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Bickley, Chislehurst

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user reviews of The Bickley, Chislehurst

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

Visited recently and was surprised that they had a decent range of guest ales on tap, long may this continue. It was very busy and perhaps not enough staff on parade. But to be fair it was much busier than normal. Plenty of people were eating and it is clear to see that a lot of money has been spent on upgrading this pub. Perhaps it is more comfortable during the summer months when the garden can be used. But overall a much better effort.
Dynamo1 - 18 Dec 2014 12:39
Call this a Pub?! There is nothing on tap here. Nothing. You can buy bottled beer for about £5 a bottle (330ml) or you can have wine, which is clearly the type of place that this place tries to be. Problem is the wine list is nothing special.

Pop in for a casual drink during an evening in the week and you'll be asked to leave at around 9.30 - the place is not generating enough money to pay for staff twiddling their thumbs. This place is empty.

Food is as overpriced as the beer, and the wine, and slightly more disappointing. Picture simply asking for some chips, and then getting about 1/4 as much as you would anywhere else, in a little metal bucket. Why? Just ...why? The rest of the menu? Same kind of things apply.

This place aims to be a Gastro pub and its dressed up as one, but it has nothing to offer.
muiramas - 2 Dec 2012 11:08
I can only agree with the views already stated.4 of us went for lunch on a Monday .Only 4 other customers in the restaurant & 2 at the bar.
Beautiful day so down to the "new garden area"!!!.immediately noticed that no form of maintenance on the "furniture" if you can call it that rickety wooden seats many parts broken even 4in nails sticking out.
Took my grandson to play in the Wendy house"falling to bits" very dangerous.
Food was ok but no beers or lagers on draught.Paid £5 for a bottle of beer UNBELIEVABLE.
Bill had 12.5% service charge automatically added !!!!
it is becoming more noticeable that establishments thet go from Pub to "Gastro-pub" crank up the prices & offer v poor quality in return.
Worryigly found an additional credit card charge on my Mastercard statement at the end of the month.THIS WAS MADE AFTER I LEFT WITHOUT ME BEING PRESENT !!! CURRENTLY BEING "INVESTIGATED" WATCH THIS SPACE FOR UPDATE
cheguevara - 1 Oct 2012 16:42
We spent Christmas Day at the Bickley Arms paying £85 a head. Four adults and two children. The experience was a great disappointment. The funiture was rickety - we saw one chair collapse under a not very large man and all of our chairs wobbled. The children's first course consisted of three cheap sausages - not top of the range sausages but more like frozen Wall's sausages. The main course was disappointing in that the potatoes tasted like ones we used to have at school and the turkey wa clearly carved off a prepared roll of meat ad not a proper turkey. The vegetables were ok but that was about it. The deserts were ok although one consisted of only cream from a can and was far too sweet. The children's "desserts" were one smal lump of vanilla ice cream - all for £85!! The coffee was lukewarm.

The service was slow and despite asking for the bill three times, the maitre d' seemed far more interested in flirting with a group of four young women thn actually getting the bill. It eventually came after 20 minutes and that was an hour after the dessert had been served.

The "pub" is no such thing - grossly over priced, over decorated with second rate beer, third rate food and a fourh rate attitude to customer service.

Avoid...
mithrandir1967 - 28 Dec 2011 14:55
I was taken here as a Fathers day treat, by my son (aged 2 1/2). My wife only booked it during the week of Fathers day, so when she was told that the Sunday was fully booked (now doubtful given other reviews and our experience…) we went on the Saturday instead. Friends had recommended the Bickley to us, (who are “Foodies”) so we had thought it would be nice…

On arrival, three people ignored us. Firstly, by the barman, then a waiter and then a waitress. It just made us feel like a nusence. What price a smile? Not a great start. After walking into the restaurant and announcing that we had booked to the waitress that had ignored us we were then shown to a table.

We ordered two Bucks Fizz’s and an Apple juice.

The Food

My son had boiled eggs and soldiers – Fine!

My Wife had the smoked cod fishcake. It was a large ball of smoked cod that was not cooked well, as it was stodgy in the middle. It seemed to us that something that big could not be cooked through properly if the outside was not to be incinerated, and so it proved. Side of Green salad.

I had the Rump Steak ‘Fillet Cut’ steak. I ordered it medium rare, but it came grey ¾ the way through and raw in the middle. It seemed to me that it was cooked when still chilled too much from the fridge, so while it felt like Medium rare, it was actually overcooked/raw. Chips were nice, but the side of beans/cabbage seemed a bit mean.

With hind site I should have complained, but as it was a treat from my Son (Wife) so I kept quiet. (Regretted later)

For Pudding I ordered the summer pudding that was also disappointing. It was tiny, dry and accompanied by clotted cream and three small dabs of fruit. It was just way to dry, as a dish with no juice. I sent it back.

My wife and son both had ice cream that was nice.

Service

While the waitress and waiter we had were pleasant enough, the manager/bloke in a suit walked around un-smilingly, ignoring everyone. I didn’t see him speak to anyone, staff or patrons. I made a point of looking at him on three occasions, nothing! Now if you are going to charge what they do, the least I would expect is a smile. I think you can do that for free, but it does take a bit of thought. Having sent the summer pudding back I would have expected the manager to come and enquire as to what the issue was, but nothing!

Bill

The bill arrived correct except the summer pudding was still included. When this was mentioned to the waiter he immediately agreed to remove it (and by now less than impressed) I curtly tolled him to take the 10% service charge off. This he did and promptly brought the new correct bill back, and I paid the £70.

On the day they were not busy, six tables max. The interior décor is what I would call crass/flash and coupled with the iffy service and under welling food makes for a disappointing experience.

Summery

Don’t bother!

Un-solicited Advice…

Don’t spend loads on hideous décor; get someone in the Kitchen who cares what leaves it and front of house, welcome people and Bloody Smile! … oh and sort the leaking roof wile your at it!
MatthewC - 19 Jun 2011 10:20
A great shame...

I have a lot of respect for the abilities of the management team as they have turned this place around over the last few years but I do think Terry (the owner) has taken his 'grand plan' one step too far.

The recent refurbishment does (in some ways) say 'quality' but the new and overwhelming emphasis on food and the restaurant totally alienates any one with a young family. And the number of conversations I've had with other young parents endorses this view. Before the refurbishment my wife and I would go along to the Bickley for a couple of drinks/meal every couple of weeks and we take our kids on a sunday once a month. The restaurant, which was already quite pricey for gastro-type food is now more expensive and absolutely child UNfriendly. Despite claiming to cater for children this is clearly not the case, either in their approach to children, or, more importantly the menu, How many 2-10 year olds want to eat a selection of fine english cheeses? And what happened to the simple food?

This is just my view of course but I know several other couples who feel let down by the new strategy (and I have even heard strangers discussing the same thing at a railway station) to the point where they won't now go to the pub. I must admit I am beginning to feel the same way. We were quite loyal to this pub but it can't even cater (or even tolerate children, in terms of facilities) then its loses my loyalty and will have to win it back. Really sorry to write this but I want the policy to be carefully re-considered.

The pubs biggest problem used to be a high turnover of bar staff and those they employed were all youngsters who had no interest in working there. The waitresses in the restaurant were more friendly.

I haven't read most of the below reviews to avoid being swayed but I would agree that the clientele they should be looking to harness is the 25-45 range and not:

a) the younger crowd that hangs around the outside making the place look slightly unsavoury.....

b) the 50+ age bracket ie those who's families have grown up and left the family nest.

I wait in hope, but for now I have no interest in going back to the Bickley. In the meantime there are two other pubs in the area that certainly do entertain the idea of a family dining experience and do it well.


Jem10 - 13 Mar 2011 17:52
A group of us went for a meal to the Bickley a couple of weeks ago and although a nice time was had by all I must confess that I found the experience a bit lacking in taste..

Credit where credit's due - the new look is lovely. Congratulations to the owner for actually recognising that bringing in a professional designer and doing the place up properly is worth the effort. Although the decor will begin to look dated quite quickly, hopefully the owner will keep reviewing that and won't let the look go stale.
I also liked the logo/signage/graphics and the colours - very stylish. There are areas where it goes a bit too far (ie. the way the menu pricing is written, which is a bit passé in design terms) but generally it's a huge, huge improvement on what the place used to be like!

The minus points.. The food, although it looked good, seemed to be somewhat lacking taste-wise. We started with nibbles which were lovely, but none of us enjoyed our main course as much as we'd expected, lack of natural flavour & seasoning being the main complaints. I had the chicken, which was slightly overcooked & a bit dry, with potatoes that lacked seasoning and crushed broad beans with pesto. But where was the pesto? Was so subtle that I couldn't taste it. Or someone downstairs had forgotten it.

Another main sampled was the fish & chips, which was all a bit limp, and the fishcake main with samphire was also deemed to be lacking in flavour.
For dessert the pineapple tarte tatin was okay, but the ice-cream, supposedly coconut and lime? I think! Again - couldn't taste it. The caramel from the tarte tatin drowned out any flavour there. (And please don't think that my palate is geared to over-flavoured, processed foods as this is definitely not the case - I cook from scratch with natural ingredients daily & never eat processed or over-seasoned foods. And I wasn't drinking alcohol that night either!)

The staff were polite but didn't smile, and the female staff looked like WAG wannabees.. and as the night went on the place began filling up with over-confident, loud men who obviously fancied their chances with themf!

So, all in all - okay - and the prices were okay, I think, but for me, just a tad lacking in taste, generally.

Unlikely I'd go back but I'd say that if you think that the height of good taste is having a 4x4 with a private number plate spelling out your name or initials, then this is the place for you! ;)
CMOr - 26 Apr 2010 13:34
The Bickley is no longer a pub, more of a restaurant really. Me and a couple of girlfriends were enjoying a drink in the so called bar area but after sitting down for 10mins the barman came over and slapped a piece of paper down on to our table saying RESERVED and said we had to move in 20 mins. I get the impression that if your not eating, you aren't welcome. We left when our time was up as we didn't want to stand all evening.
chislehurstkent - 15 Mar 2010 16:21
Went to The Bickley with my Dad for our Xmas get together. The interior is a transformation - a lot of money has been spent on this fine old building - and it looks superb. It had just gone mid-day when we arrived and was already quite busy, but the young bar staff were very friendly, and the service was good. Food was nice, and the portions generous - all be it a little pricey, and my pint of Bombardier was slightly lacklustre. Would like to see a few more REAL ALES on tap too - given there appeared only to be a couple. All things considered though - this pub is a BIG improvement on its former self. Am pleasantly surprised to have to eat my words on this one.
trottis - 29 Dec 2009 01:20
We booked our wedding reception here. The rooms were beautiful and the staff lovely. Nothing was too much trouble. The room however, got moved around a bit with rooms becuase of a larger funcation, but as there was no hireage charge we were understanding. We did a test run of the food which was really nice, a little pricey, however, for such a special occassion we thought it was worth it. On the actual day the food and service were excellent and venue everything we hoped. However, on the down side the food portions were really small and nothing like what we were promised hence there was not enough to go round. To make matters worse when we paid for the bill at midnight we were overcharged almost £200. We took this up with Terry the manager but 4 months on are still waiting for an explanation so looks like a refund was a nice tip for him!
Claire001 - 6 Oct 2009 02:24
Went here on a Sunday afternoon, and no word of a lie:

- The three Sunday newspapers available were the Telegraph, the Times, and the Daily Mail.

- The most popular dish appeared to be Oysters on ice

- There was a man hanging around in a cream coloured suit with braces and a matching hat (admittedly the hat was sitting on the bar, not on his head, that would be improper indoors!).

If Wyoming is Marlboro Country, this is Conservative Country.


topdog_andy - 14 Sep 2009 23:26
This pub is so much better than it used to be, Terry has done a brilliant job turning it into the best pub locally. We use it as a local and for food.
Been to a function here in the private room and it was excellent, a friend had a birthday party here (didn't know the room existed), service was good, food excellent, atmosphere even better.

The food is superb - though not cheap -you get quality in both the pub and the restaurant.
The garden is delightful and the roof marquee works really well. I disagree with previous post, I have never seen any aggravation or football yobs here, the customers are a sociable, gregarious bunch, well mannered etc.
There is a new manager, Mark who has taken over who looked after us well and seems a good sort.
Only one serious complaint, the temperature. This has to be the hottest restaurant and pub I have ever been in. Unbearable. 90% of the punters are outside - guess why. After one recent visit, friends who were regulars have said they wont come back to the restaurant until autumn. It needs fans and air conditioning. Otherwise well done.
chislehurst_chap - 8 Aug 2009 11:02
Popped in over the Bank holiday weekend for a drink with some friends but the place was full of rowdy Millwall geezers!
BR72009 - 26 May 2009 13:32
Went here for a friends engagement party last month and had a really good evening. Its so much bigger than we expected and the new refurb is amazing. Me and my husband havent been for years and were bowled over with the transformation. We entered through our own entrance away from the pub and had the party in the new room upstairs. Interior decor was fantastic and the staff were extremely helpful. We ate finger buffet food provided by the hosts, it was fresh and tasty. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. We didnt realise they concentrated so much on private events. Planning to book mums 60th this year and would recommend having a quick look.
sophiemill - 11 Apr 2009 12:46
Nice place to have a drink, shame there is never anywhere to sit down as the bar area has shrunk. Will re-visit in the summer when the beer garden is open.
Chislehurst - 6 Apr 2009 11:47
My husband took me to this pub for my Birthday a few sunday's ago, and we were very pleased with everything from food to decour, to staff.
The sunday roasts were absolutely sublime, i had the Pork Belly and my husband had the beef, very generous helpings and after 3 courses we were stuffed to the brim.
Our waitress was young but was very polite, chatty and couldnt do enough for us, they forgot to put a yorkshire pudding on my husbands plate, so when he asked them for one, they brought him a plate with an extra 3 to make up for their mistake, he only managed to eat two though.
Overall a great pub with great staff and lovely food, a little more expensive than most but the difference in quality speaks for itself, so therefore i dont mind paying a bit extra, as it's totally worth it.
We will definitely be going back soon and would reccommend this pub to everyone!
BobbyMont - 9 Feb 2009 11:11
A vast improvement on what was there before, but all a bit dull - perhaps there are too many tables, it's just not quite right.
Dynamo1 - 6 Feb 2009 09:18
Bucking the credit crunch trend with an upmarket menu and prices to match. £13.50 is the cheapest Sunday lunch. Outside still has rubbish skips, and not sure if they've actually finished the refurb. Food better than average, but nopt sure it's quite worth the 50% hike ovver normal pubs prices. Service very good but had I known they would automatically apply the 10% service charge on top

I would not have sat down - I personally think this is an insult to customers, and that we should be left to tip, without having it deducted beforehand.
It's close to some very expensive properties, so I suppose they can get away with the prices - I think its more gastropub than boozer, but not sure if the food is really worth the extra. Quite a few kids in when we were there and a bit noisy.

Probably wouldn't go back straight away due to prices - I think there are better places to spend £60 on a meal rather than a pub and the cost doesn't quite justify the food. If you're rich enough not to care, then you'll probably love the place.


lobster56 - 1 Feb 2009 16:13
Good refurb, nice place to stop off for a drink. Only 2 gripes; my simple cocktail took forever to make (but at least I got to sit down and the barman brought it over) and I had the 1/2 lobster and chips for £25 which wasn't worth it (had better for less). They do bar food now at reasonable prices so I will definitely revisit and give that a try. Large garden for the summer.
pubgoer200 - 8 Jan 2009 15:45
More of a gastro pub feel to the place since the referb. Nice relaxed atmosphere on Saturday afternoon. Bar staff were pleasant and cheery. Didn’t sample the beer personally as was driving, but was told it was good. Will definitely give it another go.
mrse1 - 11 Aug 2008 10:40
A huge amount of work has been put into revamping this place and with great success. We visited one warm summer evening to find a huge, spacious beer garden, atmospherically lit, which grew popular as the evening progressed. Inside it's very open, perhaps with a little bit too much room.

The food is on the expensive side but the quality backs up the heftier price tags, which is a nice surprise in an area where pubs are not known for their high-quality fare.

The staff are friendly enough, no cause for complaint even if one or two youngsters seemed a little inexperienced - this happens everywhere.

Goes to show what considered time and money can actually do for a place if the right changes are made. Will be going back.
box_twenty - 11 Aug 2008 01:13
We visited the The Bickley (as it has been renamed) on Sunday. The beer was well kept although unfortunately, only Bombardier was on and no sign of any other hand pump ales. There was 12 in our party and the food was on first impressions on the expensive side (compared with other pubs in the area) but the size of the portions and the quality made it very apparent why this was the case. We will definitely be visiting again.
davetheaddick - 14 Jul 2008 16:01
We visited this pub yesterday for sunday lunch. We had a table for 11 of us already booked. The venue itself is nicely decorated and very clean and welcoming. The beer garden is newly done up with plenty of room. We were glad we had booked as it was very busy!! The hosts were very accommodating as we wished to be seated outside in the sunshine, the food itself was lovely, although a little pricey. We also had great service! Very welcoming for children too. On all accounts this pub used to be an absolute dive but the new owners really have made it something special, we will visit again!!
lucys2004 - 9 Jun 2008 09:29

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