Harvester, Loughborough

Have you ever been to a Harvester before? Yes, plenty of times. This is our local, but we haven’t been here very much for quite a while. When we first moved in and were renovating the house, this was a convenient place for dinner. We have had a few meals here this century, but not all that many.

I came here for a team Xmas meal a few years ago, but the service was very poor, our pre-ordered and pre-paid meals took ages to come out. The food has always been of a reasonable standard, and the place itself always feels fairly well looked after.

Today we were here for a leaving do for someone from work – a quick meal and a drink to say goodbye.

Here’s the first problem with Harvester – the selection of ale is usually limited to something like Doom Bar. When it’s well kept, it’s a good pint. But when it ends up in chain pubs, it’s just average.

Here’s the thing that is the part of the Harvester experience that everyone remembers. The unlimited salad bowl. This is something that hasn’t changed all that much over the years, with a few things a bit different. There’s the usual selection of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber slices, sweetcorn, pickled onions, pineapple chunks, gherkins, sultanas and those crispy onion bits. There are a few more bits and pieces too. And of course red devil sauce, which doesn’t seem to have changed at all in the last 20 years…

Just something light today, classic nachos with added pulled pork. Nachos done well can be a thing of beauty. A few of us still remember the nachos from the Swan, with whole roasted chillis. Nachos done badly are a travesty – some Tesco value tortilla chips, cheap cheddar and some gloop from a jar.

These nachos were pretty good, with reasonable chillis and some decent toppings – the pulled pork was also good. The portion size is pretty good, certainly enough for one – the larger portion for two is also pretty good.

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