This was our 2nd visit to The Plough within 3 weeks, our first being Saturday, 12th July as a watering hole on our annual village bike ride. The previous year it was closed for a private function. However this year it was open. Although only about quarter full (on on sunny Saturday) we had problems actually getting a drink. The service for 7 drinks, mainly halves or soft, was painfully slow and confused. The staff were polite and friendly, but a simple drinks order was protracted and embarrassing. The landlady was apologetic and friendly and intervened to try to complete the order. Whilst enjoying our drinks outside we all decided to come to try the pub for lunch.
On said day, Friday 1st Aug,a beautiful sunny day, 7 of us set off on our bikes from our village 8 miles away and had a pleasant cycle through the Kent countryside to The Plough. A 'ladies who lunch bike ride'. We arrived at about 12.45 and proceeded to order drinks and requested menus. Different staff this time and again an uncomplicated order of halves and soft drinks...again the bar staff were very polite and friendly but seemed incapable of multitasking as order took an exceptionally long time. We took our drinks outside and studied the menus. Just before 1.30 we went inside to order, mainly from the bar snack menu. The barman/owner?? was very friendly and polite asked us if we had booked...(for bar snacks???)which we hadn't and informed us that the kitchen was busy so couldn't guarantee we would get food. Nothing was said to alert us to this when requested several menus earlier. We looked around somewhat confused as there were only 4 or 5 tables in a very large pub occupied and eating. In total I think under 20 people using the restaurant facility, in fact using the pub, plus us. We expressed dismay and explained we had cycled 8 miles and only wanted predominantly bar snacks. It was just before 1.30. The gentleman said he would talk to the chef and see what he could do. A few minutes later he came back and said he could do a deal and take our order but that it may take up to 45 mins to all come out. We were OK with this and our orders were taken. We returned to our table outside where the topic of conversation was obviously how sad it was that such a beautiful pub in a lovely setting should be let down by a somewhat perplexing attitude to providing customers with the goods they advertise. The food came well within the 45 minute time and excellent it was. The salt and pepper homemade burger was exceptional, and others more than enjoyed the whitebait, steak sandwich, chicken chorizo roll and various ploughmans. I itemise the
food to highlight the simplicity of the food we ordered. We wondered how the pub would cope if it were 50% or even 100% full.
In summary, the pub is an a wonderful building in a lovely setting, the staff are friendly and polite, the food IS good, BUT, the slow service of drinks on both days, in what lets be honest were definately not busy sessions, and, the seemingly inability to cope with food orders within the advertised times with very few other diners is worrying. I wanted so much for my experience to be other than it was. As it was, this ride was a prelude to possibly booking for one of their specials nights...I cant imagine how they would cope if they were fully booked and am not prepared
to be disappointed a 3rd
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