Don't go when it is busy. We arrived at lunchtime and thought ourselves lucky to find a table, but the waitress decided to give menus to the people who came in after us while ignoring our initially polite but increasingly strident attempts to be given one. She then took a complicated order from some people who had been waiting, menu in hand since before we came in ten minutes earlier, and disappeared again. My wife went up to the kitchen door, but there was no sign of service, just two women icing cakes (in the middle of the lunch period).
We were finally issued with a menu, followed by another period of absence of any staff in the restaurant. We had had to clear our own table, the people waiting to pay when we went in had left some money and gone, and no-one had been served any food. We gave up and went to the National Trust cafe, where you might have to queue, but where at least you will get something when you get to the front of the queue.
On the way out we passed several staff having a nice chat with a group of people at one of the outside tables. Friendly chat to customers, good: ignoring other cutomers, bad.
While we were queuing at the NT cafe the people who had come into this place after us came up behind. They too had just given up waiting.
Any sort of restaurant needs to understand that people arrive hungry and thirsty, and need some reassurance that they will get fed and watered within a reasonable time. That seems to be a matter of chance at this place. I rarely give a one star rating, but a cafe that cannot produce a cup of tea and a bowl of soup deserves no more.
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