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“Close, but no cigar...”
Review of The Marlborough

The Marlborough
Ranked #15 of 69 Restaurants in Marlborough
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Reservations
Description: A stunning contemporary menu using only the best produce with an emphasis on local products and suppliers. Bar Food, Vibrant and varied with all day grazing and British Tapas. World class wines, local beers and fantastic cocktails. Six individually styled boutique rooms in the stunning 15th Century Building.
Reviewed 19 November 2013 via mobile

The Marlborough is a strange place, that seems to try hard, but fails on many levels.

Eating there with friends was a disappointment, especially having been there on several occasions throughout its recent transformation. If you're interested as to why, read on. If you're not, just book somewhere else:

We visited when the owner first took it on and had great plans for the place. He was friendly and open. At that time the food was perfectly good and the atmosphere was welcoming.

A few months later (Summer 2013) the place was just emerging from a restoration that appeared, at first glance, to have been a great success. The ambience had improved and the menu was even better. At that point in its life The Marlborough could be described as one of Wiltshire's best 'real' pubs, and this was a general consensus. The bar was full of friendly people as the food was a lovely mix of unique choices, most of which I'd have chosen any day of the week.

What has happened since is more disappointing than finding out as a child that Santa doesn't really exist....

We arrived to a relatively quiet bar that was manned by someone who was more interested in chatting to her clientele friends than serving us. After a patient wait we were served.

Menus arrived and their author has either recently graduated from Shakespeare's 'adjective' university or has recorded far too many episodes of Master Chef on Sky+. To describe the menu as pompous and pretentious would be an understatement. As one of out guest correctly said, "sometimes I go to a restaurant and I want to choose everything, but here I'm really struggling here". It's just trying too hard. So hard in fact that it puts you off.

Yes, it's quite expensive, but that's not the issue here. It's as if the chef thinks that the more bizarre and complex he makes the menu, and the more Blumethalesque adjectives he inserts, the more appealing it will be. Sadly, it has the opposite effect.

The waitresses were very good, attentive and polite. In fact, they can't be faulted.

The food, when it arrived, was perfectly ok, but nothing to write home about. I suppose there's an upper limit to how sexy one can make two slithers of mackerel and toasted bread look after writing a Booker prize winning description about it on the menu.

Having the misfortune of walking through the bar to use the facilities mid-dinner was like stepping out of Fortnums and into [insert name of cheap market town pub here]. The bar was smothered by even more of the bar girl's mates, and with the concept of getting another drink seeming to be a matter of hours away rather than minutes, I opted to quench my thirst with the complimentary water. Incidentally, this water had no exciting descriptions or adjectives on the menu. Perhaps this is something that can be worked on.

The owner, once a friendly and welcoming person, seemed more interested in the girls at the bar buying Bacardi and Lucozade than people in the restaurant. Can't say I blame him, they were quite attractive and he probably would have struggled to understand the menus too!!

Joking aside (about the water and the cryptic menus), we decided that we were glad we had returned (after the pre / during / after refurb process) to see the final product, and agreed that we wouldn't return. It was almost as if the transformation just went on for too long.

Best of luck with the new venture.

10  Thank Jono H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VidCent, Owner at The Marlborough, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2013

I just wanted to point out one glaring inaccuracy with your review.

Sardines not Mackerel!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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238 - 242 of 280 reviews

Reviewed 19 November 2013

I've thoroughly read through all of the reviews posted here and I have to admit to being somewhat perplexed. There is either a conspiracy out to destroy this fine place or either I am just blind. As a local I not only embrace the energy, time and investment the owners have put in to the building but also their desire to see Marlborough have a place where the finest of food can be eaten but also retain that cosy pub environment. I have traveled far and wide to eat at all of these award winning restaurants and yet not one of them compares to the actual restaurant in the Marlborough and all I read about is how poor it is or offensive the owner is. My most recent dining adventure at the Marlborough was for Sunday Lunch. Beautiful Dinner and the service, well what are these other advisors talking about, because where else can you go where you are seated and given the level of service and attention you are at the Marlborough? The manager takes care of your every need, takes a genuine interest in your day, the waitresses are so pleasant and the owner takes time out to say hello. Every detail covered from wine recommendations to extra gravy, to our desert. My husband and I take our kids to a different place to eat every Sunday. Nothing over the past year has even come close to this. The food us greasy but make no doubt about it, the service is the star if the show and we will be coming here for 'family Sundays' at least twice a month every month. It's a huge thumbs up from our family to the owners and a thank you for caring enough about Marlborough and our community to renovate the outdated previous establishment and bring people like the new GM to our small town and train the staff as well as they have.

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Thank Athomjones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 November 2013 via mobile

Me my girlfriend and her family went to The Marlborough for her birthday at the start of September as we had heard that since this place had had a huge refurb / rebrand (Used to be the Sun, oldest pub in Marlborough) it was supposed to be nice.... AND IT WAS!! The food was interesting, very tasty, and most importantly plentiful. It was a tad expensive, but worth every penny (This is where things go wrong) Due to our lovely experience we recommended this place to family and friends, and last week decided to go back with a couple of freinds... WHAT HAPPENED!!! The food was still good, but the portions had gone down to nouvelle cuisine sizes and the prices had gone up!!! I paid £30 for 3 small prices of beef (the size of a jam jar lid) 2 dumplings the size of postage stamps (seriously) and a tiny bit of veg. A friend of mine ordered pasta for around £15 and got one piece ?!?!? I realise that it's good quality, and it's about the experience, but £130 for 4 main courses with 1 bottle of house red is silly !! And to have to buy chips on the way home due to still being hungry is very silly !! Go back to how you started off please !!!!

4  Thank nationalgodman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2013

This is a bit of a strange one as The Marlborough does have some very good points but then the negatives leave you feeling a bit down when you leave.

The Good - the food. It is very good, no complaints there - pretty expensive for a meal out but it's high end food, well prepared so it is worth it for a treat/special occasion.

The Bad - the service. Absolutely terrible - a lot of the service staff are young so may improve but the landlord should know better, obviously has his favorites and likes chatting to certain groups of clientele so if you're not one of those expect a cold shoulder.

The Ugly - the theme. This pub had a great history as The Sun, now it still looks like a pub but really is just a restaurant with a big waiting area at the front where people used to be able to drink.

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6  Thank 742,617,000,027
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2013

Visited ''The Marlborough'' with some friends for Sunday lunch a couple of weeks ago and I can only say that I was extremely disappointed with the whole experience. Firstly we were advised that our table was ready, so the 5 of us went to sit down and waited.... and waited... and waited... for at least 30 minutes for our order to be taken. Luckily for us we had ordered our pre lunch drinks at the bar so, at least we had something to drink. Finally after half an hour, one of us caught one of the waitresses eyes and asked if they were intending to take our order. Clearly, she wasn't looking after our table and said she would send someone over to take it. One of our group is a vegetarian and since there was only one vegetarian dish on the main menu, she wanted to order that, only to be told that they had run out. She therefore had to order a main course from the limited bar menu which she didn't like and therefore didn't eat much of it. To be honest, my roast beef was very good but expensive for what it was. Aiding and abetting to our experience was a table full of somewhat noisy children which, I am aware cannot be helped but it was an additional irritant. As a Marlborough resident, I won't be visiting this establishment again since there are many other places in the town where one can get a really good Sunday lunch with better service and will cater for us in a professional manner.

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7  Thank Emster040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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