We went to this restaurant with high hopes having read recent travellers reviews and were bitterly disappointed. We were a group of 8 celebrating and paying for one of our friend's major birthdays. As it turned out we appeared to be the only persons in the restaurant that evening, but we were and are always comfortable with our own company. We were already aware that the menu would be more expensive than usual but we expected a quality experience which sadly we never received. The waitress service was slow but pleasant and although no English was spoken by the staff and our command of the French language was limited we managed to communicate often with good humour on both parties. Sadly the food transpired to be indifferent with several hot main courses ordered being lukewarm to cold. The presentation was fine but it was difficult to enthuse at such poor delivery. With the meal we ordered a large bottle of local red wine, perhaps not their finest but one that wasn’t quite so overpriced. At first nobody had any complaints until one of our number spotted the sediment floating on top of and in the wine. On closer examination this proved to be quite excessive and naturally unacceptable, a fact we brought to the waitress’ attention. We asked for a replacement bottle thinking that it was merely a bad bottle. This took a long time to produce because of the waitress’ seeming surprise that we were unhappy at the produce and tried to persuade us that this was normal. Hardly good service when clearly 8 people felt otherwise. Eventually a new bottle was produced but imagine our dismay when we found the same problem. In our view the wine was undrinkable although the waitress suggested decanting the wine which we rejected. We had decided not to complain about the lukewarm food as we were supposed to be celebrating a birthday but we were extremely disappointed at the attitude and reluctance of the staff over the wine. This could have been forgiven if when the bill was presented they hadn’t charged for both bottles. We indicated that we were not prepared to pay for the bad wine most of which we hadn’t drunk. The waitress was clearly out of her depth authority wise and was unprepared to negotiate a revised bill. She picked up the phone and suddenly a dinner suited man entered the restaurant, who we assumed might be the manager or at least a more senior waiter. He again spoke no English but insisted that we pay the bill in full. We were adamant that we were not going to pay for the bad wine but as a gesture we offered to pay for the half a bottle that we had poured. We paid the bill in cash but deducted 75% of the wine’s cost, explaining why. The man’s reaction to this was incredible. He was already acting in a hostile manner towards us but escalated matters by locking the doors and insisting that we pay the bill in full which we were clearly not prepared to do. He further exacerbated our concern but picking up the phone and speaking to someone, we knew not who, giving the impression he was not prepared to let us leave. We suggested that the gendarmerie should be called at which point there seemed to a thawing of relations and we were reluctantly allowed to leave but with a Gallic shrug of clear animosity. As you might imagine this ruined what we intended would be a pleasant evening for our friend’s birthday. Simple advice to anybody seeking a good restaurant in Jarnac, this isn’t one – it is overpriced and overrated and should be avoided at all costs.
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