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“Over-promises & under-delivers...” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Red Duster

The Red Duster
37 High Street, Cowes PO31 7RF, England
01 983 290311
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Ranked #11 of 50 Restaurants in Cowes
Price range: $39 - $61
Cuisines: European, English
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Transit: High Speed Ferry
London, United Kingdom
1 review
“Over-promises & under-delivers...”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2012

We chose to eat here on Saturday night. The menu looked wonderful and we were genuinely excited about the options available. We hadn’t booked and were shown to a table upstairs which was a disappointing comparison to the cosy and quaint, if not very twee booths downstairs. We laughed that it reminded us of a soulless conference centre or a function room at a very drab hotel. The chairs were too small for the tables, I didn’t feel comfortable but wasn’t too concerned as I thought I was in for a treat of a meal, that this restaurant was “one of those places” where the food was so good the atmosphere and décor would pale into insignificance.
Being vegetarian I ordered the macaroni crumble to start and the spaghetti for my main. The macaroni itself was average; the “crumble topping” consisted of breadcrumbs, which were dry and tasteless. The spaghetti was served swimming in a bowl of water topped with soggy red onions, soggy pear and a fair amount of blue cheese. Had these ingredients have been cooked to perfection and fused together properly (as the menu suggested they would) it would have been a fabulous dinner but unfortunately they were carelessly thrown together which resulted in me feeling ill and dismayed after attempting to eat it.

My friend ordered the chowder to start which she found very disappointing and missing some ingredients that were detailed in the menu. For her main, the fish – which was average and inconsistently cooked, her peas were burnt, I didn’t know it was possible to burn peas.

I can’t fault the service and liked our waitress very much, I was embarrassed to have to complain to her, but the prices were placed high enough to warrant a good standard of food and quite frankly, I felt ripped off. She dealt with it well and to be fair did discount our bill. We paid and left immediately. All in all it was a very disappointing experience.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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94 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Romsey, United Kingdom
1 review
“We travel from the Mainland just to eat here.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2012

I would never have recognised this restaurant from some of these reviews! Several friends and I have been coming here for lunch for 3 years now and have never been disappointed. As vegetarians, we all agree we have never had such a tempting choice of food. The atmosphere is cosy, we like to sit in the window and watch Cowes go by. The staff are really obliging and friendly. Already looking forward to my next visit!

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Swindon, England
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“lovely midweek lunch”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

Reading below this place is a bit hit-and-miss so we might have struck lucky at the end of August, popping in for a quiet lunch without the kids.

It was a horrendously wet day and we'd no intention of walking far round Cowes so when we saw the menu board outside and liked the look of the place we went in.

We were the only customers, and had really nice meal.
Chicken for me and steak for the other half - both really nice, served with plenty of veg and trimmings.

I think we paid c£60 for 2 courses with a bottle of wine. More expensive than a pub lunch, but definitely well worth it.

It is a small dining room, so I can imagine it gets crowded/noisy, but isnt the case in a lot of places. If you're passing by and it's on the quiet side its well worth stepping inside.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Mays Landing, New Jersey
Top Contributor
185 reviews 185 reviews
119 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 93 cities Reviews in 93 cities
114 helpful votes 114 helpful votes
“Too many people”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

The problem here is there is no control of people at the door. People just keep packing in, until the people seated literally have they food pushed off the table. The place has no air movement and is incredibly hot. Eventually we just asked for our food and left rather than get pushed out the door.

  • Visited May 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Hertford, United Kingdom
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Satisfactory but unexciting”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

I'm told that the Red Duster has rather erratic opening times and I have to confess that in all the times we've been to Cowes we never seen it open before. So when we saw the lights on and people inside, we couldn't resist taking a look.

Unfortunately we were seated upstairs next to the kitchen door in a rather characterless room; downstairs looked much nicer. Luckily a large party at another table dragged the upstairs atmosphere above mausoleum level. However, our table was dingy with no light above and a single tea-light that remained unlit until we requested that they light it. Also, our chairs were too small for the table so the table seemed very high - most odd.

The menu was interesting and the food was okay but nothing special. I had a swordfish steak which was cooked inconsistently so some was undercooked and some overcooked. The bits in the middle though were very good. This sat on a 'swamp' of vegetables and came with a pot of slightly overcooked rice. My wife had pork chops and I think she was more successful in her choice. On the whole it was satisfactory but unexciting.

The service was good but very amateur. The waiter really hadn't got a clue how to talk to customers or present food. That being said, he was very friendly.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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