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Pub owner hits back at online critic

The owner of the Bladebone Inn in Berkshire has hit back at a critical review on the TripAdvisor website, accusing the writer of being a “liar” in search of “freebies”.

The Bladebone Inn in Berkshire (Image: Bladebone Inn)

The initial review and subsequent response have now gone viral, with many backing owner Kiren Puri over his response.

The issue started after a reviewer, who goes by the name S1nsand, published his comment after visiting the pub in mid-August.

S1nsand titled his review “Aweful (sic) food and dire complaint handling”. He went on to describe his experience as “one of the worst evenings out in a while.”

He added: “All fine except the rib was so tough that it was practically inedible – I left half of mine.

“The very nice waitress asked where we were enjoying our meal and we fed back that the rib was pretty awful to the extent that I wasn’t going to finish my meal. She said that she would talk to the chef. We didn’t hear back. When the bill was presented there was no acknowledgement of our feedback. We asked what were the chef comments and at this point what turned out to be a very incompetent and rude waiter arrived. He informed us that he had tasted the meat as had the chef and that the meat was tender as always.”

S1nsand then wrote: “We like to support local pubs and restaurants and are real ‘foodies’”

He finished his review with some “constructive advice for the management of the Blade Bone Inn”.

This advice included “Train your staff to put the customer first and not make mountains out of mole hills.

“Empathise with your customer who after all probably isn’t trying to cheat you – don’t argue.

“With this in mind, a small gesture, bit off the bill, drink, free dessert etc. goes a long, long way.”

But after reading the review, Puri decided to hit back against the anonymous poster.

He opened his reply by writing: “I never respond to reviews on here, good or bad. I am a believer that these sites offer a communal platform to share experiences on, that enable us all to eat, drink and sleep better, and that can’t be a bad thing.

“Unfortunately, there are a small minority of people that use these sites for ulterior and more sinister motives and these people, like yourself, are a disease upon our wonderful industry, and it must be addressed.”

Some of the food on offer at the Bladebone Inn (Image: Bladebone Inn)

He went on to counter many of the points which had been set down by S1nsand.

“All plates that return to the kitchen unfinished are kept for either my or the head chef’s inspection. We both inspected what was left on your two plates (one plate was completely clear, whilst the other had the most miniscule piece of meat left.), the meat was tender and unctuous. We served six other portions that evening to a universal response of ‘excellent’, although I am open to the suggestion that food fairies may have bought another one into the building and replaced the one on your plate as a personal slight against you. Naughty fairies.

“You falsely claim that half was left. Now I think someone has a little problem here telling the truth. I saw the plate, and our cctv shows that next to nothing was left, I would be more than happy to show you these images if your memory is hazy.”

Puri added: “The rude and incompetent waiter you speak off was me. I am the chef/patron and the business owner. I know, even I struggle to believe that sometimes.

“You state that you left money to cover one meal and drinks. It did not cover that. The money was dispatched into the Air Ambulance charity box. If that is the value that you put on a meal in my restaurant, I would rather not have it.

“You claim to be foodies. I have never met a self professed foodie start his meal with a bowl of chips.”

In response to this line the hashtag “bowlofchips” started trending on Twitter.

Puri closed his response with some advice of his own for S1nsand.

“Tell the truth. Lying and distorting the truth beyond recognition is not cool, big nor clever even if it is a tool towards achieving your end result.

“Having read the pseudo-criticisms on your other reviews, there are a couple of consistencies. I.e. You are after freebies and money off. If you are going to constantly do this, have the decency and ask for a reduction on the bill at booking or free courses.

“Stick to venues that will satiate you. I can recommend an endless list of chains that have endless capital and will not mind gifting you the freebies and discounts that you so obviously crave.”

Although Puri’s response has been well received by many, there has been no response from S1nsand. Puri told the Daily Mail that he has received supportive emails and tweets from Britain, Australia and America congratulating him on his response.

Read the full review and response here.

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