Review of The Vineyard, Peterborough

by guest reviewer Nick (@nmyers89)

Formerly The Tom Locke Harvester, The Vineyard in Peterborough reopened it’s doors to the general public back in April following a £250,000 refurbishment – and boy did it need it. The outdated decor and cheap food made the venue less desirable for those who wanted to wine and dine in style.

Now though, the spacious setting is fitted with glass and steel, soft lighting and modern decor. The restaurant and wine bar certainly look the part. Conveniently located near the city centre on Lincoln Road, it now seats around 70 people and serves a mixture of traditional English dishes as well as some continental/exotic alternatives. The wine bar boasts a wide selection of wine from the cheap to the very pricey.

Visiting on Father’s Day, as I did, I wasn’t expecting great things – during these busy periods staff are often under pressure and the quality of both the service and the food can suffer. Upon entering the restaurant though, I was greeted by a cheerful and happy waitress who was only to keen to take us to our reserved table and fetch us drinks. The same waitress screwed up one of the drinks and didn’t really know what to do. Fortunately we worked it out – but others may not have been so understanding.

Upon ordering our food, we were in for quite a wait for the starters to arrive and an even longer one for the mains. We were a party of 16 and it was busy but we did note that people who came in after did get their meals quicker. I would have got annoyed had it not been for the relaxing music from the live band which set the atmosphere beautifully and set a rather calming mood.

The food itself was exquisite. I’m a fussy eater but the staff were more than happy to cater for my needs – giving me the half roast chicken with steak cut chips. Whilst perhaps a little pricey, you could tell why – the chicken was well cooked, a decent size and tasted delicious. My relatives who went for either the Lamb Shank, the 8oz Sirloin Steak or the traditional Sunday Roast all found their meals to be above satisfactory.

The desserts range from Creme Brulee, to Rhubarb Cheesecake, Tiramisu to a selection of cheeses. None appealed to my taste buds and at nearly £5 a dessert, it was perhaps a little too pricey to try one. Those relatives who did take up the offer of dessert, found them to be of high quality, which is to be expected given that for the same price elsewhere you could buy yourself a main meal.

Overall I found the modern setting appealing, the staff friendly and the food tasty, albeit a little pricey. I did find that the food and atmosphere didn’t really cater for young children – but then again, it is a wine bar. The difference between The Tom Lock and The Vineyard is astounding and I would most certainly eat there again.

You can check out the full menu, a list of wines and more information about The Vineyard on it’s official website. (http://www.vineyardrestaurant.net/Intro.html). According to the site, if you book now you can receive a complimentary bottle of house wine – well worth it if you ask me.

My rating: 4/5

3 Replies to “Review of The Vineyard, Peterborough”

  1. I work in a busy office where the phone rings off the hook, so to get anything done you have to leave the office. My boss and I used this as a perfect excuse to combine lunch and a meeting , specifically choosing The Vineyard because I had read in the local press that fish was a speciality and I thought this would put my fish-loving boss in a good mood.

    When we arrived the first thing that hit me was the smell, the best way to describe it was the smell of barbicide. Barbicide is the blue liquid barbers disinfect their combs with. I hoped it was that the floor had just been cleaned. We wandered in and there did not seemed to be anywhere to wait to be seated so we went over to a table and sat down. Then a waiter appeared and asked if it was a table for two, he then brought us our menus and took our drinks order.

    The general atmosphere in The Vineyard was lively and relaxed there was a large group celebrating a birthday with a live band playing soft rock in the corner. The band were actually very good and the volume was just at the right level, so you could enjoy it but still talk over easily.
    The menu at The Vineyard was slightly disappointing it was not very varied and my boss was equally unimpressed with the fish options. We both opted for the standard fare of steak and chips with peppercorn sauce.

    The food arrived very quickly and to my surprise the peppercorn sauce was already on my steak. I don’t know if its just me but usually in a restaurant you get your steak sauce separately. The full dish included fried whole button mushrooms and steamed broccoli, carrot and courgette. The mushrooms were ok, but the vegetables were almost raw! They needed to be cooked for around an extra 10 minutes. The chips were unmistakably oven chips.
    Finally the steak, I now know why they had already poured on the sauce, it was tough as old boots and had an edge of fat as thick as a thumb, the sauce was a disguise. The waiter did come and ask us if everything was ok after around 10 minutes and being typical British diners (who never complain) we said “Yes, thank you”.

    When we had finished the waiter came to take our plates and asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu. We politely declined and the waiter asked if we wanted the bill I said no, and asked for a coffee. The waiter returned with my coffee and yet again asked if we wanted the bill, again I declined. Then strangely partway through my coffee a different waiter approached us and yet again asked us if we wanted our bill. Now if the restaurant was full and they were really busy I could understand that they would want us to finish and leave the table free for the next people, but other than the birthday party it was dead. I decided the waiters just wanted something to do so that’s why they kept asking us if we wanted the bill.
    Eventually we finished our meeting and got our bill and left.

    To sum it up The Vineyard is disappointing to say the least . The food was below average and under cooked, I actually think it would have been better food if it was still The Harvester. The service was odd and the smell disconcerting. I would not recommend The Vineyard to anyone nor would I go there again. In fact I think it is the worst meal I have eaten this year.

  2. Ate at this restaurant very recently after reading reviews and being given the suggestion by a friend.
    Unfortunately we had a mixed experience and mainly leaning towards the negative.

    Decor and layout is nice and there was a reasonable ambience. It was a fairly busy evening but they managed to make up a table for us. Staff were VERY friendly thoughout but there were some issues.
    Starters came quickly and were nice. The onion soup was well made and very tasty, the prawns were nicely done but Im not sure about the combination a tomato and balsamic prawn with a sweet thai chilli sauce dip??

    Following this good start things went a little downhill. A drink was spilled on the shoes of one of our party. Accidents do happen but we wouldve expected a more attentive and professional apology rather than the brief, ‘oops sorry, wobbly hands’ we received from the staff member. After all this is a wine bar/restaurant not a pub/nightclub. It would’ve helped if they’d offered to provide napkins to clean up the mess rather than wait to be asked.

    We then had a very long wait between finishing starters and receiving mains. A member of the team came and apologised for the wait and said food would be with us soon but it was another 25mins or so later that mains arrived. A positive was that staff were attentive throughout the wait.
    Unfortunately two of four main dishes were completely cold whilst two were piping hot. Very disappointing. The dishes could’ve been good (and indeed the two hot ones were) but its difficult to assess cold meals.

    Desserts arrived in reasonable time but unfortunately none of our party were too impressed with the creme brulees they were served. They were average or below.

    FOOD overall: starters good, mains poor, dessert average.

    One positive is that, without being asked, the staff did not charge us for the two cold dishes and seemed apologetic with our experience at the end. I think they realised we’d had a bad experience. Unfortunately after such an experience we felt unable to leave a tip (the first time in a very, very long time this has happened).

    I’m reluctant to be too negative and will let others make their own decisions from this post. I wonder whether they were unable to cope with a busy evening but they should be able to really since they opened way back in April.
    I feel unable to recommend this restaurant but If I read future reviews/reports suggesting significant improvement to the above points then I may try it again at some point as there does appear to be some potential here but work is required.

  3. The restaurant is lovely and we had a really enjoyable visit. It was our thrid time of eating there and we tried the set meal as it was christmas. Exceptional value for money, excellent service and beautifully presented food. I would highly recommend. The service is attentive and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. My boyfriend had booked for my birthday and at the end of the meal I was presented with a cup cake and candle! The finishing touches are excellent and we will be back!

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