According to the review, a publican swore at a customer after she refused to pay for a second steak that she said was as inedible as the first that he had cooked for her.
The row escalated when the pub took to TripAdvisor to rebut her claims.
Another customer wrote to TripAdvisor saying he had witnessed the argument and that the review was wrong, leading to its removal from the site, much to the reviewer’s annoyance.
The reviewer, a director of one of the UK’s main meat processing companies, said she was shaken by the response she received and subsequent comments on TripAdvisor and Facebook. She declined to be named.
The pub, The Bull at Gosmore, near Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, is run by husband-and-wife team Charlie and Kim Morrice.
Mrs Morrice admits her husband told the customer to f**k off, but claims she was abusive to staff, shouted, ate two thirds of the second steak served, received complementary drinks, and finally walked out without paying the bill.
The reviewer, who denies parts of the pub’s version of events, arrived at the pub with her partner and ordered a meal. “We found ourselves waiting a good hour for the food which seemed an excessively long time” she told The Morning Advertiser (MA).
“When it arrived, the steak I ordered had not been done medium rare as requested but was overcooked so I sent it back.
“When the second steak arrived it was also inedible, so I asked one of the staff if my meal could be removed from the bill because it was that bad. She got in a real flap.
“I really wanted to tell the chef how poor the steak was, so asked to see him, but when he came out he said: ‘Not meaning to be rude, but why don’t you f*** off’ without even talking to us about the problem.”
The reviewer said she has written around 60 reviews for TripAdvisor, and that her review of the Bull was balanced, despite the poor steak and the reaction of the staff.
She has now quit TripAdviser, telling the site that although she acknowledged the need for mediation “…after eight years of really useful, honest reviews from me, with great feedback on my writing, I will no longer be wasting my time contributing….”
She told MA she believes the complaint to TripAdvisor was made by a friendly pub customer, and she denies swearing or being rude to staff.
“We were quite gracious given the situation. I stood with my debit card offering to pay for everything but my poor steak when I was told to f*** off and he turned on his heels back to the kitchen. I felt he clearly didn’t want to take any payment, so left.”
Mrs Morrice said the waitress had done all she could to try to placate the unhappy customer but claims she was quite clearly not going to pay for her meal.
The waitress was at the end of her tether, she said, and her husband had had a long, hot day in the kitchen, adding it was a complete overreaction by the customer.
“When people are rude to the staff he finds that unacceptable, and I do too.”
She said she was not present during the argument, but she would be quite happy to speak to the reviewer.
TripAdvisor said it normally removes reviews for a series of reasons but it does not disclose precise reasons.
Reasons for removal can include a problem with the account of the person making the review, violation of guidelines, or a change of company ownership.