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“WORST MEAL OF MY LIFE - LITERALLY”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of The Salty Dog Pub

The Salty Dog Pub
Cuisines: Bar, Pub, New Zealand
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Families with children, Large groups, Kids
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Red Beach, New Zealand
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“WORST MEAL OF MY LIFE - LITERALLY”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 8, 2014

DREADFUL! I visited The Salty Dog for a Sunday lunchtime drink yesterday with my wife and another couple. The comfortable Lounge Bar was closed until 5.00pm for some reason and we had to go to the "Sports Bar" which is a flash term for "Public Bar". Two beers, a glass of white and a child's sized glass of Coke mixed at the tap cost $28.00 which was hefty since we weren't in downtown Auckland in a buzzing bar overlooking the Viaduct Harbour.

The blackboard "Special" lunch menu sounded tempting - Roast Lamb or Ham with a selection of vegetables. The ham was acceptable. Unfortunately my wife and I went for the roast lamb which arrived at the table attractively piled as high as possible on a base of vegetable pieces in what transpired to be a revolting column of inedible fat.

I have never before seen so much fat and I am being careful not to exaggerate in the slightest. I conservatively estimate that over 90% of the "roast lamb" was pure fat. It was disgusting. My wife fared slightly better and perhaps her fat to edible meat ratio was 80%.

I picked out the edible bits as a skilled surgeon might, ate the tepid veges and returned to the bar to register my dissatisfaction with the absurdly excessive fat content of my roast lunch. Yes, I should have complained earlier but I was unaware of just how much fat there was until I'd picked my way down the column. The circular slabs of fat took up almost half of the surface area of the large dinner plate. It looked, and was, awful.

There were only two staff on duty - a pleasant young drinks waitress in her early 20's and a man in his late 30's who mentioned in casual conversation that he came from Fiji. That's irrelevant apart from the fact that it identifies the person with whom I attempted to discuss my discontent.

I pointed out to both staff that the roast lamb turned out to be total fat and I showed them the large quantity of it on the plate. Both looked indifferent and dismissive and the man said, "Lamb is a fatty meat". I acknowledged that it was indeed a fatty meat but not to the extent that it was on my plate. I've eaten plenty of lean lamb. I asked to see the chef. The man took the plate off out of sight, presumably to the kitchen. He returned minus the plate and minus the chef. He said that he had shown the plate to the chef - who I never did get to meet or talk to in person. I suspect he or she was too embarrassed to show their face. The upshot was that the man undertook to pass on my comments to their supplier. That was worse than useless to me.

I asked to see the Manager. The Fijian man said that he was the Manager. He said that their meat supplier was responsible for the fatty piece of lamb since it was the supplier who had rolled it up. His chef had merely roasted it and didn't know what the roll was like inside. He was unprepared to accept that responsibility passed to his establishment and his chef once the meat was roasted, carved and piled into a column on the plate. I pointed out that, at the carving and serving stage, the chef should have been wholly aware that he or she was serving up almost pure fat which should never ever have been passed on to a customer. The man said that there was nothing he could do apart from telling his supplier. I told him that my wife's roast lamb was also an awful helping of fat. I actually said, "bloody awful". He shrugged and clearly didn't give two hoots.

I told him that a refund would be appropriate under the circumstances. He said he couldn't do that because lamb was a fatty meat. He offered me a free drink instead. I declined that. He shrugged and walked off. I returned to my table wondering quite what I could do for the best. In the circumstances it was difficult. I have never before encountered such unhelpfulness from a restaurant manager although I concede that I have never before had such a terrible meal. It ruined our day out at Snells Beach & Algies Bay, not that paying $33.00 for inedible fat can ever be pleasing.

The manager walked past our table as we were finishing our drinks. I stopped him and asked, "Are you going to do anything about all this or not because I'm really not happy?". He again relied on his pathetic explanation that lamb was a fatty meat. He returned a few minutes later, placed $13 cash on the table as he walked by without stopping for one moment or commenting at all. I have never, ever experienced such shockingly poor food or customer service.

My wife, friends and I will never visit that place again. Once bitten, twice shy. We will never forget the worst ever Sunday roast or the manager's indifference and absence of concern. How I wish we'd had fresh fish & chips at a third of the price at a great little place just 200 metres away. I try not to make mistakes but on this occasion I failed miserably by stepping inside The Salty Dog, having a drink and ordering some lunch. Marks out of ten for food and customer service - zero. This was undoubtedly my worst eating out experience of all time. That's a strong statement but I truly cannot remember anything being as bad as this.

The Salty Dog's website claims and I quote, "Our team of chef’s spend a lot of time on our menus, wanting to achieve affordable dining, but most importantly they strive to keep it real. To this end, all of our meals are made on site with the freshest ingredients".

I'm afraid that no amount of striving to keep it real, whatever that means, will make a plate full of real fat palatable to anyone.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Yotpop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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83 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    22
    36
    9
    9
    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Leicestershire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
131 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Disappointed”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2014

Overnighting in Snells Beach I chose this for our evening meal having read the reports. Good beer, frequented by many locals but food did not come up to expectations. In fact the only place on this 5 week trip that 'Rennies' were required.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank PAHEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matakana, New Zealand
Level Contributor
131 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Great spot for rugby watching.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2014

Went for dinner last year to watch some rugby, fab meal, great basic pub. good drink prices and great range. always a good time at the salty.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Matakanafamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
19 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Quiet drink and a game of pool with friends”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2014

I've been a couple of times on a Friday and Saturday night. It has that 'locals pub' feel to it, an older crew of folks. Good place to watch the rugby and have a beer. Maybe just for a short stay though.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Rachel D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
469 reviews
244 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 387 helpful votes
“Basic food, not very appetising”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014 via mobile



This is an English style pub which was just across the road from our motel so an obvious place to eat.
The bar area is large but with not many tables suggesting that at busy times most people stand. We visited early on a Sunday evening and there were not many people about which gave a rather soulless atmosphere.
The bar staff are welcoming and helpful and the beer and wine ok.
We shared nachos as a started and chose the mixed fish platter as main.
Whilst the food was edible it was not inspiring at all. We felt we were "eating to live" rather than "living to eat".

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank 99ray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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