The Red Lion, Culross, Fife.

I write this blog as a hobby. Finding different places to eat in and write about is something OH and I both enjoy as it gives as something to do at the weekend. However, last night I was out for dinner on a works night out (we had a visitor from the states that we wanted to entertain) and I now feel compelled to write about our experience. Normally I wouldn’t bother, which is why there are no photographs as I had no intention of reviewing The Red Lion in Culross, where we had booked a table for 8 people at 6 o’clock.

As 1 person had backed out and 1 was joining us late, 6 of as turned up at 6pm and were seated. Soon our drinks order was taken and a jug of water appeared on the table. All was looking good as we poured over the menu. There was a specials board that added 2 different starters and 4 extra main courses. The menu we had in our hands was lengthy and offered everything from  fish cakes to steaks. There was quite a few veggie options as well as light bites, salads and side orders – prices were on average £12 for a main meal.

After a short wait, all our drinks arrived apart from one person’s but when prompted it was quickly brought through from the bar. When our late one arrived (just after 6) and had her drink, everyone gave their food order. As it turned out everyone ordered something different. Our visitor from the states asked for the lamb from the specials board. 2 had ordered starters of haggis creggans, which was obviously something that was regularly ordered as it was on the set 3 course special menu. By approximately 6.45 pm we still didn’t have any haggis starters so someone went to ask. This prompted a waitress to go to the kitchen and then return saying the starters were right on their way but they had just ran out of lamb and could our guy from the states order something else. He then plumped for the steak and haggis pie. The starters arrived and were devoured by the already hungry mob who couldn’t sit and watch the others eating.

Then the waitress appeared, again full of apologies to our guy from the states. They had run out of pastry tops and could he order something else. He eventually went for the Cumberland sausage, onion gravy and mash. Then the waitress realised someone else had also ordered a pie and asked them to reorder as well. Now I’m no great chef but even I could rattle up some pastry at short notice.  The waitress offered us a round of drinks on the house to make up for the lack of lamb and pastry. She explained that they’d had a lot of unexpected ‘walk-ins’ and were struggling to cope. Again, I’m no business owner but I think I would be concentrating on the people who had pre-booked and had been sitting waiting for an hour. Of course that’s if they knew we were sitting waiting or had the waitress only given our order to the chef when we asked for our starters??

Eventually, after another lengthy wait, our main meals arrived and the food was good. It was really good. No-one had any complaints about the quality or amount of food on their plates. It was so good people even ordered desserts.

By 9.15 everyone was finished so we asked for the bill. We were assured it would be straight with us. By 9.30 pm we were still waiting for the bill. We had to go up and interrupt the chatting waitresses to ask for it. They hadn’t even rung it up. When it arrived we checked it out so we could split the bill and noticed that all the drinks were on it. A bit embarrassed, we had to call the waitress over and say. She assured us she had taken off the round of drinks personally.  She took the bill away and returned apologising yet again. She wasn’t sure what had happened but gave us the revised bill with the round of drinks now off it.

It was a long night. Thank goodness for the good company and good food as it made up for the horrendous amount of time we spent in the restaurant.

It’s just not fair on the chef when he/she is producing excellent food for it to be so overshadowed by such piss-poor service. Unfortunately, after our experience, I won’t be rushing back.

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