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.
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