‘THEY SAID THE SALAD WAS COLD!’
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.”
Jamie O’Leary run JOL’s restaurant in Merthyr Tydfil
JOL’s in Merthyr