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“Stunning setting, shockingly bad service”

The Boat House at Cameron House
Ranked #12 of 26 Restaurants in Balloch
Cuisines: Seafood
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed 20 August 2012

On a rare nice sunny weekend day, we decided to have a long leisurely lunch at the boathouse at Cameron House Hotel. The decor is fabulous, in a smart casual way - very New england and gives a holiday vibe which is the perfect setting. The service however, was the WORST i have ever experienced in all my years of travelling and eating out. Sitting out on the veranda overlooking the loch, the view and the setting couldn't have been better. However, instead of feeling relaxed and happy, we ended up feeling wound up and stressed - and sadly couldn't find a manager or superior member of staff to speak to.
We had a glass of prosecco to start and this was brought promptly, and we ordered from the menu. All fine so far. We asked for bread as we hadn't eaten thus far and thought it enjoy the view and have a nibble with our drinks whilst waiting for the food. One and a half hours later, the bread eventually came, when we, by this time, had asked 8 different times for it!!! When our food eventually came, we had to ask for cutlery, then we had to ask for napkins, then we had to ask for salt and pepper, then we had to remind them to bring bread, then we had to remind them we were still waiting for water - and on and on and on.............
Nothing came to our table as a matter of course - every single thing had to be requested and requested several times before it eventually came.
The table next to us ordered coffees and waited 40 mins for these to come!
Two ladies at the table to our right, had ordered their meal before we arrived and were STILL waiting for their food after we had finished ours!! Despite many requests from them, they eventually walked out, then were ushered back to the table accompanied by the long awaited lunch.
This is a very simple, seafood, lunch menu, most of it is cold, not even cooked! therefore should not take long to produce. There were at least 7 different young people behind the bar as serving staff, and there were only 3 table of people to serve. What is the problem here?
SO SO DISAPPOINTING. No training, insufficient management, a waste of time and money to travel down to this beautiful spot.

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2  Thank ClydeValleyChatty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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934 - 938 of 993 reviews

Reviewed 19 August 2012

My partner and I decided to have Sunday lunch at the Boathouse after hearing good reviews from a family member. Having previously eaten at the Martin Wishart restaurant within Cameron House i had high expectations for the Boathouse. After being seated in the restaurant we both ordered a glass of wine, however when the waiter came to the table he clearly did not know which glass was chardonnay and which was sauvignon as he mixed the two glasses up. The sauvignon was a nice wine however the chardonnay tasted like it had been poured from a bottle that had been opened for a long time and at £6 a glass I could still kick myself for not requesting a fresh glass. On to the food. The starters were very good, the bruschetta could have benefited from a little red onion but overall very nice, my calamari was very tasty. However the same could not be said for the main courses. My seafood pizza was reasonable but in no way worthy of the hefty £15 price tag, any my partners clam pasta was completely tasteless. We rounded off the meal with a dessert each and two coffees, the cheesecake was reasonable however did taste like it was shop bought, the fudge cake was lovely but very rich. Overall the bill came to roughly £80, which included a 10% service charge which i have since found out does not go to the waiting staff, that Cameron House keep this. The service at The Boathouse was also rather disappointing, the staff are very young and overworked and don't appear to be trained to a high standard, fine service for a fast food restaurant but not what I expect when I'm paying £80 for a lunch. My experience dining at The Boathouse was unbelievably poor compared to my experience at Martin Wishart. When you consider my Sunday lunch at Martin Wishart was just under £100, their service was impeccable and the food probably the best or close to the best i have ever tasted, i know exactly where i will be taking my custom next time.

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Thank gourmetgal05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2012

Part of the Cameron House Hotel, the restaurant sits beside the marine offering great views onto the yachts and the banks of the Loch. In the right weather there is a lovely summer terrace which is recommended during the afternoon.

Food is for a broad taste from pizza to oysters - we had the crab salad, crayfish salad, seabass and mussels - all excellent.

For sure is a bit pricey and it can get very busy in season so be prepared that tables may not be available but if you are at the hotel or in the area it is well worth a lunchtime visit.

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1  Thank djenk_moscow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2012

There is certainly nothing wrong with the setting and the decor. Great views of the Marina and well appointed retaurant. Staff were a bit scripted and came across as a bit wooden (best that I can describe it). It was a busy Sunday night but even at 8:30 it was a bit surprising to find they were out of the battered fish and had no oysters left. I ordered mussels in cream and white wine for a starter and was presented with a knife and fork. OK the latter I get but a knife is a pain when you are trying to gather up the remaing sauce. No spoon on offer? The main was a paella and the rice was too wet to be deemed a proper paella. Enough seafood and chicken and attractively presented. Mrs DJ had pate starter which came heavy on the chilli and sea bream which was probably one fillet short of a good main course portion at the price. Not a cheap menu either (wine starts at £30+ for a decent bottle). There is a "discretionary" service charge of 10% which I always find a bit irritating. If I am happy with service I will tip and use the American method of 15% for good service. When faced with a 10% on the bill I stick to that. Their loss.

Not a restaurant I would run back to if I was staying at Cameron House again (which I would do).

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Thank Mr_Dangelbery_Jones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2012

Went for a lovely Sunday lunch with the family. The restaurant is past the main hotel on the marina but is not very well signposted – I ended up having to check with the concierge where it was and if there was parking. The car parking is directly outside the Boathouse but they could certainly do with putting a proper tarmac car park in – on a soggy day (this is Scotland in August) it was a muddy mess with enormous potholes.

The bar (where you can have some light seafood) was light and airy with plenty of comfy sofas for a relaxing pre meal drink. The bar didn’t sadly have any berries which limited the cocktails we requested but they made up other ones instead

The restaurant is a good size with very large tables. There was 5 of us and we ended up removing an extra table and sitting at an end as we were too spaced out to have a conversation.

The menu is light and easy meals to suit all. Sadly the pizza oven was out of action having recently been on fire so we couldn’t have any fresh breads or pizzas. No matter as there is plenty of choice for everyone. We enjoyed a mixture of soup, calamari and bruschetta for starters – all of which were excellent. Main courses were also good with tasty fall off the bone ribs, crispy Cajun chicken and some really lovely seafood salads. We rounded off the meal with some tasty desserts

All in all this is a rather inexpensive place to eat in comparison to other Cameron House restaurants and was in a nice relaxing atmosphere. If the weather had been nice we would have tried to sit outside but with the lashing rain the midgies were out in force.

This is a lovely place for a good family meal (plenty of babies/kids about) – though they could do with sorting out the parking and signage to make it easier to find and park. Bookings are necessary as this place is full from noon to 8 pm every day

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

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