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“Masterchef gone to their head”

Camellia Restaurant @ South Lodge Hotel
Ranked #21 of 171 Restaurants in Horsham
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $26 - $40
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Business meetings, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Reviewed January 12, 2014

Stayed at South Lodge Hotel specifically as the restaurant is run by the Masterchef 2013 winner. I have rarely been so disappointed: Table booked for 8.30pm, orders given by 8.45, shown to table before 9pm, starters arrived10pm. No apologies, no explanation why, no offer of additional drinks. My pigeon was tepid and served on a cold plate, but by that point couldn't be bothered to send it back. Main courses arrived after 10.45, the vegetables of one was cold (i.e. chilled, barely reheated) and subsequently left in their entirety. The meat was correctly cooked, but no enquiry by the staff if all was OK or why all the vegetables were left.

During this whole disappointing experience, we had drunk the wine ordered to go with our meal whilst waiting for the starters, so I asked for a complimentary bottle of the same to have with our meal. We were presented with a far more inferior bottle which I refused and reiterated that we had been waiting for over an hour for our food to arrive. The one positive thing was that they eventually honoured our wine request.

To be fair, apart from the cold elements, the remaining food was good, but it was the incredibly long wait for the food and poor management of the situation that massively disappointed. We had started the evening already discussing our next trip to the hotel, but our experience of the Camellia restaurant has left us vowing never to return.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
4  Thank Runaround_NOW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarkSurguy, Manager at Camellia Restaurant @ South Lodge Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 17, 2014

Dear Runaround_NOW,

Thank you for providing your feedback via this page as well as the main South Lodge Hotel TripAdvisor site.

Although I was heartened to read of the many good aspects of your stay I am terribly sorry for your poor experience at dinner.

Clearly we did not offer the hospitality for which we are rightly celebrated. I do hope you have received my email sent directly to you which allows me to cover your comments in more detail.

I do hope you will allow us to restore your faith in all things in South Lodge and with that in mind I very much hope to welcome you back before too long.

With very best wishes,

Mark Surguy
Operations Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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223 - 227 of 308 reviews

Reviewed January 11, 2014

we dined in the Camellia last night and had the 'Masterchef' menu. The staff at the whole hotel are very professional, helpful and polite. The pianist in the lounge was a nice touch. The food in the restaurant was delightful, beautifully cooked and very well presented. The to top it all the Masterchef winning chef, Steven came out and had a chat with us, what a lovely guy who told some really interesting stories about the show.

I have eaten in this restaurant before but it has really upped its game and I would thoroughly recommend it for a nice evening out.

the meal was not cheap but for the food, the service and the location I think it was good value.

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    • Food
1  Thank hrjtm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2014

The south lodge hotel has been a place we have been visiting on and off for 20 years or so it was always a beautiful spot but the restaurant didn't quite match the setting ,now it does. The decor has been lightened with
Colourful wallpaper , blinds on the windows to create atmosphere at lunch .
The welcome at the hotel was effusive , charming , a drink in the lovely lounge then the meal , for me the master chef menu , pigeon with feta and beet root , it was melt in the mouth the best pigeon I have ever had , stone bass with crab,honey cake with pistachio etc etc,
It really was heavenly , my wife the cured salmon, the duck with you might say a study in broccoli, finally raspberry mouse with chocolate all was with the wow factor , just sheer perfection , the modest master chef , Steven Edwards came out to speak to all the guests , he still seemed to enjoy his success , yet remained shall one say -normal?
This place , the hotel , the restaurant , the setting , it rivals our other favourite , gidleigh park in Devon, we plan to stay here , one of those rooms with a balcony would be perfect .
The south lodge has gone up several notches in class since we began coming here , couldn't be more pleased .

Thank alanEastSussexUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2014

My wife and I had booked a table at the Camellia Restaurant to celebrate our 38th Wedding Anniversary. On arrival we were shown to our table and settled down hoping for a good experience. Many years ago we had "Afternoon Tea" at the restaurant which was excellent and as we are followers of Master Chef on the television we were excited to see that the head chef Steven Edwards was nominated "Master Chef 2013". So naturally as our anniversary was due it seemed appropriate to celebrate the occasion at the Camellia.
My wife ordered Mackerel then Guinea Fowl and I had Halbut to start followed by Duck. We also asked for some water and a bottle of the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc which came with no problems. The starters were fine and very tasty, then things started to go down hill.
When the mains arrived the Duck was lovely but my wife's Guinea Fowl had turned into the Pork dish on offer. She had started it not realising that it wasn't what she had ordered! At some point the head waiter came over and admitted that our 2 dishes were meant for another table but still asked my wife if she liked the pork otherwise they would change it for the Guinea Fowl. My wife decided to carry on with the Pork and we left the matter at that.
For dessert my wife chose the Coffee Cheesecake and I had the Treacle! One mistake is acceptable but two is not. When our desserts came the Treacle was ok but again my wife's Coffee Cheesecake had turned into the Panna Cotta dish. We told the waitress and the head waiter who had taken our order swiftly changed it for the correct dish but with no real apology or explanation what had gone wrong.
Whilst having coffee in the lounge the waitress serving us mentioned that the restaurant had been very busy during the festive period due the success of Steven Edwards as Master Chef 2013 and that some of the staff were having a break, thus many that were on that night were new to the tasks.
What we found even more aggravating was that for some time during our meal Stephen Edwards was out on the restaurant floor talking to a group of diners possibly friends for quite some time. Surly he should have been in the kitchen checking that the orders go out correctly as he did during the TV programme. Very very very disappointing.

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Thank Andrew S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarkSurguy, Manager at Camellia Restaurant @ South Lodge Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 17, 2014

Dear Andy1006579,

Thank you for taking the time to share your views on the Camellia Restaurant.
I am sorry the evening was a disappointing experience, especially as it was such a special occasion. Clearly, your visit did not reach your expectations or indeed our high standards.

David, our General Manager, has contacted you following the feedback which was sent directly to us. I do hope you will visit again as I am confident we can restore your faith in all things South Lodge.

With very best wishes,

Mark Surguy
Operations Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2014

A tree on the road, caused by the storms, meant that after taking a long diversion, we were half an hour late for our reservation at the Camelia Restaurant. Even though I'd telephone ahead to say we'd be half an hour late, (and had been reassured this would not be a problem) when we arrived the maitre d' pronounced, without apology, that the kitchen closed at 2:30. After serving guests all through Christmas and New Years, I'm sure that whatever reserves of politesse this manager may have had, were quite depleted. But is this how guests should be treated at any time of the year, let alone on New year's day in a storm? We'd driven for two hours for this treatment.

    • Service
1  Thank Bobby B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarkSurguy, Manager at Camellia Restaurant @ South Lodge Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 17, 2014

Dear Bobby B,

I am saddened to read your review following your visit to South Lodge.
When you telephoned to advise us of your delays you spoke to a trainee member of the team. Unfortunately, the team member did not pass on your message, and our last orders were at 2.30pm, as they are seven days a week. Rest assured we have offered re-training for the team member in order that important messages of this nature are communicated.

I do hope you were able to join us in one of our lounges where a wonderful all day food menu was being served?

I know that David, our General Manager, has emailed you directly and I do hope we are able to restore your faith in South Lodge in the future.

Best wishes,

Mark Surguy
Operations Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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