The Bowfield Hotel and Country Club provides facilities as a health centre, spa and restaurant complex in Howwood, Renfrewshire.
We booked a table for 5.30pm for 12 of us. Having briefly visited before, we knew that there was a kid’s soft-play area with a large room next to it. Our intention was to eat and allow the kids to play when they weren’t eating. We arrived but were told that we couldn’t eat in that room (despite other people eating there on our previous visit). Ok. Disappointing, but not too serious.
Our table was in the lounge, in front of the bar. When we were shown to our table, I asked if we needed to order our food at the bar. I was told no – we would get table service.
We all made our choices, but no waiter showed up. Meanwhile, loads of other people were making orders at the bar. We were dropping further & further back in the queue while people coming in after us were making orders. Quite frustrating. We joined the queue at the bar again but we told that someone would be out soon.
Despite chasing up the staff, nobody came to take our food order until 6.30. They took our drinks order too, but got the order wrong and missed out some drinks completely.
At 7pm, a waiter came out and told us that they hadn’t started cooking our food yet. Not the relaxing, enjoyable experience that one hopes for when they go for a meal out.
While we were waiting, some of the adults took the kids along to the soft-play area. It was unsupervised, and a group of older children were playing. Well, throwing things around, shouting & swearing. We sat at a table next to the play area to keep an eye on our kids.
One of the older kids that were throwing things around came up to us and asked us to leave. He must have been 10, 12 years old. He asked me and my wife to go because he was worried that we were going to tell the staff & the police about him misbehaving. This was an incredibly uncomfortable situation – a child coming up to you and asking you to leave. No staff on duty, no other adults in the room. I was angry enough to tell the receptionist about this. Turns out the parents were having a session in the bar. Guests, it seems, were permitted to let kids run riot.
The food eventually arrived. Most of it. My youngest, Eve, was really hungry by this point but her macaroni cheese didn’t turn up. They forgot to make it, apologised, and she got some about 10 minutes later.
The Roast Chicken Breast, the Fillet of Cod on Lentils and the Steak Pie all suffered the same problems – they were really bland. There was nothing to demonstrate that the chef was attempting to enhance the dish, to season it or to entertain in any way. It just existed. The Fish and Chips faired slightly better but it still didn’t wow. An utter disappointment.
Dessert arrived at 8pm, incomplete. The kids Ice Cream & Sauce arrived without sauce. By that point we were too tired and disappointed to complain. We just wanted to get out of the place.
All restaurants have bad nights. Everybody does. This was more than that. This was a systematic inability to deal with taking food orders from people, in getting the right food to the right place in a fair amount of time. The soft-play stress just added to the problem. What decent company leaves kids to play without supervision? None.
We had high expectations of an establishment that ran itself as a Country Club. It failed with regard to service, quality of food, attention of staff and comfort. That night, almost anywhere else would be a better choice.