I was really looking forward to my Sunday lunch at the Fox and Hounds. I had been there 5 times before for Sunday lunch and the food and service had always been impeccable. I was looking forward to giving them 5 stars and heaps of praise on the TripAdvisor review based on past experiences but today, Sunday 9th March, the experience was average at best. I was having lunch with 2 friends who had been there many times more than I and knew the landlord personally. We drove in to the car park and found it nearly full - a sign of a busy pub. Great if the pub can cope - as I thought it could. We were quickly settled in and given menus. The pub offers a very reasonable 3 courses for £19.95. The pub was full of small and large groups, including some children, and a large group celebrating a birthday. We arrived for our table booked for 1.30pm. I had not seen the pub that full at 1.30pm before - maybe the excellent weather had brought out more than the usual people. We ordered a bottle of Merlot wine. It arrived opened with 3 glasses and was put down on the table and left there. I'm always suspicious of wine already opened when it reaches the table - I feel it should be opened in front of the customer and the customer allowed to taste it. It could have been anything. The waitress lacked any wine serving skills and appeared noticeably tired. The wine, however, was fine. My friends' both had a ham terrine to start and it was served on a slate plate with salad and dressing. I had the chicken liver pate. The pate was fine but had an inch square piece of clingfilm noticeably attached to it. Without trying to be picky, it is the job of the kitchen to notice these things and the waiting staff to double check. It was not hidden away underneath but quite visible. When I pointed it out to the waitress I received a grudging apology. Disinterest on her part was palpable. My friends both had pork for their main course. I had beef. The mains were accompanied by selections of veg and small roast potatoes. The waitress had asked me whether I wanted my beef pink or well-done. I said pink; it came out well-done. I'm not sure I even got the same joint of beef as other tables - mine appeared to be more like cheap, pre-sliced re-heated stuff. Maybe they had run out of their normal roast and were substituting? I don't know but it tasted cheap and was chewy. My friends' pork was fine. I explained about the beef to the waitress whose disinterest continued. Looking around the restaurant, none of the waitressing staff looked particularly happy or pleased to be there. Maybe numbers of customers exceeded expectations. We had desserts and asked for the bill. After a 15 minute wait, my friend had to go to the bar and ask again - no waitresses in sight. This was at 3.10pm. The bill, presented hastily and with no sentiment was for £78.10 for 3 people. I have had great Sunday lunches here and can only hope that today's experience was a disappointing one-off. They were nowhere near their normal standard of food or service.
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