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Fox, Caterham

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user reviews of the Fox, Caterham

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Have been in a few times since the refurb in mid-February 2018. Am pleased to say that the new decor is pretty sympathetic and hasn't screwed the place up which seems the mission of may 'pubcos'. There are now two doors inside the building - one for bar and one for restaurant and also a partition dividing the two. The bar counter itself has been shortened by a few yards. All of which is fine, but the bar area seems to feel much smaller and gets crowded more easily; it would be wrong to call it claustrophobic but it is a bit more confined.

Other changes - some of the long time staff have moved on but have been replaced by people who mostly seem to know their stuff. As mentioned previously, the assistant manager Nuno is very likeable and is excellent front of house. I've revised my opinion of the manager, Adrian, who seems on reflection to lack people skills and is a man of petty rules. He also needs to learn that its very poor to admonish staff in front of their colleagues - let alone in front of customers which I've seen happen.

The three real fires remain and have been very welcome during the past few cold months.

Beer doesn't change much - usually Doombar, Harveys Sussex Best and London Pride. I don't normally like Pride, buts its pretty good in here, and the Harveys very drinkable as well - pricey though at more than £4.40 a pop which is high for a suburban pub. Even the fizzy keg cider (Cornish Orchard) is apparently £4.20. Real cider is Old Rosie.

Not tried the food, but apparently the menu is now the pubco's 'premium'. Shame that when the kitchen staff come into the bar area, their chef's whites are always grey and look dirty.

Having said all that, I do like place and its still - in my view - the best pub in area and most of the staff and punters are very likeable.

Not half.
on_the_brightside - 28 Apr 2018 17:48
At last, seems to be working again (for how long, who knows). So I can at last make this post about the Fox.

I've popped in here a few times the past couple of months and it seems much improved. The current manager (Adrian I think) is doing a decent job - he isn't necessarily hugely charismatic but seems to know what he's doing and is professional: qualities that have been missing in others over the recent years. But he still rosters too few staff from time to time. The newish assistant manager Nuno comes across as gregarious and likeable but since his arrival the manager has largely gone invisible.

Anyway, its far less of a push-chair park than it was (which I personally appreciate). This is perhaps because it much more dog friendly! There are pluses and negatives there. As with the children - parents who make them behave bring a pleasant atmosphere. Dog owners who don't take them outside when they start a barking frenzy don't do anyone any favours. Mostly though, dogs and owners are good. Its a bit surprising though too see them allowed everywhere in the restaurant - nut my cup of tea. Also some of the female stuff make a big petting fuss of them and then go back to serving. Seen lots of examples of this recently - the other day a muddy dog is getting a serious stroke and jumping up on the staff member who then heads into the kitchen right after. This is not a one-off and I won't be eating there anytime soon as a result. WASH YOUR HANDS!

Many of the staff are good too but a couple of the younger female cohort (Hannah and Katherine I think) are best at talking to each other and not knowing who is next to serve.

A test could be in February when word is its closing for a refurb - let's see what the pubco does. Hopefully it won't end up totally focussed on the food trade... And they could use the close down time for some basic staff training!

So, all in all, I'm happy popping in there - the pubside punters are a good and mixed bunch. So the Fox should focus on quality of bar service (after all these years...) and also avoiding the food screw ups which still seem to arise from time to time. In the meantime, I'd give it a six.

on_the_brightside - 13 Jan 2018 19:24
Marking this and the Tudor Rose the same and giving the same review.

Large barn like pubs in old buildings, modernised with some faux hint of the past, busy, foodie, so successful businesses.

Dull beer (Greene King type poo, Doom, Pride) and zero charm with nothing that I would expect a real pub to have in terms of ambience and fittings. Coulsdon you are welcome to them.
baggydave - 16 Apr 2016 19:48
Hey ho,

popped in a few times the past month or so. The pub doesn't deserve its silly low score that's for sure.

But its not really a pub - walk in during the mid-afternoon in the week and there are no pub customers and frequently no staff behind the bar. When there are staff they are very polite and some (especially Carol) very efficient.

Thing that gets me though is that it so often feels like a crèche. Prams everywhere, toddlers balanced on the bar or in front of fruit machines. I know that the licencing laws allow this but I'm old and miserable :-) aren't pubs mostly for adults?

I expect its me!

on_the_brightside - 1 Apr 2015 22:40
Large rambling pub on edge of Cousldon Common with beer garden. Always busy on fine weekends and bank holidays. Reasonable if uninspiring range of beer. I had London Pride which was in good condition. Large food menu, but I fear that Brake Brother's vans often call and much is microwaved. The staff are pleasant, but have difficulty coping when it is busy. It took nearly an hour for our food to arrive.
simontheeditor - 10 May 2014 15:01
This pub tends to get very busy. There are normally lots of people in at the weekend eating roasts so difficult to get a seat if you just want a drink. There are normally 3 real ales on tap. Quality is fine but beware this place is expensive.
julesbaby - 18 Dec 2013 11:01
Popped in a few times the past few months. Most of of those times (especially during day at weekends) there are way too many kinds, running round, being noisy. Its fine that pubs now allow kids but parents please take control of them. Service also continues to be poor - frequently no one behind the bar. All in all, doesn't feel like a pub any more.

on_the_brightside - 29 Sep 2013 19:55
Just potsing this as a test post as nothing seems to be new on the home page for almost a week. Is the site still alive? The 'contact us' doesn't seem to work.
on_the_brightside - 13 Nov 2012 21:16
Hmmm. I've been coming here off and on for many years and despite my sometimes negative posts I do have (for various reasons) a soft spot for this pub. But my past few recent visits have left me dispirited. A couple of the staff are good, but many aren't (the waitress in the low cut tops and push up bras needs to look in the mirror before going to work!) Some of the more 'historic' regulars are good but one sees fewer of them these days. Many though of the newer regulars are at the D/E end of the market - putting their small children on the bar, getting them to press the gambling machine buttons for them and so on. It just feels like a joyless place to grab a pint. Time to move on and find somewhere new to moan about.

Pippity pip pipp
on_the_brightside - 13 Sep 2012 22:03
It really is the service that lets this place down. Countless managers have run this place in the time I've been coming here and they can't all be be rubbish or wilfull so it must be the owners. The number of people I see walking out having got fed up waiting to be served is only increasing. The times I hear the staff tell punters that there is an hour (or whatever) to wait for food is only increasing. I don't know - I don't run pubs - but its a big place and it seems to me that its understaffed at peak times. The restaurant sits a load of people - is the kitchen staffed to deal with that capacity, does the menu have too many choices. Dunno. Would be very interesting to know how the owners view the endless stream of negative comment, perhaps their facebook page should link to Beerintheevening!

That said, its score should be higher - the truly horrible Kenley Hotel has a higher score which is clearly wrong.

on_the_brightside - 14 Feb 2012 21:34
For 24 years of my life I have lived in Caterham and for most of this time I have visit the fox on more than 100 occasions. After perseverance of the past few times I would like to say maybe I just picked a bad few days to visit the pub and try to eat. But after visiting on a day where there were virtually only 10 people in the pub and still received service this bad I will vow to never go to this pub again. After asking for food, the 'barman' tells me there not serving for another 20 minutes and then proceeds to serve other people. Fair enough so I go back up and when it's my turn to be served he then serves everyone else except me. Same old story, people wonder why pubs shut down and when people tell me the fox has, I don't even think I'll pretend to act surprised. RIP the fox, you've been a great pub in the past...
Daveyrodnez - 5 Feb 2012 13:55
Lovely location.

Nothing else positive to say I'm afraid. Great pub if you like to practice waiting for long periods and picking hair out of food.

If you need your patience tested, come along.

A great pub wasted.
dwinker - 15 Jan 2012 09:26
Having been to this pub a couple of times in the past.The first couple of time having good food and service,on the second visit we were served smaller than normal portioned this was rectified by the manager who refunded our money for that perticular dish.Then on our last visit we were served our starter which was soup that was cold then had a 50minute wait before we chose to leave the main because of the wait,which when questioned was told it was because there was a party of twenty being served.With seating for aprox 100.I would recommend that if there is less than twenty in there you are ok as the food is resonable,however if there is more than twenty i would go elsewere as they obviously cant cope,and when the staff was questioned,it appeared they didn't really care that we were leaving.
box - 7 Dec 2011 21:34
Having walked into the pub, one couple were being served at the bar, there were no other people waiting to be served. Whilst we were wating for the barman to finish serving them a group of 3 others walked in, they were obviously known to the barman. Instead of seving us (we had waited about 5 mins by this point as the barman also had to answer the phone)he served the people who walked in after us. We did not say anything as we did not want to cause any bad feeling. Meanwhile, another person came to the bar and beyond our belief the barman was going to serve him instead of us. My husband then shouted over our order and the barman served us first. There was no apology from the barman, he did not say please or thank you - we did despite the terrible service! We came to eat at The Fox but after such diabolicle service we had our drink and left. I could understand if the bar was busy but there were only 2 other couples in the pub when we arrived and both of them were seated with a drink. Therefore I find it inexcusable that the barman ignored us to serve evidently 'regular' customers and not to use any manners. We were planning to have pre-dinner drinks followed by a 2 course meal with wine - thankfully we were made very unwelcome before spending our money which enabled us to eat at The Tudor Rose where great hospitality and good manners were displayed at all times. Our visit to The Fox was beyond 'very poor'!!
becs25 - 2 Sep 2011 15:50
Large pub with an emphasis on food. A mecca for walkers and families. Food average, beer (Fullers IPA) average, staff pleasant. Not my sort of place but it is OK if you are on a walk and want a pit stop.
simontheeditor - 29 Aug 2011 20:05
Ah, "aceface". No need to apologise for suggesting that I'm an idiot. Just because someone doesn't share your view doesn't make them an idiot. Anyway, we now seem to have the same view so does that make you an idiot too? I'm sorry, I'm laughing at your expense, "Too easy", as an Australian might say. I wonder if the West Ham owner is still a fan. And, please, don't abuse the.....

Pippity pipp pipp :-)
on_the_brightside - 17 Jun 2011 21:41
What has happened here, I haven't been for a while but decided to pop in the other day, what a mess. After talking to a couple of locals I undersatnd that the previous manager left after being stabbed in the back by the assistant and apparently the area manager while on holiday, SHAME on them, you can really tell he is not there, the place has gone to pot, food not great, service is dire and very very slow by people that really couldnt give a damn,
If this is how the company look after there people, well Im glad I dont work for them.
I was told it was meant to be closing for a refurb, demolish the place and start again or bring back the old manager, who really seemed to care for the pub and the people that use it.
aceface100 - 14 May 2011 18:21
What has happened here, I haven't been for a while but decided to pop in the other day, what a mess. After talking to a couple of locals I undersatnd that the previous manager left after being stabbed in the back by the assistant and apparently the area manager while on holiday, SHAME on them, you can really tell he is not there, the place has gone to pot, food not great, service is dire and very very slow by people that really couldnt give a damn,
If this is how the company look after there people, well Im glad I dont work for them.
I was told it was meant to be closing for a refurb, demolish the place and start again or bring back the old manager, who really seemed to care for the pub and the people that use it.
aceface100 - 14 May 2011 18:21
Had a very enjoyable Sunday lunch here today. Food was pretty good (although it was not the most amazing pub food I've ever had, it was fresh, homemade and tasty - much better than the reheated fare you get in alot of chain pubs). Service was good - polite, fast and they sorted out a mistake in our order very efficiently with no issues. The pub also has a large beer garden, and the location is great for combining a pub lunch or a drink with a nice walk!

I'm surprised by the bad reviews on here - they nearly put me off going, but I decided to give it a shot since the location was so good for me. I'm glad I gave it a shot, and I will definitely visit the Fox again.
conina - 17 Apr 2011 19:54
This is definitely a place to avoid! My family (of 7) pre-booked a table for 1pm on Sunday, 23rd January. First off we ordered drinks and set up a tab. No cask ales only John Smiths - then when I ordered food they couldn't put the food on the same tab and had to set up another tab. Then there was confusion over the Sunday two courses off 9.99 deal and the main menu (we had a mixture of orders from both) which resulted in us being charged for two meals we didn't have. The starter arrived quickly but then had an hour wait for the main. There seemed a lot of staff and it wasn't terribly busy but the organisation was appalling. The food was Ok for the price/this sort of gastropub but certainly would pay more for better service. The newly vamped Tudor Rose is probably a better bet and we'll be going there next time. This is the second time I've had terrible service at the Fox (the first being in December) and will avoid from now on.
Colin64 - 23 Jan 2011 20:13
on the brightside & bright boy, what a couple of idiots, The Fox is the best pub around the area, great staff and a great manager, the pub has never been in better hands, the food is fantastic and so are the customers, apart from these two.
Would highly reccomend to anyone.
David Gold(owner of West Ham) also likes the place.
As for saying Val was better, well she was a great manager, but times change.

Pipp Bloody Pipp.
aceface100 - 16 Nov 2010 19:23
Good beer Good food good prices good service. Can't quite understand some of the comments on here. Sunday afternoon party of 7, although busy we managed to get a table and the food was served within 30 minutes. I've lived locally for 4 years and avoided the place because of the reviews and comments. Guess you can only be sure by trying it out. I'll be going again, and I'd have no problems recommending it to friends.
andc - 24 Oct 2010 22:55
Well. Cheerio Dan, a very witty chap who I'm sure will be missed when he moves on today - one of the few bar staff at this joint who is any good at all. Good luck in the new pub. That said, the Fox is worth more than its current 2.7 score, even with the Tudor dross who have now moved in. I'm sure it would go up overnight if it got a decent manager. Val would be better than the current chap.

on_the_brightside - 28 Aug 2010 20:27
Beautiful building, beautiful location. Could be a really excellent pub, but unfortunately has the worst service of any pub I have ever been to!

This is an opinion I have formed over many visits. Even when just going for a quick pint, the service can be bad. Long waits at the bar in an empty pub is just not good enough. Also, when asking what Wine is available, 'we've got loads' is not a particularly helpful answer!

The final straw came this weekend, at a family dinner (I had tried to warn the family off the Fox!). We ordered our meals and received our starters in reasonable time. My brother was late joining the party and ordered his food at around the time we received our starters. We then had a wait of nearly an hour for our main courses to arrive. My brother who ordered last actually received his main course about half an hour before the rest of the party!

Of the meals, two were a salmon fillet which was served raw in the middle. At this point we had had enough and called the manager over, who came to the table and apologised for the delay, and took the salmon dishes off the bill and gave a free round of drinks. Fair enough you might think.

When the replacement meals arrived, one was STILL raw in the middle! The waitress was extremely embarrassed and offered to fetch the manager again, whilst arranging for another replacement meal. The manager never came back to the table.

In all our meal took around 2 1/2 - 3 hrs for all the party to be finally fed.

When I went to pay the bill, I saw the manager at the bar and mentioned that we had to send one of the salmon back a 2nd time. In a classic example of customer service, he told me that he had checked them and they had been cooked perfectly! When I made my feelings about his pub and the service clear, he told me that he couldn't do anything as it was the chain that made the rules. I said I would write a letter to the head office and he basically told me that 'they get 100's of letters every day, they won't change things for just one pub'.

This pub is crying out for new owners who:
A) know how to run a pub.
b) can staff it properly.
c) have the slightest inkling of the definition of the term 'service'.

I will not be setting foot inside the door until the management is completely overhauled.
ianlazyboy - 12 Jul 2010 14:56
Not being a regular I can only say what I see and doesn't appear to be as made out below. Spitfire and Bombardier (perfectly acceptable) plus a guest currently Doom Bar although it wasn't on. Pump clips imply guest would be reasonably standard. Large pub catering for families on this Sunday afternoon.
GuideDogSaint - 4 Jul 2010 16:17
Bloody awfull place. Ready to be culled I reckon.
brightboy - 26 Jun 2010 08:30
dont like new menu but is ok, pub serves alcohol reasonably priced not too bad
grahammm - 10 Sep 2009 23:23
Still run by a bunch of non professionals
blobsplatt - 10 Jul 2009 12:32
Well 5 months have past and I notice a lick of paint and some semi new seating. We even have modern light fittings to swing off of. Try as they may M&B have missed the real problem with this much loved 'Local'. Get rid of the virtually non existant so called manager and put in someone who actually cares for the pub.
victor25 - 3 Mar 2009 18:49
Oh no. Oh no. Brewery butchery - redecoration balls up. The new colour scheme is poor - not actually bad - but the new lights!!! I'm no interior designer but you don't need to be Linley or Conran to realise that the new light system is totally out of keeping with the age and overall design of the building, Vandelism! Why do these people do it. I despair.

Oh yes, has anyone seen the manager recently? The real manager, not the chap who seems to stand-in (when not being overly affectionate with his girl friend who also works behind the bar)?

I wish there was a decent pub vaguely nearby but I'm not going back to this one - makes you wish Watneys still exised and ran pubs - okay that's an exaggeration. No one wants Watneys and the infamous Red Barrel but you know what I mean. You do know don't you - even postmen know.

on_the_brightside - 16 Feb 2009 21:09
Well I got a few thngs to say abart the place. First off me and my mates love the place. We dont get no assle from the bar staff coz they know who to serve first - we treet them rite and they treat us rite. Their is a distinct lack of crumpet up there except when the skools chuck out and then ya get the secondry skool teechers coming in mid afternoon to get larrupped along with all the rest of us - although they are pretty snooty and try to keep themselves to themselves, the femails cant help but give us the nod to say they are up for a bit of the old pork sword (lite size bites) once the shampain takes its effect and the inhibishuns start to loosen if ya know what I mean!!

On some days of the week when we are sobah we have pikey races across the car park with the pony and traps. No charge for the enjoyment althow ya might find ya pockets a little lighter once ya get near the bar.

Look out for all our 'working vans' evry afternoon around three until late and if ya have anything ya want to sell at a cheep rate we can usually do a deel.

The pub does duff food and warm beer but then most of us live in caravans in and around so its a home from home. The karzies are well rank so we rather do it against the walls outside or across the fields if we need a bit of pryvacy as we do with all the birds - larf . Be lucky and well see you all soon.

themargatekid - 26 Oct 2008 19:20
As much as I find it a real shame that this pub has gone so downhill and dislike the demeanour, language, behaviour, etc of some of its customers I do have to take issue with some of capet_burnss comments. Yes, some of the customers are working class and some do have manual jobs so what? This is a pub for goodness sake it should be able to welcome anyone not based on their class or job those factors shouldnt come into it and carpet_burns should regret his or her snobbery. What matters is how people are, how they behave and act and too many of the customers are at the daggy end of the market. As for the people in the corner they have been regulars for many years (would have been there three years ago thats for sure) and they are fine in my experience.

That said, there arent many pubs where you can watch one of the regulars who is wheelchair bound and suffers (I guess) from severe cerebral palsy drinking pints of Stella through a straw.

I find it a depressing shame this place is a great size, has good architecture and is in a nice spot it could easily be a tremendous place to visit with some investment and most importantly the right owners and managers and staff.

on_the_brightside - 25 Oct 2008 14:31
Well I came back here after my three year stint out of the UK and couldn't believe my eyes!! The place is filthy, the toilets are third world ... (believe me I know), the service is rank, the beer is warm or non existent, the food is on a par with the toilets! As for the clientele, well where do you start? To be frank, a vast array of low class manual tradesmen, lorded over by some lardy geriatric in the corner whose sole aim seems to be to intimidate strangers who make the mistake of coming here - especially those with young children. I've known this pub for year and years. I only wish to win the lottery, offer the brewery three quid to take it off their hands and reopen it in the old style of customer is king, get the customers back and make myself a mint. Watch this space.
carpet_burns - 24 Oct 2008 18:49
Oh dear,oh dear.
What has happened to this once wonderful pub. It seems people are deserting in droves. Food is now very poorly cooked and 'warm'. The toilets are a discrace ( how eviromental health haven't closed it down beats me).
few staff, low stock of beer is common place,and the regulars are leaving a sinking ship. Once my local choice, NOT again till M&B get their act together.
victor25 - 23 Oct 2008 18:35
Oh well, all things come to an end. I really can't bring myself to go back to this pub. Great building, nice spot but the customer base of regulars has gone down the pan. It is a depressing place to visit these days. Customers whose loud humour is extraordinarily vulgar and those who think its fine to eff and cee all the time at full volume. As for the staff, they don't seem to care.

No wonder the place tends to be near empty most of the time. Its sad that so many pubs close so regularly but in the case of some its easy to see why no one wants to go there.

A great shame.

Pipp pippp
on_the_brightside - 1 Oct 2008 20:14
Well, another new manager installed. Hard to tell what happened to the last one but I've heard the words, "...under a cloud...", used a few times.

At least the new chap makes an effort to throw out the Chinese chap who is regularly in glogging bootleg DVDs - he was welcomed by the previous encumbant.

Sadly, the customer base seems to be changing. Weekend luchtimes its the usual family and badly behaved kids but other times the old regulars seem to be getting outnumbered by what are best described as wannabe hardmen.

Oh well, society and all that.

Pippp. Pipp.
on_the_brightside - 4 Jun 2008 22:54
I am completely gutted to read all these scathing reports on this pub. I worked there back in 2004 for a year, while I was preparing to move. Back then it was a fantastic place to eat.. all be it that the food
was all pre-packed bought in / frozen etc... as is the norm with these branded chains..

OK from a chefs point of view it was only ever a tempory job.. But trust me, I would never have stayed for a year had things been anything like what I am reading about it now.

All I hope is that things change pretty fast..
Heavy_metal_Chef - 25 Apr 2008 12:40
Possibly the worst fish & chips I've ever had. Tartare sauce had 'turned', peas didn't taste of any kown vegetable and the chips were foul. God only knows how a pub can mess that up.

Been twice - and the only reason is because it's halfway through a popular Time Out country walk. A pile of rubble would have a better atmosphere - so we can only hope the next big hurricane in Englad finds it;s way to The Fox.
andylizard - 2 Feb 2008 17:47
Ate there recently for the first time in ages and really wished I hadn't. The temperature of the food on my plate ranged from molten to just thawed. Absolutely awful. As was the service at the bar. Beer was distinctly average also. Best avoided.
Old_Caterhamian - 21 Jan 2008 16:36
This place used to serve lovely food last summer. Today (3rd Jan 08) we had to send all three lunches back as all the side orders were wrong. Once we had the right meals, our lettuce was old, limp and yellow, the brie melt was only slightly melted on the outside and cold and hard on the middle and the prime Scottish beef was charred to death. Again they were reurned. After several attempts at rectifying this and all eating at different times, we were given a refund. Our waiting staff were very apologetic and helpful, taking the flak from all four tables in our section who were were complaining.

I do hope the kitchen staff responsible make a swift exit so that we may enjoy this pub again next summer.
fireman45 - 3 Jan 2008 15:23
It was shut the other week but is open now. Just had a pint in it. No idea what they've done to it, if anything, looks the same as ever, same Vintage Inn mediocrity you get all over the country
nickdavies - 29 Nov 2007 21:53
If you enjoy waiting for 10 minutes to order a drink even when it's not busy then this is the pub for you!

A while ago having been coerced into meeting friends for lunch, despite my protests that the food is awful, I remain resolutle that I shall never be coerced again, untill there is a MAJOR MAJOR change that is.

My girlfriends mashed potato tasted of flour, the batter of my toad in the hole was not cooked, yet the sausage was tougher than my boots!

I've just been told it's been closed for refurbishement. GOOD! I just hope it is a comprehensive refurbishment starting with the management and menu.
I_Love_Food - 16 Nov 2007 16:00
A long wait for food, which when it turned up was edible but not terribly hot. The place was understaffed, and the youngsters barely able to cope. Atmosphere wasn't too bad. I wouldn't say it merits such a low rating as others have given it. Not spectacularly good, but then not spectacularly bad.
thebunster - 6 Nov 2007 20:20
I have lived near this pub for my whole life, and very very rarely use it due to the problems already listed.

The food is poor and expensive.
The staff don't seem to be old enough to drink alcohol, let alone serve it.
There is always a queue, always!

However I made the mistake of breaking my own rule on Friday and popped in for a quick lunch. Lucky me, since then I have had the most horrific bout of food poisoning I have had since.... 10 years ago when I made the same mistake and ate at the Fox!

Just don't go there - it has no redeeming features at all!
Pussycat1977 - 4 Nov 2007 21:21
I heard a rumour that things had improved, so thought that I'd give it another try last Bank Holiday Monday. Knowing that it might be a touch busy, I wandered in late afternoon looking for a few pints, and maybe something to eat. I should have known better! There were 6 or 7 very fed up looking people queuing to order food, but no sign of any staff remotely interested in taking their orders. There were 2 very young bar staff trying to cope with the massed ranks of people waiting patiently for a drink. I realise that a Bank Holiday was probably not the best time to try this pub again, but surely the Management expected a few extra customers? Quickly calculating that it would take about 20 mins to get served, I wandered straight out again. Don't think that I'll bother again.
CountryBoy - 2 Sep 2007 10:33
I have just moved from Caterham Valley to the Hill and whilst I refuse to eat in the area due to the usual "frozen pub menu", It always amazes me how busy this place is!!!
The food is absolutely terrible! The service leaves alot to be desired and I always leave feeling disappointed!
I have heard a rumour that The Caterham Arms has a new owner and is pursuing the Gastro route with a top chef? AND that they are completely changing the whole feel of the place??? If this is true, they should be congratulated as there is nothing round here that encourages you to eat out!!!
PeterW - 24 Aug 2007 21:52
Went in here the other day. Glad to see the reliable regulars still in place but seems a new landlord has been installed. Jury out I'd say, but doesn't look like Mr Charisma.

Yet more kids in the bar - why do some parents think its okay to sit their three year old on the bar while they are ordering their Stella and why don't the bar staff tell them not to?

A bit disconcertingly though, it seems to be turning a bit chavvy - would be a shame.

on_the_brightside - 18 Jun 2007 22:13
This pub has the potential for so much more. My three main criticisms of the place:
(a) there is virtually always a queue at the bar (i.e. more than 1 person in front of you)
(b) the food is overpriced for what it is. I ordered the most expensive steak there but when it turned up the server said "who ordered the asparagus?" since the steak was SO SMALL it was hidden under a ton of asparagus!
(c) the place is run by kids, which is ok when they have good management/leadership which is obviously lacking.

anonymous - 13 Jun 2007 17:20
Having been a relief manager at this pub I totally agree with bigchair. The decent regulars of any pub keep the spirit alive as well as bringing in a regular income for the pub. Stop having a go at people who support the pub and have a go at the inconsiderate parents that are unable to keep their children under control. Pubs are not a playground for children.
anonymous - 1 Apr 2007 17:34
Being one of the "regulars" I would like to say this is a very typical pub with smokers in the front bar keeping the old fires alight. Many would say they are "old men" with little else to do but put the world to rights but come over and join in the conversation - you will find us very friendly especially if you enjoy the odd game of golf or two!! We have a regular Fox Golf Society run by several of the lads and yes they can be rowdy but at least there is still life in the old fox yet....
bigchair - 27 Mar 2007 22:54
For Countryboy who reviewed 01/01/07. Try the King & Queen in Caterhan-on-the-Hill Vilage. Has car park & lets dogs in!!!!! also serves food with Fullers ESB.
blobsplatt - 10 Feb 2007 07:33
I still can't believe people are complaining! I was there again last Sunday, the food was as always delicious, we only waited about 20 mins for it, and the staff were pleasant, not over friendly but certainly not rude. I have taken many friends to this pub in the 2 years since i moved to Caterham and every single one has been impressed.
caspar - 6 Feb 2007 15:02
This a curious anomaly in the area. Its a fine building - has impressive open fires and good (if the suburban equivalent) walking territory on its door step. But. I've never seen the manager (the large lady mentioned by others) pull a beer behind the bar - altough often seen drinking tea/coffee with the ten or so regulars in their corner. The staff are always understaffed and mostly have a curious disdain for smiling, curteous service: not rude, just eye-contact-avoiding with the dim, "are you alright there" approach (when they eventually look at you) rather than the welcoming, "Hello, what can I get you". All the management's fault. That said, the two Polish (I think) barmaids can be charming and the barman Tom (again I think) is okay. The English barmaids are appalling and more interested in talking among themselves and the waitresses. The other barmen are charmless.

As I say, curious. Could be a gem. The customers are okay (apart from screaming and wheely wearing kids and a few very very odd blokes) and it clearly makes a mint on the formula food it serves. Better than many other's nearby though.

on_the_brightside - 4 Feb 2007 20:11
I went here once last summer with my dogs and ate in the garden (they don't let dogs inside). It should have been lovely. Food was okay. But had to ask for water for the dogs (it came after about an hour and my asking three times). I had to ask for a knife and fork (again about 15 minute wait) to eat my meal with. Eventually got a smile and pleasant word from the barmaid after huge effort on my part at being super friendly in the face of a lot of cursory-ness.

About to do a walk in the area so called to check lunch serving hours. Glad I did. Apparently they don't serve food in the garden in winter. So because they don't let dogs inside this means I can't eat there.

Is it me or is there something a bit petty and uncustomer friendly to refuse to serve a meal in the garden if someone is willing to eat out there?
malcolmm - 4 Feb 2007 18:36
I love this pub. The food is delicious, i have never had a bad meal here. Occasionally I've had to wait about half an hour for food but what do you expect on a busy sunday?! The staff are friendly and the whole atmosphere is great. I think most of you are either very hard to please or in a different pub!
caspar - 27 Jan 2007 15:29
What we might want to get our heads around is that it was 'cheap ready prep'd bought in dross' in 2001/2002 and for years before that, on account of it being a Vintage Inn. Look it was shite then, OK it's shiter now but it will never get back to better than shite as long as M&B have anything to do with it. Just give it 0 marks and move on.
nickdavies - 13 Jan 2007 20:00
Had a few pints in there New years Day, Beer was o.k.
Staff rushed off their feet and i also noticed the Landlady dossing in the corner as a previous poster noted.
I also noted a few very annoyed diners who had been waiting for ages for food, a few of who complained to the unfortunate & embarrassed staff.

Think the place survives on reputation and a few regulars.
anonymous - 4 Jan 2007 20:43
Used to visit this pub regularly with friends, sometimes for a few pints, but often for a meal as well. On the last few occasions (Saturday afternoons & evenings) we left after one drink, as there was only 1 stressed person serving behind the bar, and he was also trying to deal with the queue of people waiting to order meals. There didn't seem to be anyone around to help out, and there doesn't seem to be any 'management' whatsoever. I take the previous point regarding this being a Vintage Inn, and will also take the advice to go somewhere else. I hope things improve - it used to be a decent watering hole.
CountryBoy - 1 Jan 2007 18:12
PS Forgot to mention I found the staff condescending too. The young man behind the bar was particularly disdainful in his treatment of me.
janedent - 8 Dec 2006 23:42
I visited The Fox with a walking group. I had my dog with me. I'd forgotten to bring food for the dog, so I asked the waitress if the kitchen would cook a couple of sausages for the dog (which I would of course pay for). I had to ask 3 times before she remembered to ask the kitchen staff. Then she came out and said yes, they would. I'd been saving a bit of my dinner for the dog in case they said no, but at that point I finished my my own meal. 5 minutes later she came back out and said the kitchen had changed their mind and the only way my dog could have food was if I ordered a full meal for it. I felt really annoyed at their meanness. I had to order a full meal for the dog and throw most of it away as the dog would only eat the meat. I later wrote to the pub and said that since our group had spent in the region of 250 that lunchtime, they could have shown a bit of goodwill and done a couple of sausages for the dog. They didn't reply. I'd been planning to take a second group there, but have decdied I won't take a group there again. I found their behavious mean-spirited.
janedent - 8 Dec 2006 23:39
I have since been back to this pub it has improved slightly. However still bad!! long wait for a drink!! food bit better> Staff still Rude!
cookie24 - 8 Nov 2006 15:16
Yes it's very busy place on Sundays, yes you have to wait but then aren't most food pubs. We have found the food to be good in the main although I think the rare fillet steak was a lot smaller than described. I wasn't aware that this pub advertises that it's child friendly. I have seen a lot of kids running about unsupervised which is dangerous when hot food is being served. There are plenty of places to eat on Sundays where entertainment is provided for children. A lot of people want to have a nice meal without being disturbed by screaming misbehaved kids.
anonymous - 24 May 2006 15:16
Oh for crying out loud it's a Vintage Inn. What on earth do you lot expect?
nickdavies - 8 May 2006 23:01
This place gets so busy for food it's unreal - you should see the queues on Sundays for their roast lunch! Unfortunately this means long waiting times. So get there early (i.e. before 12.30pm) to make sure you get the table you want plus your food order in early. Sadly I don't fully understand why it is so popular. I agree with the previous comments re. children-friendliness. They have a kids menu but sometimes they don't bother to print it up so you have to ask. They also get really stressed out if children are walking around the pub with their parents - because it's 'not safe'.... but then there is no climbing frame and the outside space is just picnic tables so I wonder what else you're meant to do with little ones while waiting the 30 mins it takes to get your food? There are only a couple of high chairs so there's never enough to go around all the families. The serving staff always seem really stressed out. Once a nearly-crying waitress told us that 'management don't care about how few staff there are to serve the customers'. Recently I saw a waitress shouting - literally - at some customers because they had chosen to sit in the beer garden and the waitress couldn't find them to give them their food.... errrr.... customer is always right?! The food is okay, all bought in from caterers allegedly, and is a hearty menu which changes quite often. But they can't change any of the items on the menu (e.g. can't have the panini without the onion) and also only one veggie option which is pretty unenlightened these days. Having said all this, the interior is attractive and homely, there are very few decent pubs in the area so we will definitely be going again.... just with only average expectations.
anonymous - 19 Apr 2006 16:01
nice setting food just ok very much a chain pub
ickle_donkey - 15 Mar 2006 19:06
New Management - Review pending
anonymous - 11 Mar 2006 15:57
You would think lookin at this pub from outside that it is a friendly country boozer with friendly staff and great food, How wrong you can be!!
The staff when I was there were rude and ignorant, I had dinner there and ordered the beef and ale pie expecting to be loaded full of meat, it was more like a pastry pie with one bit of meat on discovering this I asked if it would be possible to have some Gravy a reasonable request you might think? I was told that they only make Gravy at the weekends so no!!! I questioned this only to be told that it is pub policy to only make gravy at the weekend. This pub could be great if they got rid of all their staff a better chef and basically started again!!
cookie24 - 1 Sep 2005 11:05
Good location, just off happy valley, so great when you've been for a walk and need a beer. I have to agree with the first comment and it could be so much better. Not a bad food menu, quite a large variety and they have kids menu as well. Slightly on the expensive side for what you get, but you won't leave feeling that you've been ripped off. They have recently updated the garden area, but not by much. They have kept the old tables and have adjusted the regimented rows slightly by having a separate eating area. I think this may have been more for the benefit of the waitress's than anything else!! They do have a kids menu and it looks like they want to be a family pub/restaurant, but don't bring the kids for the garden area. There is absolutely nothing in the garden for children. Not even a swing. This means that children just end up charging around the grounds, trying to climb broken trees and end up completely bored.

This is how I would rate:

Choice of Beers 6
Location 7
Food 6
Value 5
Garden 3

Chris - 29 Sep 2004 10:52
A Vintage Inn sadly, so a palace of mediocrity. Useful for the location
by the common so one mark for that.
Nick - 17 Aug 2004 13:12
Big eaterie with large garden devoted to aging tables lined up in regimented rows. Beer poor. Popular with under 5s
lout_from_the_lane - 10 Aug 2004 13:55

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