Tripadvisor ‘troll’ who complained her salad was cold slammed by restaurant boss

A chef has slammed a "gutless keyboard warrior" who gave his restaurant a bad review on Tripadvisor complaining her salad was cold.

Restaurant boss Jamie O’Leary 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, Wales Online reports.

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

Jamie, 36, said: “She moaned in her first review that her Cucumber Kachmber 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 Tripadsvisor: “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-weights our talent as we still haven’t quite cracked it.

“The Salmon is not under cooked, it’s 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 that’s the way we like it.

“Also the Kachumba 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 their produce on the menu.

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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 Riata.

"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 Riata.

“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.”

Liz from Dorset’s review

Rock-hard crab balls, tough lamb, undercooked salmon, swede over-caramelised so it was unrecognisable as swede, curry sauce with an uncooked taste and too heavy for the salmon.

What should have been hot food was cold but conversely the ice-cream was served on hot plates so it arrived as a melted blob. A chipped glass which my friend caught her lip on.

The lime and soda arrived minus the lime. We were asked what we wanted for dessert but not given the menu. The dessert arrived but no cutlery to eat it.

We were not asked if we needed condiments and none were on the table. Regrettably this restaurant has similarities to Fawlty Towers with dreadful food and the slowest service I’ve ever encountered in a restaurant which only had 12 other people dining.

The restaurateur makes hollow claims the food is high quality but fails to state its provenance or state any ethical source. We went here expecting to eat well but the word disappointed doesn’t even come near to the dreadful and overpriced lunch we had.

Jamie from JOL’s reply

Hi Elizabeth from Dorset.

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. However your persistence has grabbed our attention here at JOL’s.

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-weights our talent as we still haven’t quite cracked it.

The Salmon is not under cooked, it’s 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, also the Kachumba salad is I assure you meant to be cold. Salad being the clue.

On to my personal favourite part of your review, hollow claims, provenance and ethical sources.

We at JOL’s use high quality produce, it shows in the price that we pay for produce and in turn the price we charge for what we produce.

I could very well 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, some times I do, others I don’t. I’ve taken the liberty of inserting some examples below.

Curried Salmon with Spiced Potato Naan, Onion Pakora, Tomato & Cucumber Kachumber SALAD and Riata

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 Riata

For me it’s option one every time.

In your first review you stated that criticising isn’t easy for you, commendable effort Liz as you’ve taken to it like a Madgets Farm Duck to water. (free range poultry farm). I’d also like to point out that you’ve obviously visited us on a Sunday as this is the only day that we serve our over caramelised swede, for me three courses for £23 isn’t overpriced at all, in fact it’s something of a bargain but some people go out to feed, others go out to eat. Even if being served by Manuel, just my opinion, “I know nothing”.

On a finishing note, 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.

Lots of love

JOL’s

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