Dog and Duck, Shardlow, July 2017

Another pub trip where the company was more important than the food and drink. Just as well really, as this was another classic poor chain pub effort. A Marstons pub, the usual below average selection of beers from the empire, a few bottles, and some rubbish “ciders” like Strongbow and Old Mout. So, another night on the lime and soda. No biggie, I have great beers at home for another night.

Maybe the food could make up for this disappointment. Although “two for one, all day every day” doesn’t always insipre confidence. Mrs MOFAD opted for curry again, she does enjoy a pub curry. Chicken tikka masala is an easy pub option, and pubs always chuck in the full works, rice, naan, popadom and alleged mango chutney (it’s never any good).

My choice was the BBQ chicken burger, which sounded nice.  Crispy buttermilk chicken goujons topped with Monterey Jack cheese and BBQ sauce, served with chips and coleslaw.

The best word you could find to describe this would be fodder. That’s all that it was. Very average damp pub chips (lots of seasoning required), a pointless little dish of alleged coleslaw (way too much onion), and an awful bread roll that had probably been hanging around all day, and. It disintegrated a little bit more every time you picked it up. Processed cheese added insult to injury, and a pitiful amount of alleged BBQ sauce didn’t help. No additional sauces available to help out either.

Chain pub eating at its lowest ebb. Meh food, no decent drinks. Luckily there were plenty of laughs to be had with friends.

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Wagamama, Leicester, July 2017

Another rare weeknight shopping trip to Leicester. You may recall that there was one last week, but it wasn’t as successful as it could have been, so we are back this week, exploring some different retail venues. Again, I won’t be telling you about that. Instead, I’ll tell you about dinner.

We will often pop in to Wagamama for a quick dinner. It’s usually quick, if there’s not a queue. Tonight there was a queue out of the door, which was handy as the “out of the door” bit was cooler than the bit inside the door, where the heater was on full blast. On a warm July evening.

We were soon seated and ordering. It will probably come as no surprise that we both ordered exactly the same things that we usually do. So that’s chicken katsu curry for me as ever…

Although this was another plate to annoy the sauce/salad brigade, who hate to see sauce touching salad. You may recall this from a visit to The Hunting Lodge in June.

A quick note on drinks. Hitachino Nest has disappeared from the menu. This is a shame, as their beers go well with this particular cuisine. There are a few other offerings, which look interesting, but with Meantime involved, I don’t feel comfortable ordering them.

Meantime used to be a lovely independent brewery, but they are now owned by Asahi (after being bought by SAB Miller in May 2015), so they just don’t feel like a craft brewer any more. My philosophy is that I have loads of lovely independent beers at home, so I’ll save myself for those. As it was, the ginger beer was lovely and refreshing with the katsu curry.

Cosy Club, Leicester, July 2017

A rare weeknight shopping trip to Leicester. We are going to a wedding later in the year (a trip that shoud generate some interesting blog posts), and various items of clothing are required. Luckily, I’m not going to go on about that. Instead, I’ll tell you about dinner. As we have done on a few occasions recently, we found ourselves in the Cosy Club again (the same chain who run our local Centro Lounge).

Rather splendidly, they had a cask of Centennial Wheat Beer – Pattern #WB0002 from very local brewery Framework, who were the subject of last night’s craft beer hour (#craftbeerhour). So having spent an hour last night talking about their beers, tonight I had one. I’ve had one or two of them from the Needle & Pin, so nice to see them elsewhere in the wild. Centennial Wheat Beer – Pattern #WB0002 was a good mix of wheat, hops and malty sweetness.

On to dinner next, and it was burger time. The Brigadier burger with cheese, pulled pork and chorizo to be precise, and it was very tasty. The chips (probably technically fries) were soon removed from their silly metal cup, and deposited on the nice twee china plates that are favoured here. The slaw was also decent, not spoilt by being full of half a raw onion.

Another nice dinner at the Cosy Club, a good post-shopping place for dinner.

Longboat – Table Table, York, April 2017

It’s chain pub time again. We’ve been staying at the attached Premier Inn this weekend (Blossom Street South, not to be confused with Blossom Street North which is 2 doors up the road!) It’s a very handy hotel for visitors to York on a budget, just a few minutes walk from the train station, and not too far from the city centre for day and night activities. Having walked back through the city centre carnage last night (hen nights all over the shop, and plenty of suitably refreshed ladies and gentlemen), I think it’s fair to say the hotel is just outside the carnage zone, which is a good thing in my opinion!

As with many Premier Inns (like last year’s one), it has a Table Table pub attached to it. That means a full breakfast for £8.99 each, the same price as this time last year. As usual, lots of stuff to choose from, various cereals, croissants, bagels, pancakes, fruits, etc.

If you have full days of exploring the city ahead of you (which we did both yesterday and today) then you need some tasty proteins from a full English. However, unlike last year, where the Table Table at Springwood Park cooked your breakfast to order, this was a standard hotel buffet job, with dishes sitting out under lamps, beans congealing away in dishes and fried eggs sitting in oil.

It was not bad:-

Good value given how much you get for £8.99, but it was by no means the best breakfast in the world. The sausages were rather anaemic, and the beans were rather tired. However, it was quick and convenient, which is what was needed this weekend.

The Dog & Duck, Shardlow

It’s another chain pub post. Tomorrow is our friend Steve’s 65th birthday, so he was having a get together in a handy nearby pub. We’ve been here once or twice before, as with most of the other pubs in Shardlow. Reasonably well placed for the East Midlands triangle of Nottingham, Derby and Leicester, it’s quite a popular place.

Not too much to say tonight, as it was all about catching up with people we’ve seen a few times already this year as well as few people who we’ve not seen for a while. It’s a Marstons pub, so there’ll be some beers from the empire on, a few interesting bottles, and then some rubbish “ciders” like Strongbow and Old Mout. There’s occasionally something you’ve not spotted before, like Banks’ Sunbeam, but it’s probably not been kept well.

Loads of things to choose from on the menu, and it’s permanently two-for-one, so two main courses and two drinks come in at £18 which is pretty decent value.

Tonight I spotted this chicken burrito on the specials board. A pretty decent effort, and probably the spiciest thing I’ve had in a pub for quite a while. The salad was a welcome addition, although the nachos were a little half hearted (hardly melted cheese and very thin sour cream). Nachos should be a thing of golden beauty and these were just a thing of meh. A shame as the burrito was decent.

Not a bad effort, the food was better than the beer. Luckily the company was great, and that was the point of being there. A good birthday celebration.