Lovely setting, BUT we had to wait a full 5 mins waiting at bar whilst the barlady served 1 elderly couple - then proceeded to wrap cutley and set tables, leaving us standing at the bar waiting for service. A foreign barstaff member then came to take our order, a jug of Speights shandy & glass of Sav (not too much of an ask of a classic Kiwi pub) after some awkward discussion, he said 'not cold-not cold' and picked up a pint glass. I relented and pointed at Steinlager Cold tap & Wine menu to make our order. Beer tasted bloody good after several minutes waiting.......
Anyway we decided to eat here & ordered Fish, only to be told no-one had been fishing today so that was not an option. This was at 6pm on Sat 5th Jan 2013, a band was playing later so I would have expected that at peak season at 6pm there was still options - even if you had an exceptional lunch day and ran out of fish, Halswell New World would still be open to purchase more fresh fish to satisfy customers at a reduced profit margin. I ordered another Steinlager Cold - presenting the empty glass.We took a table and were served by another pleasant chap and settled on the burger and chips option. We then watched a staff member clean windows to the lovely smell of windowlean - (should have done this at 10am before doors opened).....and also use minivac to suck up big blowflys. Our barlady then brought me a Steinie Pure in a stubbie ( I had asked for Cold on tap and given her glass), but she managed to get Sav right !.
The table next to us sat down & were keen to order Fish as well and got the same response we did, and were also told they were out of Diet Coke until Monday.......I didnt know there was a national shortage at peak season, Coca Cola normally produce extra for summer....
Guys you have a great setting, food was good but service although friendly was poor & disorganised and everyone seemed to be doing all different roles. The foreign chap who couldn't give us what we ordered was cooking pizza's, our table waiter also appeared to be the chef and the main barlady was all over the show not really being effective in any role. And the staff member who was cleaning windows, seemed to focus only on wiping outside tables, while incoming customers were queueing to be served.
It really felt like an episode of Fawlty Towers !.
We ran a pub ourselves for 6 years, so we know it aint easy - but customer service is everything...
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
August 5, 2013
Thank you for your review. We regret that you had a bad experience at Hilltop Tavern. Regarding the fish, we order our fish from the local fisherman, who had always been able to provide us with ample fish up until that period. The vast majority of fish from the local supermarkets (to our surprise on enquiry) is pre-frozen and we would rather not serve fish than serve fish below our high standards. We have since put in place various 'back up' options so as to not disappoint our customers.
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Being in a rural location, coca cola is only delivered fortnightly. We ran out of diet coke and fresh fish for one day during high season. While it is regretful, our alternative was to lose a staff member for 2 hours while they drove into Christchurch. We chose to keep all our staff onsite.
We acknowledge that there was a lack of organization in the front of house. We have since appointed a brilliant front of house manager and refined and defined staff roles and responsibilities. Thank you for your helpful feedback in bringing this to our attention.
All of our front of house staff have fluent English. Our very helpful Pizza Chef saw you waiting, so did his best to help you. We apologize for the difficult communication and are very sorry you had to wait and were not treated with the hospitality you deserve whilst in our establishment.
Please do visit us again and see the continual improvements that we strive for.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.