We live near to the Riverhill and have been intending to visit, particularly since Clare Lara took over. We enjoyed seeing a Wirral winner of Masterchef and her cooking was very impressive throughout the series. This is an unusual review for me, as normally my reviews reflect our meals as a couple. On this occasion it was a dinner organised by a local group, so we were two out of forty. It was an opportunity for us to see what the Riverhill was like, and for the Riverhill to sell itself to a group of local, potential customers.
The whole experience was remarkably poor. They had another group booking so were hopelessly overstretched. When we arrived the bar was packed so we had a drink whilst constantly having to move to let other people through. We were given a very officious talk to make sure we choose lamb or chicken both in the bar and later at the table. The little lecture and a later intervention in the dining room could have been delivered by Basil Fawlty.
There was no barrier between the two parties, just a large open arch, so we couldn't hear our speaker. The real disappointment was the food however. Vegetable soup followed by either roast lamb or chicken is not ambitious, but it was done badly. I had overcooked lamb after the bland soup, and the vegetables were either over or under cooked. The desserts were fine but very standard. This was the kind of group who would happily have paid more for a good or even decent meal, and I felt it was a badly missed opportunity by the hotel. I would really like to have a good dining option so close by, but we have been put off trying it. Some members of the party said they had been and that the food was good if somewhat unambitious, and the atmosphere a bit staid. They were bemused by how bad it was. We obviously can't vouch for their views but are less likely to test them in the near future, when we can go somewhere like Nova in Heswall and be sure of accomplished cooking.
I will continue to follow the reviews on Tripadvisor and we will visit before too long if only to see whether there really is a huge gap between our experience and a conventional a la carte meal. I certainly wouldn't go again for a group event, and I hope the Riverhill looks to improve its party catering as I would like them to succeed.
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