A RECENT experience of a local hot spot left me feeling a little cold.
The Hungry Horse Ashley Hotel is an incredibly popular destination.
So it was with some disappointment that I left after an underwhelming lunchtime visit with some colleagues.
Things didn’t get off to a great start, as on a wet, wintry day we should have walked into the cosy warmth of a pub.
Alas, we were every bit as cold inside as we were out.
The bar staff were efficient and friendly, so things picked up as we ordered – each of us noting the attractive Christmas and Halloween displays the Hungry Horse chain pub use to advertise their upcoming attractions.
It’s a pub that clearly caters for the young, with impressive looking Pic ‘n’ Mix cartons behind the bar, and plenty of chocolate and snacks.
For a Monday lunchtime, it was busy enough, but there was nothing in the way of a wait either at the bar or for the food.
A ‘lunch club’ menu boasted several meals, available with a drink for just £4.99 between the hours of 11am and 5pm.
The same menu promises food within 10 minutes, if pre-ordered, or your money back – something that must appeal to office workers looking to guarantee a quick lunch.
I chose the British beef and ale pie, with mash, a pretty standard fare from which you can tell enough about a kitchen’s pride in their work.
The mash was admittedly lovely, and what was inside the pie was absolutely fine.
The crust however posed a real problem.
Parts of it simply wouldn’t cut with a knife, no matter how much pressure I exerted, and at one stage my dining companions were concerned the whole thing would leave my plate in their direction.
This ruined the meal, as decent pastry on a pie isn’t a great deal to ask for.
One colleague plumped for the chorizo and chicken pasta, and found it to be a little dry.
Another had a tuna melt with cheese and was entirely satisfied with her meal.
The final choice was a ‘Napoli’ baguette containing peppers, tomatoes, mushroom and cheese.
Unfortunately the menu choice of a brown bread baguette wasn’t available when it came time to order, and the meal came with an uninspiring side salad.
Given the rave reviews that many give the Hungry Horse Ashley Hotel, and how packed it is at the weekends, we were all a little disappointed by what we found.
In terms of choice the menus are stacked, for any time of the day, and there are great deals on food all week long.
The service was good, the decor modern and the general cleanliness excellent, but the food on this occasion was a let down.
by Graham Smyth