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“I so wanna like this place! ”
2 of 5 bubbles Review of The Dolphin

The Dolphin
Ranked #18 of 34 Restaurants in Wellington
Price range: US$6 - US$18
Cuisines: Pizza, Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Groups, Child-friendly, Kids, Bar Scene
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Street Parking, Takeout, Wheelchair Accessible
Description: Traditional English pub serving award winning ales, and specially selected wines alongside the standard pub offerings. We serve fabulous Italian style handmade pizzas daily until 9pm. There is a large sunny garden for the summer and a cosy open fire in the winter.
Level Contributor
22 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“I so wanna like this place! ”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2014 via mobile

I had read a few very good reviews and a few negative reviews and wanted to see the Dolphin for myself!
I took the girlfriend along and initially she wanted to leave as she didn't like the decor, but as I live in London I wanted to see how it compared to similar venues there.

The outside was spectacular, and the inside basic. The roof of the main bar was shacking and the light fitting was rocking to the sound of heavy drumming coming from above. Sadly that's all that could be heard, and the drummer was able to keep a steady rhythm as he maintained that same beat for a starter and main course meal for two!

Now we opted for a combination of bar nibbles for a starter and it was okay. Basic and nothing amazing.
For main I had the belly pork and it was very nice.
The girlfriend had the homemade fish cakes and she immediately didn't like them. Me Thinking she was being fussy tried them. Oh my dear they were not good at all!!!! They were extremely anaemic in appearance, had a track of oil from the edge of the plate which looked like they'd just been slung on, and to top it off she found a hair in one of them! Not sure if there were more because we didn't want to delve any deeper!

I can only describe them as bland, oily sodden potato with a hint of fish!
Our two year old made better ones after watching a kids cooking programme! And I'm not kidding!

After pointing out the hair this dish wasn't put on the bill and the lady was very apologetic! We declined the offer of a further visit.

Anyway in summary almost good but we obviously picked the wrong night to go because of the event on upstairs, And the food I would rate poorly but no ones perfect.

I personally felt they weren't quite
delivering on what should have been a striking back street pub.

A Few tweaks this place would be very good!

My girlfriend doesn't want to return unfortunately so I won't see!

Thank Toytank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
little_face37, Owner at The Dolphin, responded to this review, 13 May 2014
I remember the evening you came in for dinner well. We had my friends 40th birthday party in the function room. She had booked an amazing band and twice as many people as expected turned up. I was meant to attend however we were so busy both upstairs and down that I ended up working all night. I can assure you a white Karen Milan dress and heels are far from my normal attire.

The party was very busy, loud and raucous so I can only ask the question if you had gone out with the intention of a quiet meal for two with your girlfriend why on earth did you stay? If I had been in the same position I would have left immediately and gone somewhere quieter. Had you booked in advance we would have explained what was going on and suggested you come on a different occasion.

Its unfortunate you were not impressed with the food but also understandable. We had our new chef working that night (so I could attend the party) she is very experienced and her food is amazing however it was only her second shift and she was still finding her feet. I had assured her it would be quiet on the food side because of the party however 24 diners arrived with in 30 mins, yourselves included. None of them had come for the party and none of them had booked. The staff both front and back of house were stretched to breaking point and there was nothing that could be done about it. All the orders came in so close together by different members of staff so there had been no time for communication between them. If everyone had booked we could have been more prepared and spaced them out, sadly this was not the case. At the moment unless we have lots of bookings there is only one person in the kitchen at a time. That number of people all ordering different things in one go would be a challenge for anyone, under the circumstances she did as well as she could which knowing the circumstances was impressive in its self.

As for the hair the only people who prepare food are myself - long red hair and the new chef - long white hair. Two of the bar staff working that shift had long blond hair, the other had long brown hair. The hair you found in your food was short and dark. Out of politeness at the time I refrained from saying it looked remarkably like your own.

I am sorry you did not enjoy your experience with us but I do feel you judged us a little harshly when it was obvious to all concerned that the circumstances were far from the norm.
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59 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Wellington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Excellent pub food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 April 2014

The Dolphin is unmissable from the outside with its underwater graffiti-art. Inside it's a very friendly pub with an interesting menu and great food. Thursday evenings are especially popular because there is free live music. Undoubtedly the best pub in Wellington!

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Gabrielle G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
little_face37, Owner at The Dolphin, responded to this review, 13 May 2014
Thank you very much for your lovely review, we look forward to seeing you again soon :-)
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wellington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
44 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Unexpected, due to exterior”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 March 2014

The wife and I walk and drive past this pub all the time. So we decided to pop in.

The exterior is amazingly decorated with graffiti style art work, very cool and urban looking. 'Slightly' out of place. It would look spot on if it was in the centre of Bristol or London.

So we go in, all excited, and it's a perfectly adequate pub. But the interior and exterior do not go together at all. Outside you look and half expect to be met at the door by people in chrome clothing with flasing lights and the alike. But inside it looks like a stereo-typical village pub. Which was a little disappointing, but we like country pubs, so we continued.

As we sat down, ordered our food and drinks, we then waited, and waited, and waited, and then had to go up to the bar to 'remind' the barman that we ordered food.

To be fair, there was a total of about 8 people in the pub, so it was a bit shocking.

We might pop in for a drink, but not for food. I wouldn't recommend it.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Geoffrey A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
little_face37, Owner at The Dolphin, responded to this review, 17 March 2014
Well done for almost working out the connection although I am thoroughly confused by the rest of your review.
I have another pub in Bristol which has been painted by the same very talented artist who happens to be a good friend of mine. (Available for private commissions, if anyone would like his contact details please ask).
The first thing that confused me was the notion that there would be anything other than a traditional pub on the inside. The Cadbury, Golden lion, The farm and my other pub have similar artwork on the exterior and they are all 'traditional pubs' on the inside, it would personally never occur to me to expect anything else. I find the contrasting juxtaposition of modern culture and the traditional English cultural heritage of a good old fashioned pub thought provoking and intellectually stimulating and hoped that others would find likewise. (Also the artwork helps distinguish what was a fairly bland mundane building from the other houses in the terrace, prior to the painting several people commented they had driven straight past the pub and completely missed it, that doesn't happed any more)
Secondly for a review to be of any help I would expect people to say what they had ordered and what that the quality of the food was like.
Our food is prepared from fresh, using local ingredients and sometimes it can take a while to prepare but I am a firm believer that quality comes before speed. I hate microwaves and the fact that people have come to expect meals to arrive in 5 minutes, heated to a temperature hotter than the surface of the sun with all the taste and nutritional value completely destroyed. The number of establishments that try to palm off what is essentially a tescos ready meal as 'home cooked food' is disgraceful and what is worse the staggering numbers of the general population who are blissfully unaware of this and are happy to hand over their hard earned £10 for something they could have shoved in a microwave at home. Sorry! bit of a rant there but its something I feel very passionately about.
The waiting time for main courses to be properly cooked is at least 20 minutes with some items taking as long as 30mins which I think is perfectly acceptable - it gives you time to enjoy the whole experience of 'eating out' and gives you a chance to have a proper conversation with your dining companions, some thing which also doesn't happen enough these days. If you had to wait longer I can only apologise, sometimes the simplest thing such as chips can cause a delay. We make all ours by hand and triple cook them which means they are very tasty but also extremely popular. Some days it doesn't matter how many you make in the morning we find ourselves having to prepare two or even three more lots throughout the day.
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Wellington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Annual dinner”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2014

The Dolphin is a typical 50's style pub. I would not have been surprised to see sawdust on the bare wood floors. The meal was served up a very narrow staircase by two overworked and inexperienced youngsters. Our party was pre booked and the orders made in advance, however,the room was not ready when we arrived,the tables were still being laid,there were no napkins,water or glasses and the first diners had finished their meal whilst others were waiting to be served. The roast beef was served and it took 10 minutes to get horseradish sauce! I am afraid it was very much an institutional meal, the puddings were bought in and not very appetising.
An altogether disappointing experience

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Barbara A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
little_face37, Owner at The Dolphin, responded to this review, 12 March 2014
Whilst we as a team are disappointed you did not enjoy the meal you had with us we are also more than a little disappointed that you felt the need to post a review that is for the most part factually incorrect.

The style of décor we have chosen for the pub does not include carpets as we feel that sanded and varnished wooded floors not only look beautiful but are far more hygienic than the sticky stained carpets found in many venues. It is our policy not to decorate the function room with any particular theme as it is used for such a wide variety of events. I had explained this to the event organiser and she was more than happy with this and requested that they bring their own floral arrangements for the tables which I agreed was fine, however I cant recall seeing any on the day. Although we don't usually, for your booking we did provide a fresh floral display on the mantle piece. I asked the event organiser if she would like background music and was informed it would not be necessary. You may feel like the decoration was reminiscent of the 1950's however in my view it is modern, light and airy.

There is absolutely nothing we can do with regard to the staircase however on checking the minimum recommended width for a stair case is 600mm - ours is 750mm.

All the tables were fully laid with napkins and cutlery by 12.30pm - the time at which the booking was made for. Some of the guests arrived early from 12pm onwards, something we had not been made aware would be happening. It is not our policy to include water on tables unless it is requested which is standard in most restaurants. When it was requested it was provided straight away for all 30 guests.

The was one young girl - aged 17 working on the day however the other members of staff were 25, 36, and 38 although I fail to see how their age has any bearing on the level of service they provided.

In all honesty I could not possibly say how long the horseradish sauce took to arrive and if it was 10 minutes then I can only apologise. Our kitchen is a considerable way from the function room, again there is nothing we can do about that, so our priority was to get all the meals served for the 30 diners as quickly as possible.
With the exception of waffles all of the desserts we sell are made freshly in our own kitchen and as the waffles are bought in we do not include them on set menus. For that particular booking I had personally made all the desserts - Apple crumble, spiced Cointreau crème brulee and the double chocolate torte. Quite frankly I am insulted that you suggest that they had been bought in and I am more than happy to provide you with the recipes if you so wish.

As I am all in favour of telling the truth I will admit that the chef completely messed up three out of the 30 meals, which was a contributing factor in his dismissal that occurred later that evening. We did not charge your group for those three meals however rather than keep the money the organiser insisted that the staff keep the money as a tip because she understood how hard they had all worked that day and that she very much enjoyed the event.

The only other major criticism of the event I was aware of at the time was that there was nowhere for coats to be hung up. It is an extremely valid point and one that had not occurred to me previously. As soon as we have finished redecorating the corridors and landing we will be including at several by the door to the function room.

Once again I can only apologise that you did not enjoy yourself however it had been made very clear to us on the day that the majority of the guests had enjoyed not only the food but the event as a whole. Following that the only thing that springs to mind is "You can't please all of the people all of the time".
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Billericay, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Restaurant Quality Food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 February 2014

The Dolphin on Waterloo Road (an extension of North Street) has a striking bright blue facade and looks a bit run down inside. Very friendly though and the food (we had a vegetarian option) was among the best pub food we have eaten anywhere.

Visited February 2014
2 Thank P B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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