Do you remember the years before kids? When spontaneity was more than just a difficult word to spell and now was as good a time as any…
Back then eating out was just part of life – see funky new restaurant, go there, dine.
My pre-baby self no doubt imagined sharing these culinary delights with my future children, all shiny-faced and eloquent.
Ha ha ha.
Little did she know that eating out en famile could be a soul-crushing extravaganza of breadcrumbs and ketchup, punctuated by eat-up, sit-still negotiations and heavy sighs. Messy and expensive, to boot. Little wonder it didn’t happen much.
So when we were invited to try the new menu at our nearest Brewers Fayre, I didn’t think I had much to lose. “OK, then,” I thought, it’s one I won’t have to cook. Optimistic, not.
Our local Brewers Fayre is at The Phoenix, Linwood a couple of miles away.
The Phoenix is what rose from the ashes of the former car factory and, originally, birthplace of the Hillman Imp. Now it’s a place to buy cars and spend money.
But back to the last night of our recent half term break and our dinner date. We’d been together for a few days and were in that sweet(ish) spot between squabbling because we hadn’t spent enough time together and squabbling because we’d spent too much time together. There’s a pleasant couple of hours before it’s the return of The Fractious Five.
And we even got there without too much shouting. Marvellous.
The Phoenix isn’t half as boxy on the inside as it is on the outside. In fact, it’s pleasant – all alcoves and comfy tables. Nice. I started to relax.
The menus are large and promise something for everyone. This makes the Panther scathing. He scathes with authority once having cooked (cheffed!) for a job and reckons this means it’s impossible to do anything properly. However, they, apparently, had him at giant Yorkshire pudding.
The Boys picked burgers and scampi, the Panther had a pie (with added Yorkshire pudding) and I went for the day’s special – a Mexican buffet.
Everyone’s meals were delicious and well-cooked. I was delighted to see that the portions – while healthy – weren’t so vast you feel you need to fast for the rest of the week. Chips were crispy, burgers juicy, Mexican spicy, salads fresh and (grudgingly admitted) the Yorkshire pudding was “fine”.
For us, it was a mini revelation – clean plates all round and no pickiness.
And, the prices are tasty too. Daytime value offers runs from noon til 6pm Monday to Friday with two starters for £2.50, two mains for just £10.99 and two desserts for £2.50. Every night there’s a special – such as the Mexican thing – and that’s cheap too. All the burritos you can eat for £6.99. Fizzy drinks are on a free-refill basis, so you won’t get stung by lots of pricey drinks on the menu.
For after the sharing fondue pudding affair hit the spot.
The bill – if we weren’t there as guests of Brewers Fayre – would have been a little over £50 which included a couple of ‘proper’ drinks for me. Not half bad for a happy dining experience.
We left full-bellied and happy and will certainly be back. Though as they piled into the back of the car, the Boys started squabbling again. This time it was whether pizza Monday was better than hotdog Wednesday or chipshop Friday.