As a large family, we chose the Shoppingtown Hotel for our Mother’s Day dinner celebration as previously some members of the group had been before and enjoyed it. Plus with 6 kids joining us, they have an indoor playground to help keep them entertained. We booked well in advance for 6pm.
As we arrived, all the mothers were provided with a glass of sparkling wine and an entry form to go into a raffle (not sure what the prize was), and this was a nice touch and a good way to start the evening. We were shown to our table which was located next to a set of lounges, near the bar located at the entrance to the gaming area. The Hotel has a massive bistro/dining area in a split level style surround, and given the event of the day, was quite busy and very loud.
The kids quickly disappeared to the play area which they all enjoyed. There is some free arcade games also that kept the slightly older ones occupied as well. In an adjacent room there was a face painter but a very long queue – but again this was a good touch.
Whilst the kids were at play, we ordered their meals first to keep them happy. Their meals were all relatively cheap and came with a free drink redeemable at the bar. The kids meals were standard pub offerings, and were all served reasonably quickly and enjoyed by the kids.
We then ordered the adults meals all together and on the same order (the one invoice). And this is where the mayhem began…
The kitchen took their time with the main order and meals. One solitary meal came out, and then nearly 10 minutes later a further dish arrived, but it was not one that had been ordered and was sent back. We then had to produce our invoice as to highlight what we had ordered. About 15 minutes later two other dishes arrived, but again were not actually part of our order and were sent back. After showing the our invoice again, finally some dishes started appearing an further 10-15 minutes later and right on 1-hour since the order had been placed!
Despite the right dishes turning up, they made further mistakes. We had ordered the risotto without mushrooms, but it came with – you guessed it – mushrooms! This was sent back, and to their credit within 10-15 minutes the right meal was delivered. By this stage more than half the table had completed their meals, and still one person – our mother – had yet to receive their meal! We had to ask a further two times over the next 10 or so minutes as to where the meal was and had to again produce our invoice. Another 5-10 minutes later it turned up, and our mum had to eat her meal on her own as everyone else had finished.
The food quality overall could be described as being average pub fare, and was not bad, but not outstanding either. However the poor service in relation to stuff ups and delays in serving the food was inexcusable, even if they were busy – it is not like they did not know it was going to be busy after all…
The positives: kids play area, large menu offering
The negatives: poor meal service, noisy, expensive drinks
We may yet venture back, but not again to celebrate any significant even or day – they have burnt the bridge.