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The Hill, Greenwich - pub details

Previously called: Barley Mow

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Address: 89 Royal Hill, London, SE10 8SE [map] [gmap]

Tel: 0871 951 1000 (ref 7136) - calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras

Nearest DLR stations Greenwich (0.3 miles), Cutty Sark (0.5 miles), Deptford Bridge (0.6 miles)

Nearest train stations Greenwich (0.3 miles), St Johns (0.7 miles), Maze Hill (0.8 miles)

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> Current user rating: 5.0/10 (rated by 20 users)
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other pubs nearby:

Greenwich Union, Greenwich (0.1 miles), Prince Albert, Greenwich (0.1 miles), Richard I, Greenwich (0.1 miles), Morden Arms, Greenwich (0.1 miles), Royal George, Greenwich (0.1 miles) - see more nearby pubs

user reviews of the Hill, Greenwich

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

5 most recent reviews of 16 shown - see all reviews

no longer a pub and should not be confused with one AVOID
gpca - 16 May 2013 20:15
Customers thinking about going to The Hill, Royal Hill, Greenwich - I can't stress strongly enough how avidly you should avoid this place. Last night myself and my husband were thrown out of it; (a first for us, I must say!) by a member of staff/manager?/complete diva, who seems to think she is running Restaurant Marco Pierre White in the 1980s rather than a suburban gastro-pub. After waiting for over an hour for our main meal, we, (uncharacteristically for us, as we are typically British when it comes to complaining) - expressed some dissatisfaction - in a very few words - about the lengthy waiting time. She then told us in no uncertain terms to get out of the venue. It was both totally shocking, and after we had thought about it, really quite surreal....And actually a bit funny. She's the Basil Fawlty/Madonna/Mariah Carey of Royal Hill. But we will not be visiting The Hill again, any time soon.

The moment we walked in to the restaurant, or rather gastro-pub, (which incidentally we have visited several times before, as we live locally) at 8pm, and attempted interaction with this staff member, who we assume is the manager, we had the impression that she was boiling with anger and hostility. Sulking for England - she brought a whole new level to the word "curt". Doing away with any niceties such as "Hello", Good evening" or "Where would you like to sit?" she somehow manouvered us to a table with barely an acknowledgment - took our drinks order and brought us a bottle of wine and one of water all without eye contact. She splashed a token inch of water into the glasses, glugged some wine into the wine glasses and was gone, frosty, unsmiling, and really quite frightening.....

After some ten minutes or so a waiter came back and took our food order; a Thai prawn curry for me (�10.50) and a "Pan Fried Chicken Supreme" with creamed potatoes, mushrooms and leeks (�12.50) for my husband. This seemed an uncomplicated order - there was no mention of any special waiting time on the menu. "Pan fried" is a fairly speedy way to cook a chicken breast, in my world, at least. When I last looked it did not involve any special equipment or skills....I had seen a customer served with the Thai curry as we arrived, and again, it looked straightforward - a bowl of curry, with rice on the side.

At one point the terrifying manager came back and at my suggestion wordlessly replaced a dirty side plate, with a grim face. Sadly, the plates were redundant because at no point were we offered bread, although all the diners around us were. After 25 minutes or so, our perfectly adequate starters arrived, mine a pear and gorgonzola salad and my husband's a nicely cooked lamb tortellini.

Then the long wait began. A party of four and another couple who had come in well after us were all served with their main meals, some had fish and chips and some had what appeared to be either the chicken dish or the "slow-cooked belly of pork". I know this because we were sitting in the middle of the room, directly in the eye-line of the main serving counter and opposite the kitchen, so we could see all the plates coming out and where they were going . The absurdity of the situation gained pace, though, as, after another half an hour, each plate that left the kitchen we imagined was destined for us - only to have our hopes dashed as they were taken off elsewhere. There was a point when the waiter asked a couple next to us if they would like to see the dessert menu, when I wondered if maybe we were the butt of some dismal reality TV prank show.....If the place had been packed it may have been understandable, but it was half full at most.

I watched as various chefs drifted aimlessly in and out of the kitchen - one took a mug of tea outside for a break and two others appeared to be having a chat at the kitchen entrance - and it slowly dawned on us that they had apparently forgotten about our order. This happens in restaurants, it's just one of those things. It's not a big problem if staff acknowledge there's been an error, apologise, maybe offer the starving customer some bread, or take a bit off the bill and then just get on and serve the food ASAP. What IS a problem is a total denial of the issue and then suggesting it's the customer's fault - which is what subsequently happened.

It's not the fault of the restaurant that we had both been up since 5.30am, had had a particularly gruelling day at work, and by 9pm we were starting to get quite seriously hungry, but the reaction of the waiter when we called him over at 9.05pm to ask about the estimated time of our main meal, WAS the restaurants' fault. Without any attempt at explanation or apology he told us would be "five minutes" and disappeared. After another seven minutes passed of us watching various staff drift about aimlessly, we were on the point of aborting - my husband suggested we pay for the wine and leave as it was clear nothing was happening. The chefs were still milling around the entrance to the kitchen , and we had still had a fighting chance of getting some food elsewhere. If we hadn't been so tired and hungry it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if we had not drawn the waiter's attention to us - and how long we would have sat there before someone realised our order had been forgotten about...

At that moment the manager suddenly appeared with my prawn curry and putting the plate down in front of me, she coldly remarked that it was the chicken dish that had delayed the meal - and the reason was that we "had had starters". We were both completely taken aback - I admit I was expecting an apology or some routine polite explanation - but to be accused of delaying our main meal because we had irresponsibly chosen to have starters was strange to say the very least.... My husband said "What? Because we had starters it delayed our main meal for an hour?" and the manager replied with outright hostility "This is not MacDonald's, guys". My husband, very tired and hungry, and very insulted at her rudeness, then used an expletive, which he should not have done, but he was pushed to the limit. The manager instantly removed my plate and said with extreme aggression "That's it, I'm not having this - you can leave the restaurant now, I want you out" It was very shocking - both over the top and unnecessary - we were both so gob-smacked that she should act as if we were completely at fault.

My husband sensibly immediately left the venue before he lost his temper, and the manager rushed over to the group of staff - chefs and the waiter watching at the entrance to the kitchen, and began theatrically shouting and gesticulating in full view of the restaurant and the other diners. I put on my coat and went over to her to attempt some sort of civilized interaction before we left, but to no avail. She had completely lost the plot, and any attempt at professionalism on her part seemed to have flown out of the window, which was bizarre and disconcerting. I could not get a word in and was subject to a good five minutes of her furious temper - she said that she would not put up with us "acting so incredibly annoyed when our meals arrived", she reiterated that it "was not a fast food restaurant" she gestured at the chicken forlornly sitting on the counter behind her in the kitchen and shouted that it "was a really difficult dish that took 45 minutes to cook and they had to cut it open for us to try and cook it more quickly" - at which I suggested that maybe if they mentioned on the menu it took so long to cook then people would have the choice as to whether they wished to wait or not - but she continued shouting at me with no regard for what I was saying. She implied that we "did not know how to act in a restaurant" that we had "never been in that restaurant before and we didn't understand how it worked" (why this was relevant I don't know).

I told her that we lived locally, that we had been in the restaurant several times before and never had a problem, but that we had been up since 5.30am so after waiting for an hour for our food we were not really in the mood to take unpleasant remarks about us wanting a "MacDonald's" and that it was very rude to suggest we were unaware of the difference between her establishment and a burger joint. She also said that "She'd had a bad day too"....which was odd, and again, very unprofessional. After taking as much as I could of this I said I was sorry but I would have no choice but to tell everyone I knew to avoid the restaurant and that I would be writing a letter to the owners - to which she retorted "You've got no choice? Well then, if I've ruined the reputation of this place, so be it - now just get out". Which I did.

Incidentally we went straight around the corner to The Guildford and even though it was by now 9.30pm we were served a meal with charm and graciousness. My husband enjoyed his chicken dish, which was well-cooked, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Don't bother with The Hill, unless you are so hungry that you are prepared to be totally humiliated and insulted for no good reason in order to get a free bottle of wine and a couple of starters. But if you don't mind that - then try it - it worked for us!! The food seems fine....but the serving staff, hmmmm...that's another story.

TheGroke - 22 Oct 2010 17:03
Have to say that I thought this place would be particularly awful from the reviews so I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it's more gastropub than grotty boozer, reflected in the prices, but the food was nice and there was a very quaffable Devon ale on. Friendly Cornish barmaid serving too.
DuchyBoy - 24 Feb 2010 10:41
Ex-Barley Mow. Still a pub, but only just. It's a restaurant with a large bar area that has been created from a pub, and somehow retains some of the feel of a pub, albeit a rather upmarket one. I think the pub feel comes from the decent amount of space allowed for the bar area, and that there is a proper bar counter with a cask ale (Adnams in decent condition) and some taps - one serving Leffe. There is a strong scent of lilies, art for sale on the wall, and various shades of pastel cream. The place offers an alternative drinking experience and as such enriches the Greenwich pub scene. It's not my sort of place, and it's not one where many people would be spending the evening unless having a meal, but it's decent enough to get an average score.
SilkTork - 22 Sep 2009 22:37
Please don't call this place a pub.
lionbaz - 21 Dec 2008 23:50

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