We arrived at The Duke Hotel, Hilmarton for a family tea, 4 adults and one child. When we went into the dining area we were the only people there. My son ran in ahead and placed his coat over the back of a chair at one of the larger tables. However within a split second a "lady" appeared from behind the bar and announced quite loudly "you can't sit there thats booked for 1930, SIT there" and she pointed to an alternative table. When we asked for a menu she walked off, neither acknowledging our request or indeed even letting on she heard us. A few minutes later a lovely gent came from behind the bar and was chatting and explaining their intentions in taking over the hotel. We asked the gent for an extra place setting as we had been put at a table for 4 and he was happy to oblige. My father in law arrived with the drinks and on receiving her white wine and soda my mother in law announced her soda was flat, which she returned to the bar, and again asked for menus. After a 10 minute wait the "lady" brought out my mother in laws new drink and announced "there was nothing wrong with the soda", she was re-advised it was flat and again asked for menus, however, no response. Eventually 2 menus (printed pieces of paper), were handed to us to share between 5, and again she disappeared. My husband took the order up to the bar and then we waited for our food, and waited and waited. If, when the food had been brought to us it was freshly home made we would not have minded. However, it was evidently frozen, processed and over priced and we were very disappointed. Not being the type of people who normally complain when our "lady" friend returned to collect the plates we all said thank you, incuding my young son, yet again not a smile was cracked nor an acknowledgement raised, on her return a second time we tried again with our thank-yous but again failed miserably with a response. During our meal the party for the reserved table arrived and it was interesting to note that 4 people were placed at a table for 6 and had their order taken at the table whilst our party of 5 were squeezed into a table for 4 and ignored 95% of the time.
Whilst we were finishing our drinks, our pleasant waitress returned and put 2 spoons & forks on the table and announced "thats for your desert". A helpful hint, if, at table of 5 people 2 people have ordered desert, it is a nice touch rather than throw the cutlery in to the middle of the table, to ask "who is having desert" and then place the cutlery at the correct place settings! As it turns out it wasn't our table that had ordered desert, it was 2 ladies at an adjacent table. We decided then to finish our drinks and leave. In the 2 hours we were there we spent approx £90, so not a cheap 2 hours. However due to the attitude of this lady we will not be back, which is such a shame as this is our local pub and we like to support our local businesses. We also know that the new owners have alot of hard work and a long way to go to bring this pub back to what it was before previous owners destroyed the business. However, this lady either needs to go on a customer awareness course or charm school but definately should not be front of house at the moment with the attitude she has.
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