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“Some excellent food but room for improvement all round”
Review of Miller & Carter

Miller & Carter
Ranked #60 of 263 Restaurants in Basingstoke
Restaurant details
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

My companion’s summation of our visit was “lovely décor for which one would have expected more given confused service, a considerable lack of vegetarian options and a number of other small disappointments.”

So, to more details. First of all, the online booking system which appears to have the same erratic nature as its predecessor here: I was informed that the earliest I could reserve a table was 3.00 p.m. but on arriving tem minutes early we passed no cars leaving and found the place more than half empty. Why? (I had the same problem with the Toby Carvery - it's a good way to lose business, take note.)

Secondly, we had intended to make use of the set menu. However, with just one vegetarian option and that containing some ingredients my companion does not get on well with, she was forced onto the main menu which merely had one further choice for her. Yes, this is a “steakhouse”. But, in today’s times when more and more family members are choosing an alternative diet, this has to be realised and catered for. (In my opinion this switch of restaurant from a “cheap and cheerful” carvery is a great gamble considering the general doom and gloom in the restaurant business at large and they will need to make a real effort for all diets and tastes in a family.)

We decided to start by sharing some nachos which surprisingly arrived almost instantly. But, unlike most one tends to have in restaurants, just a few of the chips appeared to be at best fractionally tepid with everything else cold which threw both of us. Is this the policy or did these just happen to be sitting around waiting for a customer? Tasty, nonetheless, however.

With a lack of set menu options, my companion then chose the “veggie burger”. On the plus side, she described this as one of the best she has ever eaten; on the negative side, it was relatively small (excluding a mound of bun) and “probably worth about £2 less”. It also appeared to come on a ridiculously small plate which rendered knife and fork eating almost impossible (no, not everyone wishes to pick up a massive bun and eat in a manner more suited to fast food restaurants).

Since she was eating off the main menu, I decided to treat myself to a rump steak (by far the cheapest of the steak options, some of which appear vastly overpriced). It was one of the most expertly cooked steaks I have enjoyed for a very long time indeed which does the chef great credit. The desiccated piece of tomato was a waste of space, however.

We both ordered chips: daintily presented but totally unremarkable, alas.

I confess to some communication problems with our first waiter (I suspect neither of us quite understood the other’s accent) and in a confusion of ordering I chose a “lettuce wedge”. This nearly gave us a fit of the giggles when it arrived: who really masticates a lump of cheap lettuce at least twice as big as a steak? There was sufficient sauce on it for the top layer of leaves only and that’s all that can be said.

Service? Most courteous and well-meaning but somewhat confused. Our drinks finally reached the table halfway through our starter course (by then the nachos were seriously hitting our throats), the main courses popped up with a different waiter before the starter had been cleared away (or even confirmed as finished) and the bill had to be requested twice. Little things but...

I note other comments about excusing “teething problems”. However, I seem to remember the publicity about the number of staff being employed and the fact that they were having comprehensive training time. I think that overall, considering that many of the options are at standard to high prices, a fair amount of “tweaking” is needed if this “dining experience” is to be taken seriously. My initial reaction is certainly not to rush back with guests, sadly as it is virtually on my doorstep, but I shall see. Certainly also, there are not sufficient “rave reviews” here to encourage people and, again in today’s economic climate, one wants to be sure that a special treat out is well worth the effort, for this establishment both in terms of making the trip for many as well as the food and service.

Finally, looking around as we made a decent effort to "dress smart" as requested, we were rather at a loss as to what "smart" and "casual" means nowadays? The only deductions we could make from those there were that perhaps shorts were unacceptable (T-shirts certainly were not) and perhaps, my companion suggested with a laugh, "buggies". "Beggars (the restaurant) trade can't be choosy", we decided. (Incidentally my companion was a very well-attired university student so this is not just an older generational comment!)

And the survey below? "sort of visit"? We were two family members, not a "couple" in the usual sense of the word, so which do I choose? And I've said "No" to "Can a vegetarian person get a good meal at this restaurant?" because yes, one "can" but only if the very limited choice is acceptable. The drop-down menu for "cuisines" is hard to obtain and the choices peculiar: somebody needs to amend this.

Overall score? My companion scraped hers up to a 7 which is probably fair, all things being taken into account. But we wouldn't at this stage push this up to a "4" on the grading system here.

We hope these comments are taken in the spirit of the constructive criticism intended. I repeat that the actual qualities of the steak and "burger" on their own were more or less faultless: everything else needs to try to approach that standard as well.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank 22stewartj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
General Manager A, Manager at Miller & Carter, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Thanks for your honest review of our business. The way in which our booking system works is we allow a certain amount of people into the business in a 15 minute period, this ensures that the kitchen does not get overloaded of orders at one point of time and that your meals are top quality. (as you said so yourself)
The lettuce wedge is to accompany the steak prior to its delivery, but aplogies that no one cleared your startes prior to your meal.

We will take all the feedback and work on this for the future.

Miller & Carter Basingstoke

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (48)
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25 - 29 of 48 reviews

Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Amazing food and the cocktails where beautiful! Great service. Will most definitely going back!
Only downside was our bill at the end lol. I blame the cocktails.

1  Thank Lisa W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We visited recently for my husband birthday meal, unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we were going to be late so rang the Restaurant to say we were on our way but the Receptionist I spoke to was a little terse and said they were fully booked and would only hold the table for 20 minutes, we arrived 10 minutes late. The greeting was no very welcoming to say the least and the Restaurant didn't appear to be fully booked.
The Waitress/Waiter were very nice and friendly but we were sat for at least 10 minutes before we were offered any drinks.
The food was very good although they had run out of certain items, which really didn't matter at the end of the day.
The slow cooked beef was excellent
We would visit again as put this down to settling in period for the Restuarant.
Well done to the waiting staff..

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 6950Cathy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Very friendly service but not intrusive. Excellent food. A few issues with accompaniment to our butchers block not being available and being substituted with ribs instead. This may not have been a problem but we were never asked it was just delivered with the ribs. Thankfully they were very nice ribs. Lots of staff all dining their very best to be helpful. Liquor coffee also came as a liquor hot chocolate some how. Again not ideal but didn’t ruin our evening. Will definitely give them another chance whilst they figure things out as they’ve just opened.

Thank Swill80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Recently been a couple of times and the food has been good , we have had what we paid for on both accounts the service was good however a little slow but they were very busy , we had to keep catching the servers eye to make them aware we were ready to order each thing and then for the bill so it felt a little awkward . My only problem was the first time ever we paid an added vat amount onto the bill not only did we pay our food amount we paid an added 20% on top of our bill ?? Surely it should have stated we were just a little surprised as nowhere did it state online or on any menu and as it had never happened on any other occasion it was a little shocking to have 20% put on top when however we questioned it our server had dashed off and an older grumpier server stepped up and said it’s standard like service charge ?? What surely you cannot be claiming this, we had heard numerous people on this day questioning why they had also paid an added 20% on top when menu is set price right , after questioning the lady seemed content with her answer and asked off we were left to pay both the bill and money taken and no receipt handed back. Shocked just a little I’m not gonna lie the food was good but not worth adding a 20% to the bill on top and no our server did not get a tip !!! Many people were questioning a lady had to borrow from her friend sat in front of us we assumed because they’d over spent due to prices no probably because they hadn’t banked on the 20% added on top also !!!!

3  Thank RandomLouB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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