Brewers Fayre Bedford South, Bedford

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Brewers Fayre Bedford South, Bedford

British Restaurant - Address: Marsh Leys, Kempston MK42 7DN

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80% positive

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Review of "Brewers Fayre Bedford South, Bedford"

published 12/05/2017 | Westy4
Member since : 30/09/2015
Reviews : 54
Members who trust : 19
About me :
Back after decorating,work and holiday. Still convinced that the 3 Rs make this site work - Read, Rate and Review. Trying to catch up with doing the 3 Rs as much as possible. Very grateful for all the Reads and Rates of my Reviews from others on Ciao.
Pro Deals and vouchers available, plenty of choice, handy location.
Cons Dim lighting, burnt garlic bread.
Value for Money
Standard of Menu
Standard of Service


View from the car park.

View from the car park.


We were visiting our son and daughter-in-law for the weekend in Bedford and our son suggested going to Brewers Fayre Bedford South for Sunday lunch. He had a 40% off voucher to use (of which more later) which was a big incentive, as eating out on a Sunday lunchtime can be pricey. Having gone to church with them in Bedford, it was never going to be an early lunch and he was able to reserve a table at Brewers Fayre Bedford South for 2.00pm. The location just outside Bedford on the A428/A421 suited us, as it was en route to the M1.


Address: Brewers Fayre Bedford South (A421),
Marsh Leys,
MK42 7DN

Telephone: 01234 844046

Brewers Fayre Bedford South is located 6.7 miles south west of Bedford near the A421 and A428. It is 8.5 miles along the A421 from junction 13 of the M1. The A421 runs from the A1, Black cat roundabout to the A43 near Brackley. The A428 runs from Cambridge via Bedford and Northampton to Coventry.

The restaurant is 21.7 miles north of Luton, 15.4 miles east and slightly north of Milton Keynes. It is 39.5 miles south and slightly west of Peterborough and 32.2 miles west and slightly south of Cambridge.


(Please feel free to skip this section, but I am aware that this is of interest to some.)

The first Brewers Fayre restaurant dates back to 1979 near Preston and was opened by Whitbread, which traces its history back in turn to 1742, when it was founded as a brewing company. Over the years other Brewers Fayres were added along with the Charlie Chalk Fun Factories (children's play areas) in the mid 1990s, which I recall visiting with our kids several times.

In 1987, Whitbread established Travel Inn to compete with Travelodge. After buying Premier Lodge in 2004, Whitbread shortened Premier Travel Inn to what we now know as Premier Inn.

Throughout the 1990s the Brewers Fayre brand expanded, but in 2006 it was decided to dispose of 239 stand alone Brewers Fayre sites, as revenue was much higher from the sites with Premier Inns next to them. The stand alone sites were sold to Whitbread’s rival, Mitchell and Butler and many Brewers Fayres became Crown Carveries (as did one near us) and others Harvesters or Toby Carveries. A small number of stand alone Brewers Fayres were kept, on sites where a Premier Inn could be built.

Serving traditional English pub food and aimed at the family market, the Brewers Fayre brand has become more popular since the launch of its menu deals in 2007 with 2 mains for originally £9. In 2009 2 desserts were added for £2 and later 2 starters for £2.50. In 2010 buffet theme nights were introduced.

Brewers Fayre Bedford South was opened by Whitbread along with a Premier Inn in 2013, with the local council pleased at the injection of more than £6 million into the local economy and the creation of 65 new jobs.

Brewers Fayre Bedford South was easy to spot from the roundabout off the A421, on a relatively new development at the edge of Marsh Leys. The building was a mixture of stone fascia and whitewashed walls, partially single storey and part two storey with steep pitched roofs as well as shelters covered with sloping roofs around the edge of the building. The entrance with a wood framed glass porch faced towards the road, but was set back enough and had a boundary enclosure for it not to be a problem. There was a pleasant area in front of the entrance with picnic benches, which were put to good use on a sunny Sunday afternoon in April. The area around the restaurant was nicely landscaped with shrubs planted nearby.

There was a large car park to the side of Brewers Fayre Bedford South and a 3 storey Premier Inn was located on the opposite side of this. Beyond the Brewers Fayre I was surprised to find Maypole Farm (a restaurant from the Farmhouse Inns brand, owned by Greene King brewery), which offered some competition.

We parked with ease and there was nothing to dissuade us from entering the Brewers Fayre restaurant. We were greeted promptly at a welcome post near the door and , as we were a few minutes early, we were not surprised to be told that we would have to wait for a table to be cleared. We were directed to an area of comfortable seating to the right and offered the option of ordering drinks at the bar. We had no sooner got settled on some sofas and our son had gone for drinks to the bar, than we were told our table was ready, 5 minutes earlier than booked.


Like many pub restaurants, especially on a bright, sunny day, I was struck by how dark the interior was at Brewers Fayre Bedford south, in contrast with the brightness outside. Whether it’s our preoccupation with low energy lighting in a bid to save the environment and cut fuel costs or a strategic decision on the part of restaurants to limit the chances of guests spotting faults, I am convinced that many are becoming darker, which certainly doesn’t help when you are of an age when reading a menu without reading glasses is a challenge in itself!

So in the dim light I’ll do my best to describe the interior. Flooring was a mix of stone, wood and some areas of carpet. Some walls, especially near the bar were brick, others were covered in wood paneling or painted brown or beige. There was a good range of tables of all shapes and sizes, which had plenty of space between them. Although the restaurant was busy late Sunday lunchtime, it didn’t really impact on us. Areas were partitioned off by walls or glass display cases. Wooden framed seats with padded seats and backs covered in striped and checked patterned material were comfortable (we tested them out for nearly 3 hours and had no complaints).

We were shown to a circular table with space for 6 people or more, which gave the 4 of us plenty of space. Although a partition separated us from the bar area at the rear of the restaurant and we weren't far from the drinks station for refills, our table was fairly secluded and we weren't aware of others passing by. The location proved useful for drinks refills just around the corner.

The main toilets were located upstairs, with disabled ones on the ground floor. The toilets were brightly lit and, especially given the busyness of the restaurant, kept in a clean condition. The only gripe I had was that it was third soap dispenser lucky in the Ladies when I came to wash my hands, as the first two had run out of soap, which wasn’t great in an eating place where hygiene is essential.

During our brief wait for a table, our son had ordered drinks from the bar. Three of our party had unlimited refills, which cost £2.75 each and one had tap water for free. I would say that these proved to be good value, as during the course of our visit, each glass was refilled several times. The range offered was reasonable and included Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Pepsi, Tango Orange, Tango Apple and 7UP. Tap water for free was even better value!

I went with our son to order and pay for the food at the bar. He showed the 40% discount on his phone and this was taken off our bill with no quibble. The total food bill should have been £39.85, but with the voucher, it came down to £24.31, which made it quite reasonable for 4 main meals on a Sunday. The staff member was quick and efficient, although it was only the following day that I realised that neither of us had used our Bonus Club cards to collect points. I was able to resolve this two days later, by ringing the number on my card and giving some details from the receipt to get the points added.

We went back to our table to wait for the food. We were on the point of checking to see where the food was, when it finally arrived 34 minutes later, which I thought was quite a long wait, but looking on the positive side, I took it as evidence that the food was being freshly cooked to order.

My daughter-in-law ordered half a roast chicken, which came with a Tennessee whisky glaze, made with Jack Daniels, crispy fried onions, a lightly dressed salad garnish and sweet potato fries, which were an upgrade from standard chips. It was a generous portion size, despite the chicken looking like it had been flattened a little and the quality was good. This should have cost £10.29 with an extra 99p for the sweet potato fries (total £11.28).

I had salmon salad, which consisted of a salmon fillet on top of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red pepper and red onion with French dressing. The salmon was of a good quality and of a reasonable size and the salad was fresh and of a generous portion size. The standard price for this was £8.99.

My husband and son both ordered smothered chicken, grilled chicken breast smothered in BBQ sauce and topped with bacon and melted Cheddar cheese, served with chips, chunky coleslaw, crispy garlic bread and a lightly dressed salad garnish. They both had generous portion sizes, which, given that it was now getting towards 3.00pm, was just as well. These should have cost £9.79 each. Initially they were both pleased with the quality, until my husband turned over his garlic bread and found that one side was badly charred. After recent publicity about the health risks of eating burnt food, he was understandably not prepared to eat it. We were hoping to catch a servers attention, as they passed our table, but, when you want one, there’s never one to be seen , so I was dispatched/volunteered to go to the bar with the offending piece of garlic bread. The guy on the bar wasn’t quite sure what to do with it after he had offered to replace it and reluctantly took it from me.

A few minutes later, a lady, who we later realised was the duty manager at Brewers Fayre Bedford South, came with fresh unburnt garlic bread to our table. She seemed very keen to make amends, especially as we mentioned the wait for our meals as well. We were offered an apology and free desserts, which she would take the order for from our table. I thought this was a very fair deal for slightly slow service and a burnt piece of garlic bread.

Enticed by the prospect of free desserts, we all studied the dessert menu. My son and daughter-in-law recommended the dirty mud pie, which they had had before. Having had what I considered a healthy main course and being something of a chocaholic, I decided I could justify this choice, so three of us ordered dirty mud pies, while my husband went for the strawberry Pimm’s trifle.

The dirty mud pies weren’t quite as we expected, or as had been described to me. They were supposed to be crunchy chocolate bases “covered with chocolate brownie, smothered with a layer of creamy chocolate, topped with chocolate flavour sauce and finished with white chocolate shavings. All dished up with ice cream and chocolate flavour sauce”. The appearance fitted the description. We each had a rectangular slice. They were a reasonable size and due to the richness, were very filling. It wasn’t so much the appearance, as the consistency that was a problem. My daughter-in-law and I both had trouble getting through the solid mass with our spoons. My son made light of it until he got his spoon stuck firmly in his. They both said that on previous occasions, the mud pies had been much softer and lighter. The suspicion was that, under the pressure of a busy day, these had not had long enough out of the freezer to soften up. We all resorted to using knives to saw through our desserts. These should have cost £4.49 each. My son was all in favour of complaining, he was so disappointed, until my daughter-in-law pointed out that “You can’t get money back off something you haven’t paid for!”

My husband fared a little better with his strawberry Pimm’s trifle. It was described as “A rich strawberry and Pimm’s compote with layers of sponge and creamy vanilla custard, finished off with a whip of cream and a fresh strawberry.” In my view there appeared to be less of the compote and more of the sponge and custard, but my husband was happy enough with his free dessert that should have cost him £4.99 and had no complaints.

Interactions with staff in Brewers Fayre are more minimal than in full service restaurant. Transactions at the bar, buying drinks and ordering food were smooth and efficient. Servers were pleasant and polite. I felt that our complaint was handled well. Within a short time of taking the offending piece of garlic bread to the bar, the duty manager came to our table, took ownership of the problem and resolved it to our satisfaction. Although we lingered nearly three hours over our meal, at no time did we feel rushed or encouraged to move on, as can happen in some restaurants.


I would recommend joining the Bonus Club, as you can collect points and exchange them for vouchers towards meals. When you sign up, you get given 250 points, which can be exchanged for a £2.50 voucher. You collect 5 points per £1 spend at Brewers Fayre restaurants. Be aware though that points have a limited lifetime and can expire, as can vouchers once you have printed them. You receive a free main meal voucher for your birthday and vouchers for a free starter/dessert for other people’s birthdays, so it’s worth putting as many names down as possible on your list.

If, like me, you forget to get your Bonus Club card swiped at the restaurant, there's always the option of ringing up a few days later, as long as you have the receipt to hand for the details. If there are points to be had, you might as well collect them.

Sign up to the Brewers Fayre newsletter. I was taken in by the Bonus Club claim “Join our Bonus Club. Never miss out on a deal.” This isn’t strictly true. My daughter-in-law got the 40% voucher on her email via signing up to the newsletter. Since signing up, I now receive these offers along with similar ones for Table Table (another Whitbread brand).

If there’s a problem, don’t suffer in silence and keep quiet, but tell the server politely. I didn’t expect to get free desserts at Brewers Fayre Bedford South on the back of a burnt piece of garlic bread and slow service, but it was a definite bonus.

One final tip: turn your garlic bread over and check it before eating!

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Product Information : Brewers Fayre Bedford South, Bedford

Manufacturer's product description

British Restaurant - Address: Marsh Leys, Kempston MK42 7DN

Product Details

Address: Marsh Leys, Kempston MK42 7DN

Type: British Restaurant

Country: England

City: Bedford

Continent: Europe

Chain: Brewers Fayre

County: Bedfordshire


Listed on Ciao since: 11/05/2017