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River Park Inn, West Parley

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user reviews of the River Park Inn, West Parley

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

We found this pub on the internet. We booked when 130 miles away because it looked a reasonable place to meet with old friends who lived in Bournemouth and we were not disappointed.

The name has changed It is now "Twenty on the River". It also appears that most everything else has changed too. The decor is a delight. Simple light and modern without a single tacky artwork to distract or become a question of taste or opinion.

The welcome was great. We could have gone straight to the table but chose to wait for our friends in the bar where the barman knew our table number before we had decided what to order. When our friends arrived the Maitre D politely checked whether we wanted to stay in the bar or go to the table.

We were unhurried in our ordering and the menu looked good. The starters were exactly what we wanted and come to that the main meals and puddings were as well. The wine was served at correct temperature and tasted as though it had "breathers" for a bit. Quite an achievement for an wine such as a meaty Rioja.

The food was cooked perfectly and presented neatly. A crispy prawn starter had beautiful tempura batter, the rump of lamb was cut neatly and positioned mouthwateringly on the bed of vegetables. They even made the tagliatelli look neat!

The steaks and lamb were cooked just as we had ordered which is good for a 'pub' type establishment. Here they take pride in presenting the food. That doesn't mean it was varnished with garnish either.

We had loads of time to chat and enjoy the meal. The service was good but unobtrusive. The waitresses worked their socks off.

The cost? Not cheap but not too expensive either. For four three course meals, including a top of the shop steak,including drinks before and wine with, 30GBP ph didn't seem too bad. We left a decent tip.

We couldn't understand why the place was half empty on a Saturday night. Perhaps people can't wait for fresh cooked food these days.
eeyore58 - 20 Feb 2008 20:48
We found this pub on the internet. We booked when 130 miles away because it looked a reasonable place to meet with old friends who lived in Boiurnemouth and we were not disappointed.

The name has changed It is now "Twenty on the River". It also appears that most everything else has changed too. The decor is a delight. Simple light and modern without a single tacky artwork to distract or become a question of taste or opinion.

The welcome was great. We could have gone straight to the table biut chose to wait for our freinds inthe bar where the barman knew our table number before we had decidedwhat to order. When our freinds arrived the Maitre D poilitely checked whether wewanted to stay inthe bar or go to the table.

We were unhurried in our ordering and the menu looked good. The starters were exactly what we wanted and come to that the main meals and puddings were as well. The wine was served at correct temperature and tasted as though it had "breathers" for a bit. Quite an achievement for an wine such as a meaty Rioja.

The food was cooked perfectly and presented neatly. A smoked salmon and prawn starter was beautifully layered on a ciabatta, the rump of lamb was cut neatly and positioned mouthwateringly on the bed of vegetables. They even made the tagliatelli look neat!

The steaks and lamb were cooked just as we had ordered which is good for a 'pub' type establishment. Here they take pride in presenting the food. That doesn't mean it was varnished with garnish either.

We had loads of time to chat and enjoy the meal. The service was good but unobtrusive. The waitresses worked their socks off.

The cost? Not cheap but not too expensive either. For four three course meals, including a top of the shop steak,including drinks before and wine with, 30GBP ph didn't seem too bad. We left a decent tip.
eeyore58 - 20 Feb 2008 20:36
River Park Inn, nope, now TWENTY ON THE RIVER.
This visit has to be planned and you should ALLOW plenty of TIME??
Recently went for a family outing (13) Sunday afternoon. Firstly great looks, nice setting and views. Dress code states SMART CASUAL, me thinks footie gear was acceptable by dinners, some waiters with holes in jeans!! Will state that our waiter was VERY Good and could take control in most situations. THE LET DOWN!
It took ONE and HALF hours for a ALL of us to receive our main meals, so some of us had eaten and finished and others were still to be served. The strange question to be asked was that some of those waiting for their meals were the same as those who had already eaten an identical meal (roast beef)!! Neadless to say that when their meals arrived they were LUKE WARM. However now tired of waiting,a replacement meal would have taken for the next lunar passing.
Would like at this juncture to state that what was presented was good and the food excellent.
The coffee's and tea's came around, CUPS WERE DIRTY AND RETURNED, these were still stained (this was on what we could see!!), SO WHAT WAS IT LIKE ON THE other items that we could not see!!! HELP!!
Liquior coffee's were just luke warm, but why wait and ask for a replacement!
There are many other pubs (or should I say NOW restaurants as this one has now become) touting for trade and offer similar meals. If you are not in a hurry and can wait lengthy periods of time for your meals, then give it a try, BUT CONSIDER THESE POINTS FIRST. Lengthy waiting times for meals (Seemed the norm at several tables), certainly overpriced for their food (roast beef 9.95), and a glass of coke 1.80!
Take a look around before you book and maybe someone will take note on why their business has dropped off! Shame as this could be a very good eating place with a great ambience!
Bon appetite, fellow dinners!
poole1066 - 9 Sep 2007 20:30
Visited the Inn on Sunday, 9th April, impressed with the setting and the food was very good, but very poor on service, i.e. length of time waited before having our main meal served, overheard another table commenting on the fact that they had ordered their meals and after an hour wait one couple got their meal whilst the other 10 people waited nearly another hour for theirs and this was a party of 12 who were celebrating a 40th Wedding Anniversary. The fact that also it was supposed to be smart casual was quite clearly overstated, men there with their, to what I can only describe as, swimwear type shorts, even the waiters wore sloppy jeans, with holes in, its a shame that such a place as this lets itself down in this way, it could be such a high class, SMART, very excellent setting to eat if only the people who run this Inn tried a little harder and looked at ways on how they can improve!!!!!!!

anonymous - 9 Sep 2007 19:47
Booked a table for 2:30. Still waiting at 3:30 for a table - they brought one in from outside and put a cloth over it- right beside waiters desk so just heard them moaning over how busy it was - HELLO DON'T OVERBOOK - . 4:00 served starter (which I admit was good), walked out at 5pm still waiting for main course.

Overheard every table complain about wait / missing food / missing entire plates worth. Ended up at McDonald's in Ferndown. Thoroughly ruined the Father's day weekend - Don't let them ruin yours.


phillprice - 17 Jun 2007 18:12
Went there last saturday, is now what you call a bistro pub or resturant i like to call it, smart attire must be worn! pleasant staff and seemed to be trained (knew what the menu consisted of) which was good, was very busy and took 45 minutes to an hour to be seated but apologies were given which were apreciated, food was nice, i had the duck, and to be fair the prices werent amazingly high for a resturant of its kind, 88 for 4 with a shared starter, main and 2 drinks each (two of us were drinking becks) other two on cokes. good service and good food but is a restuarant now and not a pub
6raham - 5 Apr 2007 11:23
Sorry its now called Twenty on the River,close but no cigar,heard lots of rumours but no concrete facts has anybody tried it yet?
billieposter - 14 Sep 2006 22:46
no bikes no bike jackets or no helmets so what ever happened to road safety!!
rode up on motorbike worth more than most of the cars in the car park. confronted by doorman? landlord? and told thing had changed welcome during day time but not allowed in if you ride a bike in the evening!!
Jackets were not leather with tassells but purely for our saftey. helmets are law abinding. what is the world coming to?????
Just a normal couple out for a coca cola on a sunday afternoon but racism seems to be taking over.
dagdog - 7 Sep 2006 20:52
This place has changed once again,its now called 10 on the river or something.
Has anybody tried it yet,scuttlebutt has it its struggling already
billieposter - 31 Aug 2006 09:21
Walked into this pub only because a mate had just started working there otherwise i would have nether known it was there as it is well hidden away. nice interior and a pool table which always helps. Only real problem was they charged 3 for a pint of john smiths which i would consider 2.50 very expensive. for that price i can think of many places i would rather take my custom
anonymous - 23 Nov 2005 20:11
I have some sympathy for the owners of theis place; it must be very difficult to know what to do with it. Set in a fine old Victorian mansion in its own grounds with views over the River Stour, it should be a country house hotel.

The problem is, the view extends over the river to the delights of Kinson and Northbourne, and the pub, similarly, lurches in the direction of a large 1930 road pub in one of the less salubrious areas of town, but without the road.

We visited it on a quiet evening, and sat in the conservatory as the sun was going down, eating simple but beautifully cooked food, served by polite antipodean staff, watching a deer graze peacfully on the lawn.

However, I have a nagging suspicion that our experience was atypical.
ajho - 19 Mar 2005 12:39
Ideal for young couples who want to keep their brood of four occupied by slamming some doors and leaving others open. The frot door supports a dress code notice 'Dress to impress'. The code had not been deciphered. When you open the door you will probably let a previous customer out attired in football kit. I liked the view of the attractive garden and the play area which the kids seemed to ignore. The bar staff were cheerful. I didn't like the prices which were about 15% above reasonable expectation. Targeted at the easiliy pleased under-40 market.
Ian_S - 14 Mar 2004 10:21

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