When I know I'm going out for a meal, I'm too impatient to wait to see the menu and often sneak a look online.
So when I saw that The Lincoln Hotel had a delicious sounding gammon with egg, pineapple and homemade fries listed on its bar menu – one of my favourite dishes – I booked us in.
But after rushing through rain-soaked Lincoln, we arrived to find it did not appear on the menu.
We were told that the menu had recently been updated but "the management must not have changed it on the website".
This didn't get us off to a great start, but I should in fairness list the good points as we arrived.
The hotel commands spectacular views of Lincoln Cathedral and is very nicely decorated.
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But it took 20 minutes, after asking, to get an answer on what the soup of the day was.
We ended up sharing a starter of ratatouille along with warm crusty bread with salted butter.
The ratatouille was tangy, with fresh and crunchy vegetables, while the crusty bread was warm and delicious.
However, I was disappointed and a little disgusted to open a pot of butter to discover a lump of furry green mould growing there.
In fairness to the hotel, I did check the date on the bottom of the pack and it should have been good for another eight months.
We received an immediate apology but I was frustrated to be told that we were not the first to find fur growing in the butter.
A member of staff told us that they hotel would now be contacting the manufacturer but I would have expected a product to be immediately returned if there is a fault.
Things started to look up when our main courses arrived.
I was pleased to see local produce on the menu and opted for Red Hill Farm sausages.
My partner took on the classic burger which came with crispy bacon, cheese, fries and a chilli salsa.
We also opted for a bottle of the house white wine to accompany our meal, which was a Pinot Grigio with a crisp and refreshing flavour.
The food was well cooked, with a lovely fruity tang to the onion gravy.
The burger was juicy and both main courses were large and reasonable value for money, especially for hotel prices.
We sat for 20 minutes after finishing before the plates were cleared – too long in my opinion. And once we had the bill, we had to call the waiter back because the bottle of wine had not been added.
It was also disappointing to be charged for the crusty bread despite the mould incident.
The Lincoln Hotel has a great reputation in the city, and friends always say what a good meal they have had there. My visit, unfortunately, was a real let-down because of the poor service and mouldy butter.
THE FOOD: Ratatouille £7; warm crusty bread £2; classic burger £9; sausage and mash £8; one bottle of house Pinot £16.
FINAL VERDICT: Nice food, but rather sloppy service despite staff being very polite and cheerful.
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