Six of us visited this restaurant yesterday for dinner and the challenges started as soon as we arrived. It had been raining and it was dark and blustery. The car park was not well lit in parts and I stepped in a puddle and stumbled in a dark, uneven, area.
Next challenge was the seating. Six of us, three each side, were seated in a very small area with space for just two tables – so small that the backs of our chairs were so close to the other table (that I think seated eight) that the waiter/waitress had difficulty squeezing through. It was very warm and unpleasant.
We were offered one slice of bread – the bread basket was not left on the table. We should have asked for more because the bread was excellent.
As for the food, some of us had just returned from the South West of France and so we ordered the foie gras and duck confit to compare it with the French regional specialities we had enjoyed over the years. This version of foie gras with chicken parfait was OK. The duck confit was OK. One of our group had one of the day’s Specials – French Onion soup. In aiming to be ‘as it should be’ it erred too much on the side of the solid with arguably too little soup. Two had steaks with a sauce. The steaks were OK but there was another challenge – no steak knives. We asked for some but were told they didn’t have any left. One of us had the venison and he said it was good. Desserts were very good, though. Some had sticky toffee pudding, others the warm chocolate and orange pudding. My wife and I just had an espresso – it was far too bitter, not good. The wine list was above average – the St Emilion was excellent.
The cost was OK and worked out at about £35 a head including drinks. Oh yes – we had to pay a £60 booking fee in advance (it was deducted from the bill).
The staff who served the drinks and dishes saved the evening. They were very pleasant.
Overall, this restaurant creates expectations that, for us, were not delivered last night. We may have been more comfortable and relaxed seated in a part of the restaurant where table spacing was better. So no fundamental complaints, but not a memorable experience. It may prove a more attractive proposition to those who like game, and to those who live locally.
We would have liked to have given The Pot Kiln an overall 3+ stars - it's better than Average, but in our view it's not an overall 4-star Very Good.
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