Over priced and underwhelmed. Those are the 2 words that come to mind when thinking about our visit to The Fleece in Witney on Saturday evening.
The place was buzzing, especially considered the rugby World Cup was on, and we arrived a group of 10 for a 50th birthday party.
Upon arrival, the place looks extremely inviting, clearly an upmarket pub. However, the food and service definitely lets it down.
We had preordered food on the Thursday, with lots of instructions for them to follow! I understand sometimes it can be tricky when people ask for things, but when you have ordered in advance it really should be clear. Personally, I also feel that if somewhere is asking you to preorder your food, there should be some sort of deal or set menu. There was not.
We sat down at the table, and ordered some drinks. These took a considerable amount of time to arrive – we had our starters on the table before they came, a big no no for me. When the starters arrived, they looked good, but I was slightly disappointed by the size. I had ordered bacon croquettes, which came with a pear purée and salad. It was delicious, but I only got 2 croquettes, which were bite size, it was more of a salad with croquettes! They were cooked beautifully and the flavour of bacon and cheese cut through well, I just could have done with a little more (it is not a Michelin star restaurant!)
We then waited approx 10 minutes after we had eaten for them to clear the plates. And continued a further 40 minutes to wait for our (preordered) food. Whilst I understand it was a busy evening, we had booked months in advance and they knew what we were eating, so it shouldn’t have been too hard.
When the mains arrived, they seemed to have got extremely confused by my order (which wasn’t hard). I had ordered a beef and ale pie, which came with greens. On the side I ordered mash. When it came out, they had removed the greens (which fortunately they swiftly replaced) and given me mash. I had never asked anyone to remove the greens. Once again, the portion size was disappointing, especially considering the cost in the restaurant. Generally everyone at the table was happy with the meal, but not ecstatic. The pie itself was full of flavour, but let down by mediocre pastry and dryness. It really should have been served with gravy. The mash was disappointing, I’m a sucker for mash and it has to be perfect, I had to add a lot of seasoning and found myself thinking Nandos is better! (Their mash is spot on). Pudding was the biggest disappointment. D and I had ordered a chocolate brownie to share. This came cold. TO ALL RESTAURANTS – BROWNIES SHOULD BE SERVED HOT! We sent it back and they heated it up (in the microwave of course) but it was not particularly edible, quite clearly a packet brownie that had not been cooked on site. Having given us a mediocre meal with mediocre service, they proceeded to hit us with their extortionate priced bill which included service. One of my pet peeves is service charge – I will choose to give you a tip if you have given me excellent service. I DO NOT GET TIPPED TO DO MY JOB!
Whilst we had a few drinks, I still feel at approx £50 per head this restaurant has a lot of leg work to do to get up to the standard you would expect at that cost. It will be a long while before I am returning.