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“New Year's Day Disappointment”
Review of Freemasons Arms

Freemasons Arms
Ranked #16,748 of 23,845 Restaurants in London
Price range: $11 - $25
Cuisines: Bar, Grill
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Set in the wonderful location of Hampstead, The Freemasons Arms is a unique country pub and restaurant that blends rural charm with modern flair. We invite you to dine out in stylish yet welcoming surroundings and sample our seasonal menus, perfectly complimented by an array of cask conditioned ales and fine wines
Reviewed January 4, 2013

Food was better than average pub food. Service was atrocious. We waited long periods for service between courses. We were not seated in the main restaurant dining room, although we made a reservation. Lots of young wait staff moving around, however the restaurant appeared to be suffering from a New Year's Eve hangover.

Has been better on previous visits in the summer.

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Thank htether
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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359 - 363 of 435 reviews

Reviewed January 1, 2013

I went with a largish party for Christmas lunch at the Freemasons Arms. This is a large pub/bar with a sizeable restaurant attached. It was a very poor experience and expensive. Firstly we were not able to take our seats at the time booked. OK things can get a little late around Christmas but we were just left standing around. When we were finally seated our host attempted to order wine but was told this was impossible until staff had finished laying up the table! Further protest finally brought the wine list.

The restaurant was full and it was quite clear that the waiting staff were not coping. Some were apologetic and ineffective; others were just downright surly and rude. It was in fact disgraceful. To give an example of the incompetence - the guest beside me had ordered soup which came without a spoon. She requested one. None came. She requested again. None came. Eventually she left the restaurant and went to the bar next door to get one. After she had finished her soup the waiter finally delivered a spoon. Bread had to be ordered separately and, eventually, enough for one third of our party was delivered. We had to reorder to obtain enough.

It was an hour and a half before our main course was delivered, in dribs and drabs, with some of us finishing before others had been served. I cannot understand why this should be the case since all menus were prebooked with known start times and predetermined choices from the set Christmas menu. They just seemed unable to cope.

The set menu itself was £69 without any drinks. Not cheap but was the food good? My first course was seared pigeon breast marinated in honey and Szechuan pepper on a pancetta and Savoy cabbage galette with a pomegranate sauce. Sounds promising. Whereas the galette was fine the pigeon breast had been so overcooked it was like a bullet and almost inedible. My main was beef filet Wellington with duxelle truffle and Madeira jus. The beef was cooked properly, not overdone, but at the expense of not cooking the surrounding pastry which was uncooked and almost raw. Beef Wellington is not an easy dish and if the chef cannot manage it, the restaurant should not serve it. The pudding was mince pie and brandy Eton mess with spicy plum compote. It was in fact a disgrace with what seemed like ordinary shop mince pies mashed into overwhipped tasteless cream. My wife had lobster thermidor which she said was good.

The restaurant was heavily overcrowded, noisy and little space left between the tables. Service throughout was poor, resentful and often rude – a cursory glance showed we were not the only ones with other tables in similar positions.

I will never be attending the Freemasons Arms again. I can only suppose this is not typical of their normal service but was a function of their inability to cope with full bookings.

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3  Thank EverhopefulLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 25, 2012

No longer really a pub, but a former one, which has been transmogrified into a restaurant, and a coffee lounge. We had elected to go here for the festive Xmas dinner. What a disappointment. Though the food was very nicely presented, one could easily tell that it had been cooked using cheap ingredients, which were not very tasty, so no prizes for this establishment for this.

Of course, all the serving staff employed here are clearly quite frankly amateurs; so when I find that a so-called 12.5% "optional" service charge has been added to my bill I find that both outrageous and damn cheeky. There ought to be a law against that practice, as tipping is fully customarily a voluntary act, and the amount to be given must never be presumed, and never suggested. The customary tip in this country is 10%. Middle class eateries masquerading as and pretending to be up-market restaurants, like this one, which seem automatically always to add a 12.5% service charge, should be brought to book about this practice, especially as it seems now to be added on top of the meal price with its VAT included, so if VAT goes up so does the service charge, and that's not right.

Puddles on the floor in the loo always gets my back up.

The lack of a proper places to hang one's coat is unthoughtful, especially in winter

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2  Thank sir_recorder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2012

This very cosy pub close in Hampstead is one of my favorite places in London. Good old style pub with fantastic garden in the summer. Personally I think the restaurant used to be better before the restoration, when they served simple english food (epic hunter's chicken!) but then again the atmosphere now has improved. Staff is nice and price is reasonable for London.

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Thank blessthechef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2012

Went for a lovely walk on the Heath and then had a great lunch with friends. Some of the other reviews marked down on service and food but in my opinion you get what you pay for. The menu is good, the quality fine and service with a smile if a little slow. Thumbs up.

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

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