Today’s post is a review of my local J D Wetherspoon pub in Rochester, Kent – The Golden Lion. I was kindly sent some vouchers, asked to have dinner there and report back.
Now … I want to preface this review by saying that my blog is generally a positive place to be – I don’t want it to be full of complaining and moaning about how rubbish something is. But my blog is also honest, so, disclaimer out of the way, here are my thoughts.
I decided to take my Dad out for dinner as a treat – he’d cut my grass that day so I wanted to do something nice for him. Dexter, of course, came along too.
We had been to The Golden Lion once before and I’m afraid to say, the dinner the last time we went was so awful I got a full refund and vowed never to go back. I really wanted this visit to completely change my views about Wetherspoons, so we went along open minded.
Wetherspoons is what it is. I’m sure everyone at some point has been to a Wetherspoons and fundamentally, it’s basic, value for money, pub grub, and there’s nothing wrong with that all.
I placed our order and was really surprised by just how cheap it was – 3 main meals, with drinks (pint for Dad and 2 bottles of Peroni for me) WITH extra sides … and it only came to £25.
However … and here’s the problem … the food was really poor. I mean, really poor. My dad ordered fish and chips and then had to play ‘find the cod’ as it was basically just a plate of batter. Dexter’s onion rings were cold which had to be sent back. My coleslaw was warm. Dexter’s cheese on his burger was sweaty where it had been sitting out and the garlic bread with cheese was soggy underneath. I can’t really think of anything we ate for our main dinners that was nice.
I complained about the onion rings and they (eventually) brought us another bowlful, hot this time but by the time we were halfway through our dinner, the pub had got really busy and I just didn’t think it was worth complaining again. Time was short and, as parents amongst you will know, once kids are bored, eating out is hell.
We ordered dessert each. Dad had pancakes and syrup, I had waffle and fruit sauce and ice cream and Dexter had chocolate cake. It was average at best. Dexter’s cake was stale and there really is no love put into any of the food. I’d expect the food to at least be fresh.
OK, the good points. The service was good – polite, prompt and no complaints there. The highlight for Dad was the varied offering of real ales which he thoroughly enjoyed sampling. The highlight for me? I’d struggle to find one if I’m honest.
Overall, disappointing. The alcohol is really cheap though so I’d go back for a cheap beer or two if I was passing. Would I eat there again? Nope.
My brother said the breakfasts were OK, so that’s probably the only thing I might try again, but I’ve given Wetherspoons a couple of chances now to impress, and they haven’t. I’ve eaten at this Rochester pub before and also at one in Maidstone – the quality (or rather lack thereof) remains the same. Such a shame.
The menu is fairly comprehensive, there’s certainly something for everyone – chicken, ribs, burgers, steaks, hot dogs, pulled pork, sandwiches … the usual, and you can’t fault the price. They have ‘Chicken Club’ on Wednesdays and, if you’re counting calories, they have a range of dishes at less than 500 calories. You can order food up until 11pm and they even have a children’s app (which we didn’t try) if the kids do get bored.
But for me, unfortunately, J D Wetherspoon, just don’t seem to have grasped the basics.
I hope that Wetherspoons care enough about customer opinion to take this review on board. It isn’t written lightly and nor do I feel great about complaining, but just how difficult is it to provide value for money, half decent meals? It’s not rocket science – just make the food fresh, hot, edible and tasty.
Having said that, we did have a lovely evening out – the poor food certainly didn’t spoil our time together.