The Coffee Tavern, Pott Shrigley

TripAdvisor is a very handy resource. Sometimes, even though you’ve read loads of reviews that give you pause for thought, you think “we’ve just got to visit that place to find out if those reviews are right”.

With this place, they really are. Many of them refer to the “interesting” customer service and ambience. We experienced all of this first hand.

It’s quite an interesting building, erected in 1887 as a Memorial Room for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, and then used as a reading room until remaining empty for many years.

Upon arrival, it was too early for lunch, so we decided to stop for tea and cake, and pick up some sandwiches to take away. More on that story later.

Our first experience of the legendary customer skills came as soon as Alison entered the front door and enquired about bringing in a dog (the lovely and no trouble at all Suzy), a request that was met with an overly loud and forceful “no dogs” response.

No problem, it was a lovely day so we sat outside on a nice big bench, watching the world go by. Several of our party went in to order. Now the comedy really started.

A second member of staff had arrived by this point, and rather than improve the situation, this made things worse. An order was placed. One member of staff got a tray ready to put the order on. As soon as she turned her back, the other member of staff come out of the kitchen and tidied the tray. She returned to the kitchen, and the first member of staff got a new tray ready to put the order on. And like a comedy cuckoo clock, she turned around and the second member popped out through the door and tidied it away again.

Third time lucky, and the tray got some tea and cups on it. The cakes would follow shortly.

“I’ll bring it all out to you.”

If you hear those words, you would expect that they will bring the tray out with both tea and cakes. That’s not what those words meant. They meant “you take the tray out and I’ll bring two plates of cake.” Because two plates of cake arrived, with the tray still sat inside, surely at risk of being cleared away by the comedy cuckoo clock.

Luckily we retrieved it before it met that fate. The tea was ok, the millionaire shortbread was a bit sweet and sickly for my taste. The shortbread needed longer cooking time.

Shortly afterwards, our take away sandwiches (clearly requested as “two ham sandwiches to take away”) arrived. Can you spot the deliberate mistake?

Yes, those take away sandwiches have arrived on plates, which we really don’t want to take away with us. The request was clearly very confusing, so they supplied us with some extra napkins to wrap the sandwiches up to take away. Not ideal, but better than those heavy plates I suppose.

It is most definitely an experience. They really are not suited to dealing with members of the public. There’s nothing else in the immediate area (although the nearby village of Bollington has loads of great pubs) so it would do in an emergency.

There is only one way to sum up this visit, with this classic sketch…

One.

Soup.

And.

Another.

Soup.

Table Table, Springwood Park, Cheshire

The chain pub attached to a Premier Inn. Functional and family friendly. A captive audience, but one you still have to serve well. We were part of that audience, staying at Springwood Park with some friends for the weekend.

If the pub had allowed dogs, it’s fairly likely we might have eaten here for another meal, but as they didn’t we just came here for breakfast on both days, as our dog owners were staying somewhere else.

The Premier Inn breakfast is pretty good value. For £6.99, you get unlimited everything from the continental breakfast menu, including:-

Coffee
Twinings Tea
Fruit Juices
Smoothies
Freshly Baked Croissants
Cinnamon & Raisin Bagel
Pain au Chocolat
Flapjacks
Blueberry Mini Muffins
Sourdough crumpets
Bread/Toast : White, Malted or Gluten Free
American Style Buttermilk Pancakes
Peanut Butter, Nutella, Golden Syrup, Marmalade, Honey, Marmite , Jams
Dried Fruit & Seeds
Fruit Salad
Apples
Bananas
Grapefruit Segments
Yeo Valley Yoghurts
Kellogg’s Cereals
Porridge
Granola

But as we all know, continental breakfast is not a breakfast. You need to upgrade to the full breakfast, which is £8.99. The extra two quid gets you all of the above plus as much as you want from the following:-

Back bacon
Sausage
Mushrooms
Eggs – Scrambled, Fried, Poached, Boiled, Omelette
Hash Browns
Bubble & Squeak
Black Pudding (not MOFAD approved!)
Closed Cup Mushrooms
Halved Grilled Tomatoes
Baked Beans

And it looks a little something like this (from Saturday morning):-

You order exactly what you want, this is not your standard hotel buffet with things sitting out in pools of grease under weak light bulbs. And you can order as much as you want, so you can go for a real blow out, or just have a reasonable amount to set you up for a day of walking in the hills.

Here is Sunday’s version:-

All in all, a pretty good breakfast, and pretty good value. My one complaint is that the tomatoes need grilling properly to caramelise them and bring out the natural sugars. It’s not the best time of year for tomatoes, wherever they came from, and these were a bit tart and underdone.

An easy option for breakfast if you are staying next door. We had a very happy and friendly server on Saturday morning too!