Reviews of Brocket Arms, Ayot St Lawrence
Review by jenny fowler on 26th September, 2012
Add your review Date visited: 2000-2007 ish
all i can say is that having worked here for many years,it is the most amazing funny warm place, things go wrong sometimes, people laugh, have fun,i had some days where i ran the bar, kitchen and dining room on my own as when i arrived there was no one there and Toby apparently had gone to visit someone in hospital! i have had to make milk out of cream,run up the road to pick apples for a crumble, i have had no change and had to do 'i owe you notes' to customers...for those who dont get it just dont come back! for those who do or did, let us just cherish those wonderful memories! i know Toby is not there now but the pub is still a lovely place and the memories are still there
Date visited: 2000-2007 ish
Review by Sheila McElroy on 16th August, 2010
Add your review Date visited: 16 August 2010
I visited the Brocket Arms today with a walking group. I found the food to be overpriced for what it was and I was stunned at the attitude of a particular member of staff who seemed determined to "put me in my place" before everyone present. My friends at the table had been served and after waiting a while, had started eating. I merely asked for my fish and chips and was told in a great loud voice that you only have one frier and with 18 portions of chips already prepared the frier had to be re-heated in order to cook my meal. When it was eventually brought out the loud voiced lady announced "Fish and chips for the patient lady!" It would be a good idea to send your staff on a PR course as this lady had no notion of customer service. Of course customers understand when a kitchen is overstretched with a big party - but there are ways of dealing with those who may be slightly dissatisfied and a little over hungry. "Sorry" and a smile go a long way. Needless to say I will not be returning to the Brocket Arms and nor will many of those in my party.
Date visited: 16 August 2010
Review by Martin on 10th June, 2010
Add your review Date visited: 29/05/10
What a poor experience I had when I dropped in for lunch on 29th May with a friend I was showing around my home town and area. I came especially for Sunday lunch but at 2:45 we arrived too late. Our initial welcome was cordial and apologetic that we were too late and invited to try the BBQ. So we did, Two Angus Beef Burgers with Cheese and Salad £5 each. The BBQ staff are surly and unfriendly but for a bunch of kids it’s what you expect, but not at the Brocket Arms. Within 2 minutes of ordering our burgers were plonked down on the tables outside and the waitress mumbled something about cutlery and sauces at the BBQ, at the other end of the garden. The Burger had obviously already been cooked and kept to one side to be tossed onto the BBQ again. The massive but pleasant floured bun held a dried up over cooked burger, one had a reasonable slice of cheese and the other 2 slithers about 10 gms worth I’d say. There were 20 sad withered mixed lettuce leaves and 2 slices of yellow pepper and 1 pre-cut slice of tomato stuck to the top of the bun. We were starving and ate the burgers and sadly just wanted to get out – it’s not like the staff were bothered one way or the other. I had a good vantage point to watch the 4 members of staff in the BBQ shed, frequently using their fingers to serve chips and touching food both cooked and uncooked food, taking money, eating and generally enjoying a hot sunny day unsupervised and unwashed - I never saw any evidence of hand washing at any point. I took the plates, minus the burger to the bar ( we were very hungry) and asked to see the manager. I was told you were away and the women who claimed to be in charge, was initially delighted that I was ‘so well trained’ to return my plates. I said I was unhappy and wanted to share what I thought was poor value for money of the BBQ was, the laughable excuse for a salad still on the plate, the indifferent service and mess up with the beer. The word sorry was mentioned, I said I just wanted to quietly tell the manager I was unhappy and leave. Sadly with customers joining in and other staff members keen to run me ‘out of the village’ for daring to say something I guess. I remember saying that if this was an advert for the restaurant I was rather glad I was leaving. My quiet word was escalated into an embarrassing fracas, a poorly handled offer to help you improve your business led to me being verbally abused by customers, staff members pulling faces at me. I beat a hasty retreat to collect my friend from the garden, finish our beers and leave. I did not want my friend to be involved it was supposed to be a pleasant interlude an afternoon in a country pub. But the women in charge was undeterred came marching over to us in the garden from the pub and said she wanted us to be happy and insisted on returning our money, while members of your staff pulled faces and made gesticulations towards us. I was mortified and my friend was embarrassed and confused. This was one of worst cases of handling a complaint I have ever been involved with a complete dogs dinner. I departed saying this pub used to packed full on my last visit some years ago and it’s easy to see why it was so empty; I would not repeat the reply from your staff to that comment. I do not think its OK, never mind the poor hygiene and cooking practice but the sheer audacity of your staff to behave in such an outrageous way. As we drove away your staff were gesticulating , laughing and cheering. The whole event was akin to a ‘B’ western or a poor attempt at Village of the Damned. I know that sometimes things just go wrong and staff let you down. Oh yes one final insult my complete refund was a few quid short, maybe arithmetic along with tact, diplomacy and politeness are also areas where the staff need some re-training. Martin
Date visited: 29/05/10
Review by Tina on 2nd October, 2009
Add your review Date visited: 2nd Oct 2009
Just wanted to say what a good meal we had today. I decided on the toasted Chicken sandwich with fries. The others had the home made burger and wild boar & apple sausage. The dining room was full so we ate in the bar which fine. A lovely country pub. Will go again.
Date visited: 2nd Oct 2009
Review by del gentleman on 27th July, 2009
Add your review Date visited: 26/07/09
I was really looking forward to the Brocket re-opening since the previous management, service and food was so terrible it was actually funny (Very Faulty Towers). When we arrived at the re-opened Brocket we were informed that the restaurant was fully booked although it looked empty. We were informed that there was a BBQ outside in the garden so we went to see what was available (Beef burgers or Sausages at £5.00! which i will come back to). We went to the bar to order some drinks. I inquired if the cider was dry and was greeted with a shrug (The correct answer should have been 'I don't know but i will find out) Back to the BBQ. I asked if we could get some fries to supplement the burgers and was told 'no it was too much trouble and they were too busy' even though it was empty. The burgers were all under-done. The garnish was tiny, the onions were missing, the rolls were stale and the beef was flavourless. All this for £5! What a disappointing lunch, such a shame as it is a lovely pub. A real missed opportunity by the owners and no improvement on how it was before. If you want decent food served well go to The Wicked Lady or The Gibraltar Castle instead.
Date visited: 26/07/09
Review by Andrew on 31st May, 2009
Add your review Date visited: 30/5/09
when I went to The brocket arms it Had been recently refurbished, and re-painted apparently due to a change of staff and the owner. We went to the brocket arms a few days after it was opened for a drink and a dinner with freinds,when we arrived we were greated by a very nice bar-tender who gave us a large selection of bears,ales, wine and los of soft drinks for the kids.I expescialy liked the Brocket bitter and the Sharp's Doombar (apparently the new owners are called Sharp)We left for the restaurant area at a time when the chef was actualy supposed to be finished for the night! fortunatly he decided to stay and we had a really good meal with a fantastic rump steak that was cooked well steak. I thought the Brocket arms was brilliant and I will definatly be going there again! 89/100
Date visited: 30/5/09
Review by Cathy Zarian on 30th July, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 27 July 2008
We were travelling from London so I gave them a ring to reserve a table for 2 p.m but was told no need to book. I then mentioned that we had quite a long way to come from so the gentleman who answered the phone then agreed to take the booking. On arrival the gentleman could not remember the booking then informed us that we could eat either in the dining room or the bar. We decided to have a drink first in the bar and asked for the menu at the bar, only to be told that there was no food left. We were truly disgusted as the gentleman we initailly spoke to in the dining room could have told us that there was no food. Will definitely not be going there again.
Date visited: 27 July 2008
Review by Patricia McPherson on 2nd June, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 23/05/08
Spent most of last weekend at the Brocket Arms for Andy and Cathy McColls wedding. What a gem of a place - we found it to be a complete chill out. Contrary to the views of some of the other contributors, we found the venue, the host, the staff, the food and the ambience were just .. well ...magical. A step back in time courtesy of mine host Toby - fantastic! I agree with one of the other contributors when he says the Brocket is a welcome relief from the commercial pubs and hotels that are the norm, and yes we do need to cherish and support these old fashioned and traditional pubs. The food was to be savoured, congratulations to all as the wedding party invaded ! A great success, so cheers to you Toby for drawing on your 25yrs at the Brocket and helping make my brothers big day so memorable for us!
Date visited: 23/05/08
Review by Pat Weber on 27th May, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 24th may
THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD!!!!!. Lovly service, top food and good beer. The fire place adds a warm feeling to the place. The cigerate machine was slighly over priced however and had to be turned on by myself which also makes a huge clanging nosie. the garden provide a smokers paradise, the country air and smoke combined with coldbeer was top. the scracthins went down the old shitshooter well nice.
Date visited: 24th may
Review by Mr Goatman on 24th May, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 24/05/08
I was concerned on our arrival, as a couple next to us were demanding a refund, as their food had not arrived after 45 minutes. We decided to proceed anyway and ordered a ploughmans and a ham, egg and chips, which took an hour to arrive. Rudely moved from where we were sitting to make way for a wedding party, despite the fact that the entire function room was empty. The ham, egg and chips arrived first and were cold as was the service. The ploughmans was a very poor effort when it too eventually arrived. One of the locals was not in the slightest bit surprised, as this is apparently quite normal, in fact we were told we were lucky to get anything at all. The kind of poor food and dreadful service that Britain was once famous for is being maintained here at the Brocket Arms. How do they get away with it? It’s a shame as the building and location are wonderful.
Date visited: 24/05/08
Review by Carol on 24th May, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 22/5/8
Poor food and dreadful service is thriving at the Brocket Arms. How do they get away with it? It’s a shame as the building and location are wonderful. Waited over an hour for our meals, only for 2 small plates of bland tepid food to arrive with not even a hint of an apology, a very badly run pub. Don’t expect the welcome to be warm here, let alone the food.
Date visited: 22/5/8
Review by G Watson on 12th May, 2008
Add your review Date visited: April 2008
The bar is great with friendly people, although on our last visit the normal chatter amongst customers was drowned out by loud music, the regulars apologised to us saying they were trying to get the manager to leave it off as it kills the 'pub' atmosphere. Booked a family Sunday lunch, starters dire but persevered, couldn't believe the cold small portions of what appeared to be left overs when the main meal arrived. Couldn't get any redress with the staff so left and went to Lemsford where we had a lovely meal with friendly staff. Still annoyed at the extortionate price and dreadful experience in the Brocket Arms 'restaurant'. Don't waste your money or your time there
Date visited: April 2008
Review by Chris Cane on 16th March, 2008
Add your review Date visited: 16th March 2008
We have just returned still hungry having booked lunch for a party of four today. We will certainly NEVER return to this place nor recommend it to any of our friends. The whole experience was quite unbelievable. We had booked the restaurant for 1.30, arriving on time. We opted for the 2 courses for £16 and we all decided to go for main course and dessert. At 2.30 we were still waiting for our food. It finally arrived about 10 minutes later. 3 of us had ordered the roast beef and one steak and kidney pie. All the meals were luke warm although the person with the steak and kideny pie was so starving he decided to eat it anyway. We called over the waitress and told her the roasts were cold. She tooke them away and we waited anoither ten minutes for them to return and they were still cold. Apparently they had microwaved them to warm them up. Our friend asked to speak to the manager. The waitress led him to the bar but the man he spoke to said he was just the barman and he could not take our complaint. He said the manager was busy in the kitchen. We waited for the waitress to come back and told her we were not eating the food nor were we paying for it and that we wanted to speak to the manager. She said he was in the kitchen and she would ask him to come out. We waited another fifteen minutes then spoke the waitress again. We said we would like to leave and were still waiting for the manager. She said well we had already said we weren't prepared to pay for the food. At that point we said OK we are leaving and promptly did so. I am appalled by the service - or should I say lack of it! When we asked the waitress to return with hot food she said rudely 'I only serve it. I don't cook it!' Don't go there. Clearly the manager is a complete coward who cannot face dealing with complaints. If we had been treated properly and received hot food and an apology for the wait I would probably not be writing this review.
Date visited: 16th March 2008
Review by maria on 6th November, 2007
Add your review Date visited: 28/10/07
Thought we'd come across an ideal English country pub to have a Sunday roast at. Well my advice is to stay at home and cook your own, it was awful. Pubs like this that can't even serve a decent roast should not be allowed to stay in business!
Date visited: 28/10/07
Review by Ann Louise Wood on 27th October, 2007
Add your review Date visited: 09/06/2007
At first sight, the Brocket Arms looks too good to be true - a pretty, traditional olde worlde English pub. The beer is good and so is the food until you look more closely. The rooms and bathrooms are filthy and damp. Our party, which included young children, booked 5 rooms and paid a lot of money for a buffet, which was 2 hours late! Breakfast was also served very late and on dirty crockery. Most of us went off our food! None of us would go there again and we most certainly would not recommend it. A dreadful experience.
Date visited: 09/06/2007
Review by Andrew on 20th September, 2007
Add your review Date visited: 20 September 2007
Poor. Called the pub to ask if there was a need to book, and was told it was very quiet so just to head down. Upon arriving, we were ignored for a good 30 minutes before the owner came out and asked us if we were eating. When we said yes and asked for the menu, we were told that there would be a 20 minute wait before they were taking orders, but he would get us some bread. We waited another 20 minutes and left.
Date visited: 20 September 2007
Review by Joan Pound on 17th September, 2007
Add your review Date visited: 9th Spetember 07
Having spent a weekend basking in the comfort of the Brocket arms, I am compelled to contradict the negative views it has recieved on this site. I found the atmosphere homely, inviting and friendly. What a welcome relief from the commercial pubs and hotels that are springing up all over this country. We need to cherish and support these old fashioned and traditional pubs as they are disappearing from our way of life. If Mr Rob Leach (previous review) wanted quick cheap food why did he not visit the nearest fast food outlet? He needn't worry about collecting his own cutlery there. Furthermore, having waited an "hour" for his food why did he not follow the instructions on the sign and collect his cutlery from the end of the bar? On my own visit I found the food to be of a high standard and found the constantly busy staff to be friendly and helpful. After chatting to the kitchen staff I discovered that most of the ingredients are fresh and delivered almost daily by the local greengrocer and butcher. The Borcket arms may not be as effecient and sterile as your average public house, but instead you have history, atmosphere and most importantly great character. Obviously this can only be picked up by the right sort of individual. Working and upper-class seem to enjoy what the Brocket has to offer, maybe middle class should stay away because they seem to miss the point. Mr Wingfield-Digby has done well to keep the pub running in the same way for over 25 years. It has its ups and downs but most importantly its there for us all to enjoy. What other pub welcomes children and dogs into the bar? I'd recommend it to anyone with good taste.
Date visited: 9th Spetember 07
Review by Rob Leach on 5th September, 2007
Add your review Date visited: 5th September 2007
Idyllic setting. Beer very good. Food - well, extremely dissapointing - had to wait an hour for a simple ' ham eggs and chips ' - we were told ' we have had an order of 6 before you , you are next! ' - when delivered the 'waitress' plonked the food on the table and told us to go and get the cuttelry in the bar.. AT £8 for a simple Ham Egg and Chips, of which the Eggs were hard, and the Ham came from a packet this is expensive to say the least - avoid this place for eating despite the setting.Forget to mention, the portion was extremely small as well.
Date visited: 5th September 2007
Review by Fiona McSweeney on 11th June, 2007
Add your review Date visited: 9th June 2007
Completely disorganised. Bathrooms dirty. Never seen so many spiders and cobwebs. However food is excellent, even if you have to go to the kitchen to shout at the chef to get served. Charming staff. Overpriced for what you get.
Date visited: 9th June 2007
Review by Theresa on 14th January, 2007
Add your review Date visited: 14 January 2007
Sunday Lunch at the Brocket Arms - not advisable. We were not offered drinks on our arrival or throughout the meal, my husband brought drinks at the bar and bought them to the table. Wine by the glass wasn't served in measured glasses but in something slightly larger than a liquer glass and the lemonade was flat. Whilst waiting for our starter I asked for a cup of tea. When it did arrive it was cold. We were eventually served our starter of Pate and toast and then waited 20 minutes for extra toast. After a further 40 minutes we received our Roast Beef main course, but alas no roast potatoes just new potatoes and all of our meals were stone cold. We asked for roast potatoe's and we were presented with deep fried new potatoes. This was the last straw - we asked for the bill for the drinks and left. If you want poor service and no attention, short measures, cold unappetising food and a restaurant and toilet facilities that could do with a good clean, then The Brocket Arms is certainly the place to go.
Date visited: 14 January 2007
Review by Nick on 20th November, 2006
Add your review Date visited: 19 Nov 2006
Nice little bar with great beer. Unfortunately the food was awful. None of it fresh, all of it reheated. Even the soup tasted like it was from a packet. Very disappointing given the setting and the bar.
Date visited: 19 Nov 2006
Review by Harry von Stoffelberger on 31st January, 2006
Add your review Date visited: 27/01/2006
It has been such a long time since I have visited this part of the world, and I am glad to say that the sights the smells and the laughter remain. The Brocket Arms, what dear memories it holds for my family, stretching back generations and after 50 years I have had the privelidge of re-visiting. I walked into the bar with tears flooding in my eyes, it has not changed and has provided me with the oportunity of reliving some fond memories. The staff suprised me most of all providing the hospitality I knew, and thought was lost. As children we use to love running across the fields from the big house with pheasants and rabbits from our fathers shoot for the kitchen. This time round to my joy not only is the beer as wonderful as it always was as a youngman; but the game still hangs in the woodshed. The pheasant dinner I had was a hearty treat along with an excellent bottle of Chateaux Neuf du Pape. After a sumptuous dinner in the restaurant I once again had the pleasure of sitting under the wonderful inglenook arches by the log fire, and toasted my toes with a rather delicious port. A cigar in hand, i also reminised on days when our landlord would come in with a few trout to smoke in the chimney. Incidently my Lady wife had for dinner the fish and chips and enjoyed it immensely. We slept in the Four-Poster, where fifty years ago we had slept before, and slept and dreamed. This was my Brocket Arms again for a moment again. Breakfast in the morning after a short walk in the fresh country air was what we really miss abroad, an English Breakfast at home. It was a wonderful morning and a hearty meal to carry us off once again. I would sincerely like to thank the Landlord, Mr. Wingfield Digby, who I did not have the pleasure of meeting but had the pleasure of experiencing his hopitality in absence. Needless to say sir your staff did not have to tell me that there Captain was special, only a perceptive, imaginative and caring idividual could keep the atmosphere of the Brocket Arms intact.
Date visited: 27/01/2006
Review by Barry Oliver on 17th January, 2006
Add your review Date visited: 17-01-2006
I was surprised to read previous negative reviews as today a party of 4 of us had a lovely lunch game sausages & chips in a lovely warm friendly 'oldie worldy' atmosphere and we were all delight - and Graham kept an eye on us all the time to make sure we had a pleasent visit.
Date visited: 17-01-2006
Review by ruth on 27th November, 2005
Add your review Date visited: 25th November 2005
Pub and village worth a visit for a drink, friendly staff, food not so good. Room with 4 poster bed warm and comfortabe, shower room and toilet filthy looked as if it had not been cleaned for months. Early breakfast booked for 7-30am, but no one there to cook? Juice and 2 boxes of cereal there, no bottle opener for juice and no milk. Coffee served 20 minutes later and only time for us to have toast! Certainly give this place a miss, would not recommend it to anyone.
Date visited: 25th November 2005
Review by Lisa on 28th September, 2005
Add your review Date visited: 18th Sep 05
Very dissapointing food. We went with friends who had visited a year ago, and had a lovely meal. Not sure whether the pub has changed owners, but we had only a choice of 5 items on the menu, 2 of which were salads, at a Sunday lunchtime. No roasts available, and worst still none of the food was freshly prepared. Unless you want re-heated, cheap, frozen food I would give this place a miss. Shame because both the pub and village surroundings are lovely.
Date visited: 18th Sep 05