Written on: 30/04/2006 by m1bjr (1 review written)
Service was timely, but two staff waiting our table consecutively was a little worrying. Suggests no organisation or lack of trust between the staff.
The quality and presentation of the food.
The attitude of the owner/manager following criticism of his standards.
I have watched the Bathpool Inn try to re-invent itself over recent years, but the 'early bird' and 'bikers night' type hoardings always deterred me. However, my appetite got the better of me after a particularly heavy bout of retail therapy in nearby Taunton.
Initial impression was of a nice looking, but fairly common-place, reproduction country kitchen. Although only apparently waiting about a third of available covers, it was suggested we should book as they were very busy. However, a table was found, drinks order taken and delivered promptly. The menu would hardly stretch most competent chefs, but with a small menu I find the dishes are often practiced to a much higher standard, so it is hardly a negative point.
Food arrived within a reasonable time, but was very obviously not prepared correctly. Bowls of Penne pasta were so overcooked they ovalled and went flat within minutes. The promised garlic Ciabatta consisted of four very small slices between two, and required wringing out before being edible. The 'crisp salad' was most definitely a breach of the trade descriptions act. Aside the fact I felt we should have been served a bowl each. Browning lettuce was thinly disguised under a large ladle of dressing, which may have been honey-mustard but remains unconfirmed. I did notice about 1/8" of dressing in the base of the small oval salad dish at about the halfway point. Interesting presentation, but with no choice of what and how much.
Oddly the pasta sauce was advertised as Mushroom and Stilton, although the Stilton was most noticeable by its absence from the dish.
We managed about half of the dish each, and suggested to our waitress (one of two, remember) that all was not as it should be.
Now, I'm not entirely sure who the large red-faced old chap was who approached us, but it's fair to assume he was the owner. Without even letting us finish our criticisms of his chefs ability, he waved his hands in the air, said loudly "You can have it all for nothing" and strutted off. No doubt to pour another richly deserved glass of cider.
So, an interesting dining experience this one, and I have had many. Working one time as a chef does not ordinarily imply I am hyper-critical of others talents, but when I cross paths with such behaviour from a businessman it always makes me sad. For there is only one way a business run in this manner can go.