were friendly and keen to impress. But the service was slow, and a couple of mistakes were made. No fish knife for the salmon, a 250ml glass of wine was not. These were corrected before the bill arrived and the staff are all relatively new, so it will improve.
I would recommend the M&C for special occasions only, at these prices - and without reservation in a couple of months and if the prices are moderated a little.
I would recommend to the restaurant that they reinstate coffee, a bar, and open the gate to the woods during the day; this would not only provide an extra revenue stream, but would enable some people to gain the confidence to visit before spending money on a meal.
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