Dining in Windsor – The Good and The Not So Good

My family is visiting at the moment and their visit is never complete without a trip to Legoland for the kids. This time it is no exception, however instead of enduring the overpriced foods we decided to fill our bellies in the historical town of Windsor instead. If you’re not familiar, Windsor is where the Queen lives as I like to tell many visitors!!! Where the Windsor Castle and the world famous Eton College (you know where all the male royalties go to school) are located! It is definitely worth a visit for the picturesque old town and riverside, be sure to stroll into Eton village as well. A perfect day trip from London, direct trains from Waterloo will take you to the tiny station of Windsor & Eton Riverside in approx a hour. 

The Tower Brasserie at The Harte and Garter

We were after a quickish lunch as we wanted to head into Legoland asap (we actually didn’t make it there until 5!!! Lol!!!) so we just chose the nearest restaurant to the castle where we were taking millions of photos. We ended up at The Tower Brasserie at The Harte and Garter, the dining room is beautiful with open space,  high ceiling and chandeliers. You also get a lovely view of the castle from the big windows where they have booth seats. 

The menu is pretty much what you’d expect from any gastropubs. Your omnipresent of steaks, fish & chips, sandwiches etc… We stuck to the traditional and ordered all the above, lol! Luckily they did not disappoint!!! The steaks were well cooked with delicious garishes and even the minute steak which we ordered medium well (for my 7yrs old nephew) was still tender and flavourful! The fish was golden and crispy on the outside with white flaky flesh inside. The chips….well they were the stars of our meal!!! They were like the best chips shop chips you’ve ever had!!! Thick, crispy, perfectly seasoned and fluffy, not oily at all. My sister and I polished off most of them despite complaining that we were full! In facts I’m getting so hungry just thinking of them!!!

So this is the Good, if you do come for a visit to Winsdor I would suggest checking this place out instead of some of the more touristy cafes you can find dotted around the castle. The price is probably only a tad higher but much better quality of food and surrounding !!! They also offer afternoon tea or just tea/coffee and cakes. Another thing to note is that this place is right next to the Windsor & Eton Central train station, this was first opened in 1887 and still retaine a grand entrance. The inside only contains a handful of platforms but it’s full of restaurants and shops. Do go and have a look to enjoy some old world charm.

The hotel is beautiful from the outside too!!!

Love the mint green wall!
  
View of Windsor Castle from the window!
  
Just look at that golden crust, it is definitely as crispy as it looks!!!
  

Creamy seafood linguine, so rich and moreish!!!
  
Minute steak, far tastier than it looks and no these are not the chips I’ve been raving about.
  
Yup, these are those incredible chips!!! The steak was pretty good too! Lol!

Scottish Steakhouse @ Caleys at Macdonald Windsor Hotel
Now let’s talk about the not so good! Scottish Steakhouse @ Caleys at Macdonald Windsor Hote – this was actually recommended by a friend who works locally. To be fair, it wasn’t that the food was bad, it was actually pretty good but we were just amazed at how bad the service was.

We were sat at a nice big table at the back of the restaurant wasn’t packed which was good. We ordered our drinks and a waitress started to serve these. As she proceeded to serve one Sprite down onto the table, she managed to pour a third of the content of the other bottle into my sister’s bag. This was annoying but not as annoying as the fact that she DID NOT apologise!!! She merely looked confused and brought back another bottle, no sorry and no napkins!!!! We were outraged!!! Of course I beckoned the manager, as suspected it was her 1st day however….I’ve been a waitress before and guess what on my 1st day I’d dropped a bottle on someone!!! My reaction? I apologised until the cows came home, I was mortified!!!! How can anyone with any common sense not apologise profusely???!!! The manager apologised on her behalf but that was it, no other gesture of goodwill or anything….we did ask to make sure she does not continue to serve our table and was assured that she was only helping out!

We did indeed have another waiter, I was impressed with him to begin with as we wanted to know how spicy the curry was and he let us have a quick taste. He also decided that as we were 11, it would be good to number everyone so the food can be served quickly. Perfect!!! Except it didn’t really work!!! Firstly they didn’t really know who was having what and for our group of mostly non English speakers this gets confusing so I had to direct everything!!! Then they had forgotten 3 of the starters, one of which was for my 7yrs old nephew who was the hungriest!!! These came out after everyone had finished, ok….apology accepted….. Onto the main courses, similar problems with the servers not knowing what everyone ordered….then we had a extra monkfish curry when we wanted crayfish salad!!! The waiter acknowledged this and ran back into the kitchen and came back a little later with the correct dish and left the other behind with shock horror no apology nor explanation!!! We did not dare to touch this extra dish in case of hey decided to charge us for it as well!!! The last straw came when we received the bill, I made a point to see what they would charge for this mistake and as expected they charged us for the monkfish instead of the crayfish. When I mentioned this, the waiter informed me that the monkfish was actually cheaper therefore he thought since the bill was wrong he might as well leave it. As we would had to spilt the bill amongs ourselves later I wanted to have the correct items so asked him to change it. When this came back it was clear to see that the crayfish was in facts £3 cheaper!!! I mean WTH??? Why lie about that??? It’s so stupid!!! Anyway I didn’t have any energy left to point this out so just let it go.

The food themselves as I mentioned before was decent but the service really let the place down. In facts when I was searching for photos I realised that I only had a handful of the food because I was too busy sorting everything out! I understand that it can become confusing when there’s a big party and we have had some form of issues wherever we went but this was by far the worst!!! Restaurants really need to train their staffs better in order to accommodate big parties better as these spend the most money!!! All in all I would still recommend this restaurant especially if you enjoy steaks as they were very tasty but maybe just don’t come with a big group!!!

This is actually the back entrance of the hotel!
  
There was a saxophone player which did create a chilled out atmosphere, again shame about the service!
  
Black pudding scotch egg, these were just average, I have definitely had better!
  
That 70s classic – prawn cocktail…apparently it was good!
  
Crayfish and mango salad
  
Cullen skink soup, pretty good but slightly salty but the toast was great for soaking it all up!
  
Squid tempura, this was especially disappointing!!! The batter was soggy and squid overcooked!
  
The steak was good, the peppercorn sauce was too sweet and the chips nowhere near the ones we had in the afternoon!!!
 

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