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“Christmas Day Lunch - huge disappointment”
Review of The Talkhouse

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The Talkhouse
Ranked #45 of 82 Oxford B&B and Inns
Hastings, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Christmas Day Lunch - huge disappointment”
Reviewed December 28, 2012

We expect to pay premium rates on Christmas Day but we also expect tasty well prepared food and an enjoyable ambience in return. Both were cruelly absent this year. I don't intend to go through the meal offering but suffice it to say the turkey was pre-packaged and awful and so was the duck.

Customer menu choices were provided well in advance so there can be no excuse for hard sprouts, soggy roast potatoes etc etc. The surly and unobliging staff failed to rescue the situation.

It seemed to me that staff and food costs had been drastically cut leaving the diners more than disappointed on what should be a great occasion. Out final cost including tip came out at £66.00 per head - not money well spent I'm afraid.

Perhaps our experience goes some way to explain the drop in diners' numbers for 90 last year to 30 this year.

This is written more in sadness than in anger.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank EmperorJustinian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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170 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
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English first
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 19, 2012

After visiting the website and subsequently the venue, it looked the perfect place for our team's Christmas lunch. It is true that the location is great and the restaurant/bar is very warm, cosy and tastefully decorated. It is a lovely-looking place and expectations were high. However, we were massively let down and disappointed by not only the quality of the food (and therefore in turn the value for money was poor) but also dreadful service. Some of the points that we agreed contributed to an unpleasant experience were:

- asked for wine list 10 mins before the starters arrived and was given it almost immediately, but no one came to ask what I wanted; I had to ask to be assisted after the main course had been served as I couldn't catch anyone's eye. Apologies were forthcoming so clearly the waiter realised he had forgotten about me.

- the waiter took all of the starter plates away whilst one person was still eating; they felt rushed and this is pretty basic stuff when it comes to restaurant service.

- no table water, or even offered

- the roast potatoes were dry, not crispy outside and tasteless; all agreed that they were not nice at all and seemed to have been left for a long time after cooking. Surely cooking a decent roast potato should be on a chef's repertoire? I've honestly not had worse.

- there was hardly any gravy on plate, so all the food was very dry; there was also no gravy provided on the table. We could have asked for some, but for a table of 11 people you would expect that basics like this were provided without having to ask.

- there was also hardly any brandy sauce/custard (we couldn't quite work out what it was) on the Christmas pudding; so those of us that chose it had to leave half the pudding as it so dry. Again, no jug of sauce was provided on the table; so simple to keep people happy.

- a complimentary plate of "something" was placed on our table, the waiter said "courtesy of the chef". It looked a bit like stollen or bread pudding in bitesize pieces but we weren't sure and the waiter didn't offer to tell us what it was. As he was walking away, we asked what it was and he shrugged his shoulders and said he "wasn't sure" then continued to walk away. We all found that very funny, mainly because he wasn't being intentionally funny and it was the last straw after a series of blunders.

- it took 20 mins from being given the bill before someone came back to attend to us and take payment; we couldn't get anyone's attention to come over, but we shouldn't have to. What happened to attentive service?

Many of these things when looked at individually are minor but in the course of a LUNCH, having all of these issues is just not acceptable. It was not overly busy or particularly under-staffed so there is just no excuse. When paying almost £25 for a Christmas lunch, you expect a lot more. So there are clearly issues here at this restaurant - not just with the chef and kitchen staff providing poor quality food, but also with the waiting staff providing consistently poor service. If I owned this place, I'd be wanting to take a long, hard look at how things are being run.

I will certainly not be coming back again, nor recommending it. In fact, all I can do is warn anyone away from here if I hear of anyone contemplating a visit. Up your game and you could have a great place.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Kinesis79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Reviewed December 3, 2012

Stayed here for three nights in November, curtains were torn and threadbare, pillows flat and lumpy, bathroom blind was damaged and dirty and the bathroom had a lot of black mould. An outside courtyard light shone through the glass panel of the door all night and we had to hang a coat there to stop the light. Plugs were dodgy and there was no bulb in the light fitting above the bath. Food was mediocre, as was the service. Overall a pretty grim experience.

Room Tip: check the room thoroughly for cleanliness and good working order of plugs, lights etc. and try and a...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank blogberrytart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2012

Arrived on Friday, and were soon showed to our room which at first sight was really nice, small but nice.Opens up on to courtyard, which in the summer could be very nice,bed was very comfy and slept very well, Very warm room with plenty of hot water,reallyffy towels, however the bathroom could do with an update and the curtains were almost falling apart. We ate in the restaraunt on the first night which was very nice, service decent and we didn't think it too pricey, we have paid more for less quality.Overall a decent weekend

Room Tip: Ask for American Paint room you are on the end and nice and quiet.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Carl S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed November 25, 2012

This is my local drinking hole and I didn't want to write a review but I have tried to contact Fullers to express my irritation of the manager but they haven't responded. The manager is often behind the bar but he constantly is grumpy and never welcoming - it is always a chore for him to serve us and he never acknowledges that we are local and keep the bread and butter funds in the till. The young staff are usually keen to help but the turnover of staff is fast and more often than not they know very little. Fullers need to get in and stop this star of a pub falling off its perch.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank passionflowerOxford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
235 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2012 via mobile

We had great memories of this place, it was always a real treat to go for lunch and supper. The place looks the same when you arrive but the food quality has lost its edge over the years. Shame as they are still using photos of earlier days offerings on their web site.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
1 Thank LenBrownB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
135 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed November 9, 2012

Lovely quaint pub in a quite village just outside Oxford (about 6 miles). Very 'olde worlde' bar area and restaurant and a very nice garden (which was too cold to use when we stayed there!)
The 4 rooms are in a converted stable block in the garden, and although not large, were very clean and comfortable. Lovely a quiet at night and slept well.
Ate in the restaurant for dinner and thought it was a bity pricey, but the food was good.
The staff (which I presume was the Manager) was very cheerful, friendly and helpful, but we did struggle for some to get any attention to pay the bill in the restaurant which was not busy at the time.
There is another pub in the village just behind this one, but it is changing hands and was closed during our visit.
If you are looking for comfotable rooms, in a lovely old village pub away from the busy centre of Oxford then I would suggest this is good value for money.
I would definately stay here again.

Room Tip: Only 4 rooms all in the same old converted stable block. Didn't see any of the others inside, bu...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Abbey2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Talkhouse

Property: The Talkhouse
Address: The Gate House Wheatley Road | Stanton St. John, Oxford OX33 1EH, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Oxford
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #45 of 82 B&Bs / Inns in Oxford
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
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Also Known As:
The Talkhouse Hotel Oxford

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