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“Grubby place with disengaged staff, falling into disrepair. Avoid.”
Review of Halfway House - CLOSED

Halfway House
Cuisines: British
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Midlands
Level Contributor
260 reviews
131 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Grubby place with disengaged staff, falling into disrepair. Avoid.”
Reviewed 12 May 2014

I ate here for two nights since I was staying at the Premier Inn next door... and it wasn't too difficult to consider strolling further afield for a better culinary experience. I heard claims it wasn't regarded as being particularly good, despite its appearance, and I can see why.

I dislike paying for WiFi at Premier Inns so I often decamp to the nearby restaurant to use theirs. The sunday (the only night without a carvery) was quite busy with the restaurant being full so I ate in the bar. Although the Halfway House advertises free wifi there was a strong Orchid signal with their SSID but the bar staff told me to us the weaker cloud signal instead - which kept dropping where I sat (at the room behind the TV) so moved over into the main bar area to find a better wifi signal, which turned out to be a mistake. There are a couple of long bench tables running close to bar and their close proximity meant customers are squeezing past drinkers perched at the bar, so after being jostled a few too many times I decided to decamp to a recently-vacated table near the window instead.

I found this table sticky and unwiped... but then I had just hopped into a place vacated by someone. However, none of the staff seemed to be in a hurry to clean away tables or check up on diners. Upon closer inspection I could see the place was somewhat shabby and in a poor state of disrepair: edging strips were tarnished with rust, blinds hung twisted at odd angles and mouldy door-frames were surrounded with crumbling plaster and peeling paint - the whole establishment could do with a good clean-up.

The burger I ordered was okay, quite thick and chewy (although slightly dry) and featured some nice crunchy salad. It was accompanied by a small basket of chips (merely a handful - not really value for money) that were quite crunchy and fat-saturated, as though they'd been left in the fryer too long or recently refried. Although a pot of coleslaw and another of ketchup came with the meal, the waitress also brought over a half-populated condiments basket basket containing brown sauce, even more ketchup, an empty vinegar bottle (what?) and just pepper (no salt, mustard, etc).

I munched my meal to the atmosphere of loud speak music blaring in conflict with some music programme being screened on the large TV, which didn't seem to make sense to me. I found the beer (Robert Burns) good but apart from Guinness and Tetley wasn't much of a range of real ales - seems Doom Bar was off that night.

The next night over in the restaurant I found a stronger Wifi signal and with it being quieter I was able to sustain a skype conversation. I tried the carvery: the meat was good, with select cuts carved by the waiting chef, but the rest of the meal wasn't up to scratch: gravy lukewarm and somewhat congealed, veg a bit limp and soggy from residing in water too long. For only a fiver it was good value considering you can return for more potatoes/veg, but keep an eye out for freshly-cooked produce emerging from the kitchen rather than the stuff that's been sitting around for 30 mins.

Staff communication seems to be an issue: I was initially informed that Doom Bar was back on so ordered a pint but then stuck to Burns when it was revealed they'd sold out. The next waitress offering a refill confirmed Doom Bar was back on but returned with the sad news that it'd all sold out. Pah!

On the last night I ate quite late, having bangers & mash: the sausages were okay, quite firm and meaty, but the mash was powdered with dry spots, the peas hard and dry and the gravy cold and congealed, all served in a large Yorkshire pudding that was a bit dry and tough (on tables that were still sticky). Although cheap and plentiful, I couldn't shake the feeling that this was carvery left-overs. Despite the bar not being too busy, there seemed to be an absence of staff - only one person seemed to be working the bar and he wasn't always there.

Not certain I'd like to return, and can't recommend it unless it bucks its ideas up.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank PreacherKane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ben M, General Manager at Halfway House, responded to this review, 20 May 2014
Hi,
Thank you for your recent feedback, i am sorry to hear that we didnt meet your expectations on your visit to us, could i ask that you contact me on either 01702-588645 or halfwayhouse.southend@orchidpubs.co.uk and i will look into this for you.

Many Thanks
Ben Merenda
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

169 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    32
    40
    43
    27
    27
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom
1 review
“Superb Carvery”
Reviewed 11 May 2014

We have just visited the Halfway House in southend, and what a pleasure it was, we were greeted by a member of staff as soon as we arrived who showed us to a table in the restaurant, we ordered drinks, which were then bought over to us quickly, we then placed our order we had 5 carveries and one beef burger, the carvery selection was great with a selection of three meats, a homemade beef pie and served with all the trimmings, the veg selection looked great and was tasty and piping hot, and the bakewell ice cream cake was superb, over all a great experience will defiantly be returning very soon.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank southend92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ben M, General Manager at Halfway House, responded to this review, 12 May 2014
Hi,
Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback, i am glad to hear you enjoyed your visit here to us yesterday and that you enjoyed our carvery selection and desserts.

Hope to see you again soon,

Many Thanks
Ben Merenda
General manager
Halfway House
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hornchurch, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
68 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Worth the wait”
Reviewed 21 April 2014

We visited the Thursday before Good Friday. We came across the restaurant for the first time. When we walked in, we were told the restaurant isn't open but that we can eat in the bar area. After looking at the menu, we were more than sold on the Carvery option - the description was mouth-watering! We went up to the bar to order at 3pm. The bartender (only person working, other than, I assume, the chef) told us the Carvery wasn't available til 5pm. We were disappointed but ordered alternatives. We waited an hour for our food, but it was very nice (worth the wait!) The scampi was flavourful and my partner's steak was cooked to perfection! Advice would be - don't have the carvery on the main menu if it's not always available and that poor bartender definitely earned his wage - rushing around trying to be in 2 places at once! We aim to return for the carvery if we can find out what times they serve. Thanks for a lovely afternoon Halfway House.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Kerri W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ben M, General Manager at Halfway House, responded to this review, 22 April 2014
Hi Kerri,
Many thanks for your recent review, i am glad that you enjoyed your meal here with us and that you had an enjoyable afternoon, I would like to offer my apologies for the delay in your food arriving at your table.

Im sorry the carvery wasnt open when you visited us, the opening times are:

Monday - Friday 12:00 - 14:30 & 17:00 - 21:30
Saturday 12:00 - 21:30
Sunday: 12:00 - 21:00

Hope to see you again soon,

Many Thanks
Ben Merenda
General Manager
01702-588645
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
112 reviews
89 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Fantastic carvery”
Reviewed 19 April 2014 via mobile

there today .really gd Wgd value .for carvery .and freshly cooked .gd service and very busy.clean place .lively and freindly .menu good to ans good for money rate it ***** best place on coast

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Maureen T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ben M, General Manager at Halfway House, responded to this review, 22 April 2014
Hello,
Thanks for your review, i am glad to hear you had a good time here with us, and that you enjoyed our carvery selection and that you found it good value.

Hope to see you again soon

Many Thanks
Ben Merenda
General Manager
01702-588645
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
55 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Appalling standards”
Reviewed 6 April 2014 via mobile

Waited 10 minutes to be acknowledged. Had to sit in bar even though I counted over 8 tables free only to be told oh, we dint use those seats after 4pm..... No problem. Bar was fine. Went fir our carvery and were given half a slice of gammon small thin slice of turkey n beef when questioned the total weight cannot b more than 5 OZ !!! No veg n waited 15 minutes for it to be literally thrown at us in dirty pots with filthy serving spoons. Spoke to manager who didn't look like he could run a bath let alone a restaurant and he said that they were busy. Appalling front if house attitude n assistant manager was shambolic and unkempt. Food all over floor and servery area filthy.

Helpful?
2 Thank Julia F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ben M, General Manager at Halfway House, responded to this review, 7 April 2014
Hello,
As discussed with you yesterday i am sorry if we didnt meet your expectations on your visit to us, some of the comments throughout the review were not bought to my attention during our discussion, if you would like to discuss this further with myself please call me on 01702-588645. Also as discussed yesterday i am glad that you enjoyed your carvery meal, and that you highly rate our restaurant staff..

Many Thanks
Ben
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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