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“Not the restaurant it used to be - very disappointing! Service? Appalling.”
Review of The Willow Tree

The Willow Tree
Ranked #87 of 725 Restaurants in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $8 - $49
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Description: The Willow Tree plays host to fine dining, entertainment, and wondrous event possibilities. This is a fairy tale venue for all seasons with meadows, garden, tree swings & tipi. The vibrant & diverse dining menu changes with the seasons to ensure ingredients are as fresh & local as can be. Happy Ever After Dining.
Reviewed September 16, 2013

We've always been big fans if the willow tree and over the years have dined there relatively frequently. The setting has always impressed and the food has usually been on the better side of average. I feel compelled to write a review following a spate of appalling service, lack lustre food and price increase which has led us to avoid the pub going forward. Let's start with the service. The waitresses who work at the willow tree appear to loathe their jobs. There is rarely a smile from the majority of them, their expressions are surly and unwelcoming. I have witnessed them being rude to other diners and seem more interested in discussing staff issues than making any polite conversation whist serving customers. The service is also incredibly slow. 20 minutes for two tasteless (and overpriced) cocktails, big gaps between courses and drinks orders. Aside from the unwelcoming, eye avoiding staff, the food has quite simply snow balled down hill. It is bland, amateurish and for the price - they are skimping on quality and quantity. Small, poorly cooked dishes at city prices. To restore this pubs reputation, there needs to be a radical overhaul of front of house staff and a chef team that have the ability to produce tasty flavoursome dishes. Until then, I'm afraid they've lost my custom.

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2  Thank Lorzina66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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324 - 328 of 490 reviews

Reviewed September 5, 2013

The Willow Tree is our 'local' and how pleased we are to have it! On Tuesday we celebrated our Anniversary with a delicious meal. Tasty prawns and lime marinated sardines were our starters and these were followed by an excellent chicken dish and sea bass on lentils from the specials board. Service was both friendly and efficient and we were treated to an Anniversary chocolate and ice cream desert which was a lovely touch. We will certainly be back!

1  Thank Jill J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2013

My partner and I went for a rare night out to the Willow Tree on Tues 20th Aug.
We had been looking forward to it as we had tried to book a table a couple of times but they were always full ( a good sign, or so we thought). We usually go to the Indian up the road which is excellent.
After arriving, we decided to have a drink outside first as it was such a lovely evening. We were given menus to look at and told she would bring the specials board out to us, after 20 mins it never arrived so we went back inside. We were seated straight away and the specials board then arrived about 5 minutes later.
The menu sounds lovely as did the specials so my partner ordered the Duck pate and I ordered a chorizo salad from the specials.
My partner took 2 mouthfuls of the pate then didn't want anymore as it was so bland. If the chef haf tried it he would have realised this too. My salad was ok but just ok, looked better than it tasted.
No check back was done, so it wasn't until they came to clear the plates that the waitress then asked if something was wrong? The pate was taken off the bill and offered to choose something else but this would have delayed our meal even further so we declined.
For mains I chose a chicken dish and my partner had the Mackerel and risotto dish from the Specials board. My partner said that although the Mackerel was cooked ok it wasn't a "wow" and it certainly did not go with the risotto at all. 2 very different dishes on 1 plate.
After eating a fair bit of my chicken dish I noticed that the chicken was looking worryingly pink! You can't see that well due to the low lighting. I left the rest as the thought of being ill the next day was starting to worry me.
My overall impression is that the decor is lovely but either the chef was having a night off or he clearly doesn't have a good palate! The 3 girls that were working that night had to deal with a few complaints not just from our table but I heard 2 other tables complaint about the blandness of the food.
The atmosphere was they were obviously having a bad night and really couldn't wait for the evening to be over.
We declined dessert or coffee, something that usually we would have due to the fact that we just wanted to get out of there.
I think next time we are in Cambridge visiting family we shall be going back to the Indian up the road.

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Thank Babacino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

We found The Willow Tree via the Alastair Sawday website and decided to give it a go for dinner as it was exactly half way between home and on our destination on a 4 hour journey. As we approached the restaurant from the street (we hadn't realised there was a car park to the rear of the building until we left) we assumed the place was closed as it appeared to be in darkness. However, it soon became apparent that the place was bustling and that the apparent gloom was down to candle light. The restaurant was very pretty and we were quickly shown to our table (fortunately, we had booked). Our starters were a bit slow to arrive - we waited about 40 minutes for my cauliflower soup and his tempura prawns - but both were excellent - and apologies were given for the delay. Mains arrived more quickly - his venison burger was "adequate but nothing to write home about" and my salad nicoise (with trout) was fine - although spotting the bones by the light of a candle was a challenge. Unfortunately we didn't have time to sample dessert. Whilst I nipped to the loo and my husband waited for the bill, he overheard a waitress talking to customers (presumably friends) on the next table telling them what a nightmare another table had been - having complained about everything all through the evening. This, somehow, slightly tainted what was otherwise a very pleasant experience and we left without leaving a tip.

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1  Thank JD2007_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2013

The establishment and staff were pleasant. The food was very good, but not excellent. However, I would go there again.

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

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