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Until last August, I had never eaten in a Brewers Fayre. They just did not appeal to me, however when we were staying in Torquay we were looking for something other than fish and chips along the harbour and decided to pay them a visit. Since then I have also been to one in Exeter and two in Oxford, so I now feel qualified to write an opinion on Brewers Fayre. I also took away a menu leaflet so that I could remember what was on it.
BREWERS FAYRE +++++++++++++++
According to the website there are 430 Brewers Fayres across the country and they claim to believe in the Best of British food.
Most Brewers Fayre's are located next to a Premier Travel Inn. This means that if you are on a motorway stopover, you have somewhere to sleep and somewhere to eat. Really they are just a "posher" version of Little Chef!! They are set out as pubs, with a strong emphasis on food, most tables being laid up ready to eat.
Brewers Fayre have a standard menu which is used in all of their pubs. Although it does state on the menus that products may vary between restaurants, I have not noticed this so far. The staff are all trained to a certain standard and all wear a uniform.
Once you have read the menu and made your choice, you then order at the food counter. You need to give them your table number, and your food order. You can order your drinks at the same time. You can then pay for the meal, or they will hold your credit card in case you might want dessert as well and then you can just pay the one amount.
Your drinks are brought to your table and condiments are brought if required.
MEALS - BREAKFAST ++++++++++++++++++
As stated, most BF's are next to a Premier Travel Inn. If you want breakfast in the morning, they do a good deal.
You can have the full breakfast selection for £7.50, which includes bacon, sausage, egg, mushrooms, beans etc served in a buffet style. Or you can have a continental version for £5.25.
MEALS - STARTERS +++++++++++++++++
A very good choice of starters included garlic mushrooms, soup, prawn cocktail, a stilton melt, nachos, and a combo feast for sharing, which had a variety of items.
I never have a starter so did not try any, but my husband has had garlic bread and garlic mushrooms and said that both were nice.
MEALS - DAYTIME BITES ++++++++++++++++++++
Daytime Bites are served Monday-Saturday from 12-6pm. These include items like soup, garlic mushrooms, garlic bread, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, baguettes or ham/scampi & chips. These meals are priced at £5.99 for two courses, ie starter/main or main/sweet.
This is very value and means that two of you could eat a two course lunch for £12. Of course, the options are quite limited, as this is a special offer.
MEALS - MAIN COURSES +++++++++++++++++++++
These are served all day every day and includes items such as gammon, steak, lamb, chicken, lasagne and sausages & mash in a giant yorkshire pudding. These meals are priced around £6-£10, which again I think is very good value for money.
Also available are salads and extras such as onion rings, sauces and extra fries. There did not appear to be many vegetarian options on the menu. This didn't bother us, but could trouble some people. I think the only options were salad or vegetable lasagne.
I have had beef in a giant yorkshire pudding. This was OK, but the vegetables were a bit hard, the mash was cold and there were only 2 roast potatoes, so I was not very impressed with that. I have also had gammon & chips. This was very nice and the gammon was well cooked and very tasty. It came with peas and mushrooms and pineapple (or fried egg). My husband has had sausages & mash in a giant yorkshire pudding and he was very impressed with it, plenty of food and huge sausages.
MEALS - DESSERTS ++++++++++++++++
A small range of desserts is available, priced at around £3-4 each. These included cheesecake, icecreams, chocolate fudge cake, apple pie and profiteroles.
A special item is a giant icecream that is meant for sharing. It includes chocolate icecream, chocolate brownies, maltesers, chocolate sauce and a flake bar. This looked absolutely yummy, although we did not have one as we could not fit it in. The people on the next table had one and it looked lovely. It is served in a giant glass, with long spoons!
My husband had a trio of desserts, which were 3 tiny pieces of cheesecake, gateau and chocolate cake. They were so small he wished he had eaten one large dessert!
I have had the chocolate fudge cake which was delicious.
MEALS - CHILDRENS ++++++++++++++++++
We do not have kids, but I did look at the Children's menu on my last visit. I think that they do a very good range for children as they do more than just chicken nuggets and chips. They also do cottage pie, spaghetti bolognese, sausage and mash, burgers and desserts.
I think it is good when a pub can see that not all parents want to give their children sausages and chips all of the time and to offer a variety of mini adult meals as well.
The kids meals were around £4, with an offer of a free goodie bag, but I think that you had to buy a dessert as well to get that.
There is a wide range of beer, spirits, wine and soft drinks available, although we are always on the road when we go in a BF, so have not tried anything other than coke. They also have a good selection for kids.
MY OPINION ++++++++++
After having been in a few of these, I must say that I feel that they are too standard. It's like going into a Little Chef. You know exactly what is going to be on the menu and how it will be served. They claim to be your friendly local pub, but if you go to a pub, then each one will vary in the food that it offers and how it is presented. The food is reasonably priced, but so it should be as it is standard across the board.
You do not get the idea that the food is lovingly prepared, just defrosted, and slapped on a plate! Every meal looks the same, no matter which BF you do into.
The staff are always friendly and well trained, but the surroundings are always very similar. There is never any atmosphere in these places, because people are in and out so quickly. They do appear to be child friendly which is good.
The system of holding your credit card is good as you only have to pay once, but also it leaves you open to fraud, if dishonest staff worked there, they could copy down the details.
They claim that menu's can vary between restaurants, but I am yet to see this. They also claim that Fresh Chef's Specials are available and change every day, but I am yet to see this also!
We have only used these when we have been travelling on the motorway and need somewhere convenient to get food, which is served quickly.
I would not use them for a special meal, or make a special trip to visit one to eat, they are purely for convenience and fast food!
The only good point is that you can get 2 nectar points for each £1 that you spend there, so don't forget your nectar card the next time that you have to go to Brewers Fayre.