This was the first time we had been to this restaurant and booked on the basis of one of their chefs getting to the Masterchef finals. There is nothing available saying she is no longer working for them, but it didn’t appear she was working on Saturday.
My partner wanted to take me for a special meal so I was not prepared to moan in front of him but we were both disappointed. The original Wilderness restaurant has closed temporarily as they are moving to new premises but they are operating for the next couple of weeks from a disused restaurant.
The first thing was that the restaurant was far too cold. A woman opposite me put her coat back on to eat and I saw 2 people cupping their hands over candles to get warm!! Hardly what you expect at the prices that were being charged! The restaurant hopes to charge £80 with paired drinks but you can opt out and just have food for £50. We went for what they bill as ‘The Whole Story’, which included drinks, but obviously this was at a cost of £60 additional pounds for the 2 of us. Now I don’t know about you after I have explained, but we certainly felt this was a huge rip off. There were 5 drinks each included. 3 were served in liqueur glasses, one was a small glass of wine (Sangiovese) and the remaining one part of a can of beer! The restaurant is trying to be different which we would applaud but the sour gooseberry beer wasn’t nice, nor the strange cloudy granola concoction served with dessert. Seriously - £30 per person for these! In most restaurants we could have had a decent bottle of wine for just 1/2 of this total cost. I don’t know whether the restaurant normally operates like this, with no food choices, or whether their circumstances have restricted them, but I think it’s unlikely we’ll try them again. By the time we’d paid our transport the evening cost £200 and it certainly didn’t warrant this. (With the amount we had to drink we’d have been fit to drive anyway!) Being freezing cold is a big turn off to start with. They knew they had problems with heating so why not get some portable heaters in? When ice for drinks was required a door going outside was opened and an icy blast made things even worse!
To the food, this was much better, but again, some stingy portioning! We’ve eaten in most of the regions Michelin/fine dining restaurants but this is the only one where there were no pre starters or pre desserts, although I am not sure whether 2 of the items on the menu were these? We thought we had been brought one to start with but it appeared as a listed course when the menu arrived. Perhaps it was? This and the 1inch square cheese ‘sandwich’ before dessert were just one bite. There were 3 other good dishes though - pig’s cheek, turbot and lamb before this cheese (which was served with pear - or so the menu said, I didn’t taste it - and fig chutney. Something tasted very soapy to me, not sure if it was the latter?) This was followed by a disappointing dessert. Rhubarb (nice) with Tonka bean and a very dense and fairly tasteless ginger cake topped by a yoghurt foam. We ordered additional coffee but, again, in this type of restaurant, it is the only time we have not been offered any petit fours type accompaniment.
We were also served bread to start with, but a rustic slice we were told was home made. I’m sure it was but it was also quite dense and flavourless and I have to say I’ve made better myself. As I stated earlier I didn’t want to make a fuss when I wasn’t paying so I didn’t complain to the restaurant staff but there was another issue for me. The turbot had 2 fried clams on top but one of mine had either grit or shell in it as I crunched it! I had wondered whether it was a filling of mine to start with, but no! Surely these should have been cleaned better?
So... I hope the new incarnation of Wilderness can aspire to what the management would like it to be but the restaurant certainly was not value for money on our visit. Taking away the drinks element and being in a warmer venue we would probably have been much happier though.
I do wish establishments would realise that being greedy is not the way to endear themselves to customers. Proper sized glasses, or even liqueur glasses filled to the top (!) would not make people leave feeling they’d been ripped off and, really, how much more would it actually cost them?!
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.