‘THEY SAID THE SALAD WAS COLD!’

South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - TOM BED­FORD echo.news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

A SOUTH Wales restau­rant boss has hit back at a TripAd­vi­sor “troll” who com­plained that her salad was cold.

Chef Jamie O’Leary, 36, is con­cerned the web­site is be­ing abused to dam­age the rep­u­ta­tion of hard­work­ing busi­nesses.

He com­plained to TripAd­vi­sor when cus­tomer “Liz from Dorset” posted an “in­ac­cu­rate and un­fair” re­view of JOL’s – his restau­rant in Merthyr Tyd­fil.

TripAd­vi­sor re­moved Liz’s com­plaint but she posted an­other one de­spite not re­vis­it­ing Jamie’s restau­rant.

She com­pared JOL’s to TV’s Fawlty Tow­ers, com­plained her salmon was un­der­cooked and her crab balls were rock hard.

Jamie said: “She moaned in her first re­view that her cu­cum­ber kachum­ber salad was cold.

“I had to point out there’s a clue on the menu she should have spot­ted – the word salad. We don’t serve them hot.”

Jamie has scored 185 “ex­cel­lent” re­views and 26 “very good” out of 237 cus­tomers who have left re­views on TripAd­vi­sor.

It makes the restau­rant, which opened two-and-a-half years ago, one of the high­est scor­ing in Wales.

Fa­ther of two Jamie says he lis­tens and learns from crit­i­cism but was so an­gry at Liz’s two re­views he had to re­spond.

He said on TripAd­vi­sor: “What a plea­sure it is to hear from you again af­ter the first re­view from your cur­rent smear cam­paign was re­moved by the TripAd­vi­sor pow­ers that be.

“Usu­ally I’d rise above dig­ni­fy­ing your rather mis­lead­ing re­view with a re­sponse how­ever to­day you are in luck, strap in Liz as it’s go­ing to get bumpy.

“First of all there are no ‘crab balls’ on our crab dish, I be­lieve what has con­fused you is the Ir­ish soda bread.

“Be­lieve me we’ve tried to bake crust­less bread but our am­bi­tion clearly out-weighs our tal­ent as we still haven’t quite cracked it.

“The salmon is not un­der­cooked, its cured and poached at 40 de­grees as you would have been told at the point of or­der­ing.

“Ad­mit­tedly it does look slightly dif­fer­ent to the stuff that comes from a tin but thats the way we like it.

“Also the kachum­ber salad is, I as­sure you, meant to be cold. Salad be­ing the clue.”

Liz from Dorset, who vis­ited the restau­rant for Sun­day lunch also com­plained that JOL’s failed to give the source of its pro­duce on the menu.

Jamie re­sponded say­ing: “I could fill up the menu with the names and ad­dresses of all the meat and fish we use but it can turn the menu into a rather long-winded af­fair.

“The choices are: Cur­ried Salmon with Spiced Potato Naan, Onion Pakora, Tomato & Cu­cum­ber Kachum­ber salad and Raita.

“Or: Cur­ried Phil the Salmon from Loch Duart, 25, Sin­gle, en­joys long swims and cosy nights in, look­ing for some­one with sim­i­lar in­ter­ests with Spiced Potato Naan, Onion Pakora, Tomato & Cu­cum­ber Kachum­ber salad and Raita. “For me it’s op­tion one ev­ery time.” Chef Jamie be­lieves cus­tomers should make their views known to the restau­rant be­fore mak­ing dam­ag­ing on­line at­tacks.

He ended his re­sponse to Liz say­ing: “TripAd­vi­sor is a fan­tas­tic tool for both busi­nesses and the pub­lic alike.

“How­ever, there is al­ways the risk of it fall­ing into the wrong hands – gut­less key­board war­riors who sim­ply have noth­ing bet­ter to do that try to dam­age hard­work­ing busi­nesses’ rep­u­ta­tions.

“All of my staff treat the restau­rant as their own and work hard to main­tain the very high stan­dards that we as­pire to so it’s frus­trat­ing for ev­ery­one when some­one just wants to make a noise.

“We look for­ward to see­ing you again soon El­iz­a­beth from Dorset, but in the mean­time happy trolling.”

Jamie, who trained under celebrity chef Stephen Terry at the award-win­ning Hard­wick in Aber­gavenny, is hop­ing Liz comes for­ward to iden­tify her­self.

He said: “We don’t want un­happy cus­tomers and TripAd­vi­sor tells us that most peo­ple think we are turn­ing out ex­cel­lent food with ex­cel­lent ser­vice

“TripAd­vi­sor took Liz’s first re­view down be­cause it was wholly in­ac­cu­rate but she went to the trouble of writ­ing an­other one.

“I don’t usu­ally bite back but it was hurt­ful to me and my hard-work­ing staff.”

PATRICK OL­NER

Jamie O’Leary run JOL’s restau­rant in Merthyr Tyd­fil

JOL’s in Merthyr

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