This is one blog I have wanted to publish for a very long time. That said if you know that it has changed since my visit then please do say so but you need to be qualified!
I had two very good friends over from Switzerland back in February 2008 and they stayed with us for a long weekend. Its a standing joke that we cannot take these people to places local to us because nothing compares to that of Switzerland (German part).
It was a crazy warm, yes warm February day and I wanted to show John how incredible Pitch Hill is for the views on beatifully clear crisp winter mornings. This went perfectly to plan with me managing to show someone who is used to Swiss mountain views, how wonderful the Surrey Hills are. After the relatively short walk we got back in the car and made our way down the hill and I suggested we stop at the Windmill pub/restaurant. I really wanted to try this place as on several other attempts I had been abused in terms of wallet, pallet and service. I knew it had been taken over since my last abuse and as always I will give new blood every opportunity to show how much it has changed for the good. Oh dear!
We turned up and neither of us were hungry but we thought lets just have two swift halfs and share something light. We ordered our drinks at the bar and because it was so unusually warm that day we took our drinks outside with a menu. We were not the only ones to do this as several others were eating outside too.
For those of you who do not know about the Windmill the new owners have spent a lot of money installing a terraced hard wood deck as the pub is perched in the middle of the Surrey Hills in pole position over looking a wonderful country valley scene. What could be more perfect!
Having looked through the menu my friend and I decided to share a ploughmans lunch as we were not too hungry. It is perhaps important to note that this ploughmans was £12.95, yes I’ll repeat that’s £12.95. We waited for a waitress to pass and then ordered.
“No problem Sir” came the waitress “but you you will need to move table to the lower deck.”
I then explained that we were quite happy where we were.
“Sorry Sir we cannot serve you here.”
“Why?” I asked
“Its because we are only serving on the lower deck.”
“No” I said “as we do not want to move as we are comfortable here.” and especially as there were so few people so what is the problem. She did not know what to say and agreed we could eat where we were were sitting.
Now you would think that would have been the end of it. Oh no, as the manageress came over and said “Sorry sir you will have to move table and eat on the lower deck.” I again explained that we did not want to move but she was having none of it.
Perhaps it is worth pointing out at this stage there were probably as many tables with people eating as there were waiting staff so the restaurant was not rushed off their feet and neither were they likely to be as the time was approximately 13:30. At this moment I had had enough, here I was trying to order a plouhgmans lunch for ONE for £12.95 and the staff could not be bothered to bring the dish up two very short flights of stairs when the place is virtually empty. I cancelled my order and the waitress looked very upset.
It is perhaps worth pointing out that with virtually the same ingredients AND cooked I could have gone home, ordered a pizza and had it delivered to my house for £8.
When oh when will businesses ever learn!
We left and have never been back since.
- It is not enough to renovate a restaurant and expect to be a successful business. This place needs to completely rethink how it interfaces with its customers. I have spoken with local people who have had similar experiences.
Would we go back? Certainly not as the prices were as outrageous as the staff.