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“The Worst Breakfast Ever...Ruined the Whole Experience”
Review of The Parlour

The Parlour
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Ranked #23 of 142 Restaurants in Stratford
Price range: $15 - $50
Cuisines: International, Gastropub
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Large groups, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Families with children, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed September 9, 2012

First of all, I am in utter shock and disbelief that this restaurant is rated #3 in Stratford. Not sure if we visited during an off time or they were just having a bad day or what, but this was indeed the worst breakfast experience I have had in a long time, in any restaurant in Canada or in the United States, regarding a breakfast entree.

We decided to visit this restaurant for Brunch on the morning of Saturday, September 9th. First of all, my antenna should have went up when I noticed that the restaurant was mostly empty. However, seeing as though it was about 9:45 a.m., we made the assumption that perhaps other guests had eaten much earlier and left.

We were greeted warmly and seated quickly. The table was fine, and the decor was very nice too. I had a Tom Thomson print beside me and it was very nice to look at. The server arrived with water from what appeared to be a clear bottle shaped like a wine bottle. It was served quickly.

To their credit, the restaurant had a very unique, creative brunch menu and there appeared to be many tasty offerings. The young man who was our server was very pleasant and came to take the order. We gave him our drink vouchers (we received this upon check-in in the hotel.) We used them for a glass of orange juice each. It seemed to take a little longer than expected to get the juice. Then, after some deliberation, my daughter and I both opted for the huevos rancheros. Ten minutes later, the server returned to clarify what we had ordered. Then, another ten to fifteen minutes went by, at least, until the food appeared.

The breakfasts arrived, and my daughter began eating hers. She seemed to be fine with it. I put the fork into mine, and it hit something hard. It wasn't sure what it was, so I took a closer look. It was a piece of potato, and it definitely presented as though it was frozen. Ok...so I thought that perhaps this was just one tiny part that wasn't heated through. I attempted the opposite end of where I had put in my fork, and that part was cold too. I poked around near the edge of the wrap, and tasted there. It was also cold, and it appeared as though some water was evident (that one would see when something was defrosting.) I tried a fourth time towards the middle and then I told my daughter. I can't eat this. It's not cooked. I made the reluctant decision to send the food back. This is the first time I've done this EVER, and it really puts one at a disadvantage, as I'm sure the cook wondered why one meal was fine and the other was not.

My daughter called over the server and he was very apologetic. I just asked him if he could heat it up a little. My daughter continued to eat her breakfast and I just sipped water and chatted, while I waited for mine to reappear. About ten to fifteen minutes later, my food arrived. My daughter had eaten about half of hers at this point.

When my food came back, there were visible dark markings on the outer shell of the tortilla (wrap.) Some might have called them burn marks. I figured that this was to show me that this had now been cooked, so I didn't complain. It was hot inside, and I checked several areas, and it appeared to be cooked. The presentation wasn't as nice as the first one I had. The salsa and sour cream had just been plunked on top, and there were some jalapenos on top of that.

Speaking of the jalalpenos, when I got to those, they tasted funny....kind of like soap. I immediately cleared my palate with water, and I tried another bite....exact same taste. I pushed them off to the side and ate the rest of the food. The waiter had come a little earlier to see if the temperature was to my liking, and it was. However, at this point, the server was not around, and I decided that I just wanted out of there. About ten minutes went by until we saw the server again, and we requested the bill. Two heuvos rancheros at $12.00 each was $24.00 and with tax, it was just over $27.00. Don't forget that the OJ was free! With a $3.00 tip (I didn't want to punish the young man, as he appeared to be doing the best that he could), the bill was just over $30.00. Kind of steep, if you ask me, for what we had. The meal didn't even include coffee.

To conclude, after having a wonderful visit to this hotel, (first time visit), this breakfast wrecked it. When I left, I didn't feel very well, and I decided to visit a nearby chain coffee shop, in order to get a cup of tea. We come to Stratford every year, and this has never happened before.
Just to put this into context, we don't have unreasonable expectations. We eat breakfast at Tim Horton's, IHOP in the States, and regularly in hotels (just ate in Boston in August.) Would I ever eat here again? NEVER in a million years. Not with a voucher; not for free; not for anything.

It's very sad, as the menu has many interesting options. However, this one experience has turned me off this place forever. In retrospect, I should have called the manager. However, in most establishments, if a dish is sent back to the kitchen, the manager automatically appears.

When one walks around the central core of Stratford, there are many vacant stores that are for lease, including many restaurants. I hope this restaurant takes heed of this review, or they will end up just like the other ones in the area.

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Thank Anne Marie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
theparlour, Owner at The Parlour, responded to this reviewResponded September 11, 2012

There really doesn't seem to be any response that would be acceptable except to apologize for your experience in the restaurant. As our reviews show we generally get top marks for food and service, but obviously we were not on our game. We have already started working on customer service training (as we obviously were not attentive), working on our preparation of the Huevos (which usually are one of the most popular dishes on the menu), and our procedures when there is a problem at a table (to make sure it is properly rectified). We do pickle the jalapeños ourselves and will look at the spices that may have caused the flavour (possibly anise, cinnamon or coriander).

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (435)
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356 - 360 of 435 reviews

Reviewed September 8, 2012

If you're in Stratford and hungry, this place is a must. I loved my salmon with pesto served on spinach and green beans. My mom ate the chorizo and lobster pasta which I also tasted: it was fabulous. Our wait person was very professional and knew the menu well.

Unfortunately, neither one of us had enough room left to try the Pavlova but it sure looked great. We'll return next year and make it a point leave food on our plate so that we can try this dessert.

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Thank Joyce E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2012

Stratford, Ontario is a great city because of The Stratford Festival. We think the best breakfast and family restaurant is Let Them Eat Cake. We think the best high-end restaurant is The
Parlour.

The ambience is pleasant and refined. Service is professional and not snobbish. The cuisine is cutting-edge but not molecular. The desserts are fabulous, especially the Pavlova, mentioned by other reviewers. The Parlour is the place for an elegant meal without pretentiousness. Try it. Order the Pavlova.

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1  Thank Herman M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2012

Were very impressed with this restaurant. Delicious food, attentive service. Not inexpensive but worth it. Very nice outdoor patio area.

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Thank Brian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2012

My friend and I have done an extensive comparison search on the best Pavlova in Stratford, and the Parlour consistently wins it so much, that we don't go anywhere else when we visit. We generally top off an evening of great theater with Pavlova and coffee and it is sumptious. But since it's all year, we don't worry about calories! It's airy, light and the accompanying sauces are perfectly balanced.

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Thank Dodyv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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