We saw the "3-course meal for two" Groupon for £19.99, and thought: "What a bargain!"
Especially with the promise of a 10oz Rump steak, or better still 16oz T-Bone (the real reason I wanted to go). I looked up the Talbot menu on their website to see what the food, and how much things cost: http://www.inapub.co.uk/uploads/Main%20Menu_52491.pdf
Immediately I saw the possibility for a good date-night meal for two. The Groupon entitled us to course allowances of £5.49 (starter), £12.49 (main) and £4.95 (dessert), and more expensive dishes are charged the difference; "fine" I thought!
I rang to book, and quoted the Groupon, and was told that I couldn't book a table for two at 7pm on Friday as they were full (I called on Tuesday morning), and the next available table would be at 9pm. Instead I opted for the earlier 6pm table, meaning we'd have to rush from work. In reality we arrived 10mins late and the restaurant was dead. This continued until we left at around 8pm; nice to know that we rushed like idiots because a staff member cannot manage bookings efficiently.
We arrived and were promptly seated by a young waitress. At this point in the review it's important to note there was a "new" menu placed under our noses, where all of the stated prices from the website we increased by some serious amount. The 10z sirloin was £22, other steak choices were £17 and up. There was no sign of a T-bone steak, and the only real alternative that conformed to the Groupon price bracket for a main was fish and chips. There were only a handful of starters available, and all were more expensive than advertised, also true for the steak sauces and desserts. I felt very cheated by the management at this point in time, as once you're there, there's not much choice.
For our starters we had the Musrooms and the Pigeon. Have to say, pigeon breast was excellent, but mushrooms were just mushrooms. For mains, I had a rare 10oz Sirloin steak with Stilton sauce; unfortunately the steak was an awful cut, very gristley and fatty hardly worth the £22. Granted, it was cooked well(ish), but it really fell short on quality. Not long ago, we ate at the Muddy Duck in Hethe where the steaks were of equal cost but quality (and service) is a polar opposite. The other main we ordered was the fish and chips, which was nothing to write about other than, overpromised, overpriced, better from a chip shop.
There were two tiers of staff working, namely two girls waiting tables, and the hostess who was also behind the bar. The waiting girls were decent enough, although we were left watching the small hand on the clock a few times, no checking up on us, no "can I get you any more drinks?" etc. Some time between the mains-dessert transition, the hostess came to look after us, and she asked about our meals. We explained the issue with the steak, and she immediately apologised, and said she'd relay the info back to the kitchen. The issue, we were told, is that they are currently reviewing their suppliers, whilst this could easily be true, it's unlikely -on this occasion we gave the benefit of the doubt.
Having been disappointed with the service (up until this point), and the food (with the exception of the pigeon), we decided that instead of having desserts we'd use the £10-something toward paying the bill. Had to go to the bar to pay, as table service seemed to have stopped. Again hostess was sincerely apologetic, but overall damage was done, no money was taken off the bill. We left disappointed, and robbed of a decent meal for the total price of £40 (includes the £19.99 Groupon).
Save yourself the time and money, and eat elsewhere.
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