"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all", or so I was taught when I was younger.
Anyway, large swathes of the political blogosphere would be emptied if this approach became commonplace. And I would find that I had literally nothing to say about our visit at the weekend to The Stables, part of the Hallgarth Hotel comnplex.
Now we have very fond memories of The Stables - we often used to go there for an excellent Sunday lunch when friends and relatives came to stay. Our last visit was sometime ago, however (AJ was only just out of a high chair, I seem to remember) so we thought it was time to pay the place a visit again.
From what I've read in the press, the place has changed hands several times since then, and recently the parent group has run into trouble, although fortunately for staff this seems to have been resolved.
When we arrived on Saturday evening, the bar was pretty much deserted, which should have been a warning sign. We ordered a bar meal, and waited and waited and waited...
As a snack, for a first course Sandy had a goats cheese filo tart and I had garlic bread. Mine consisted of two slices of toasted, buttered bread that remarkably had no taste of garlic at all. Sandy's tart was charred on the top and the filo was rock hard - maybe it had been microwaved? Being British we gritted our teeth, and ploughed on.
The main course was worse. Sandy ordered a jacket potato with cheese - the cheese savoury mix was slimy and we were both sure the coleslaw was off. Sandy left it all. I had a beefburger, which was the wrong side of pink in the middle. I ate mine, and (sparing you the gory details) suffered for two days afterwards.
I had already ordered a single cheeseboard to share between us - slabs of processed cheese and a few biscuits which would have been tolerable if not priced at a whopping £5.90.
Anything positive to say? - well the staff were lovely, and when we complained about the main course, the waitress did what she could, and we were given a free round of drinks.
Otherwise it was simply the worst, the most overpriced bar meal either of us could remember. If this was Mike Amos' Eating Owt column, he'd likely round this review off with a witty observation about closing stable doors - I can only advise you to steer well clear.