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Reviews of Red Lion, Hemel Hempstead

Best rates for a Local Hotel

Review by Sam on 25th October, 2007

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We arrived at the pub which from driving down to the car park already had a good feel about it. We walked in and thought how beautiful it was and we loved the idea of the open fireplaces and different sections. We tried to order our drinks at the bar and the bar lady said that if we wanted food then we needed to look at the menu before we decided if we were staying as they only had half of the menu on it. She came back a short while after with the menu which had literally half of the menu left, the rest of which was crossed out in biro - very professional! We decided that we liked what was left on the menu and asked if we could sit by the fire and she said that only one room was open for dining(with no fireplace:( . We then reordered our drinks at the bar and were told that we had to order them once we were sat at our table. We walked to the dining area where there were 4 tables of people sat. The rest of the pub was empty. We had a member of staff come to us and ask "is everything ok for you?" we responded that we would first of all like some drinks (before we could make comment). She took our drinks order and as she walked away another member of staff came to our table to ask us if we needed to order drinks (although she had just seen the previous member of staff walk from our table!). we politely responded that we had just ordered drinks. We waited half an hour for our drinks to arrive at our table within which time we had ordered our food (which proved difficult as the waitress repeated everything twice as though it was difficult to understand) all we asked for was a bangers and mash and a pie - nothing difficult about that. About 20 minutes later we saw the waitress come from the kitchen with what looked like our meals. There were only 2 tables of 2 and the others of larger groups. The waitress walked past both tables of 2 to the larger groups and they obviously said that this wasnt what they had ordered. The waitress then proceeded to walk around for about 10 minutes with the plates still in her hand, consulting other members of staff who also seemed to have no idea or initiaive to ask if these were ours and frankly by this point the food would have gone cold. She took them back to the kitchen. We waited another 20 minutes for our food to appear. No other member of staff spoke to us in this time, we then left the beautiful pub with our tummies still grumbling and proceeded to pizza hut where we had excellent service and not-so-bad food! Great potential but as the previous review stated, new management needed! what a waste and dissapointment.

Date visited: 23/10/2007

Review by Julie Stevenson on 11th May, 2007

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We have visited this pub several times since moving to Water End last 18 months ago- mainly because it is within walking distance and allows us both to have a glass of wine. We eat out a couple of times a week and feel qualified to comment on the food that we are served. The food at The Red Lion has got progressively worse, so much so, that we have decided that we would rather forego the wine and drive to a decent place! We probably spend about 250 - 350 a month on eating out. We would happily have spent most of that at the Red Lion... but we don't. We would like it to be a place that we could go and have a decent meal and glass of wine and stroll back home again. But it isn''s dreadful. They frequently run out of the 'specials' and sometimes even the regular menu. The last time we ate there I was told that four out of the five choices that I gave were 'sold out'. The 5th choice was a rump steak (they had sold out of the fillet and sirloin. I asked for a rare steak with dauphinoise potato and vegetables. The steak was cold, well done and gristly. They seemed genuinely surprised when I sent this back. The vegetables arrived 10 minutes after the steak and can only be described as raw. Carrots and broccoli so 'al dente' that they were difficult to bite through. These were also cold. The fish menu is a complete hoot. They are always running out of fish and then blame it on the supplier. 'Well, why do you bother putting the menu out on days when you have no fish', I asked. 'Oh because we like to show people that we have a fish menu', came the response. The last time we visited there (though Lord knows why we were putting ourselves through it again) we were told that would have to wait for a table as there weren't any at present. When we pointed out that there were two empty ROOMS they said that those areas were closed. No explanation as to why. When I asked why they were closed I was told, 'Because they are'! Now had we been seated straight away then we would probably have had a 'safe' small meal - salad perhaps, but the food is nowhere near good enough to wait. We haven't been there since. The service is appallingly slow. The staff are all very young and inexperienced. They are, for the most part, quite friendly, but have no idea how to handle a complaint. They usually get very defensive or make excuses. The place needs new management, a new chef and some experienced staff. It is a gem of a pub. The parking is good, it is spacious, it has a nice garden (a bit noisy if you sit next to the road) it has a nice intimate feel in a couple of the bars and a livelier, more open feel in the main bar. There are places for privacy and party. This pub may well be making money but I guarantee that it's passing trade who probably won't go back. Just a couple of miles up the road in a nearby village there is The Alford Arms. This is a seriously good gastro pub, terrific food, great wine list, superb staff who go out of their way to help and the food is very reasonably priced. The Red Lion doesn't stand a chance against such quality. If you are thinking about eating at the Red Lion, then think again and eat somewhere else. Your stomach and your wallet will thank you for it.

Date visited: 2006/2007

Review by Will on 5th March, 2007

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We were not impressed. Over priced, pretentious, ice cold pan fried duck, over cooked medium steak (football). Not going again. We will find another local. Avoid!!

Date visited: 05/03/2007

Review by Ray St.Louis on 29th June, 2005

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I've eaten at this Pub/Restaurant several times during business travel. The food has always been very fresh and appetizing. The ales are also excellent as is the atmosphere and prices.

Date visited: 10/6/05

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