Thursday, 26 November 2009


Depressing news from a recent survey that “pub diners still want classic, traditional pub dishes such as fish and chips or bangers and mash.”

Classic meals such as fish and chips, bangers or pie with mash, homemade lasagne and Sunday roasts remain firm favourites with over 90% of the group
For all the talk of a gastronomic revolution in pubs, in the vast majority you still find a menu majoring on dull, unimaginative, old-fashioned dishes. I know I’ve said this before, but instead of reaching out for all the exciting culinary opportunities that are available, “pub food” has become a narrowly circumscribed food style all of its own.


  1. I'm dubious about these mystery shopping companies, but if this survey is accurate, I don't find it depressing at all. In general people tend to eat in pubs and restaurants for quite different reasons. In a pub, it's more likely to be a pit stop to refuel, rather than a gastronomic experience in its own right, and old-fashioned pub grub fits the bill very well.

    I like to avoid gastro pubs as I find the beer is often poorly kept and expensive.

  2. Nothing wrong with those foods as long as they are done well. I enjoy eating out and trying new things but good food, like good beer, doesn't have to be complicated or exotic.

    This is good information for anyone wanting to grow the food side of a pub business. Make sure the menu has these basic meals on it and then add a signature dish or two for the more adventurous. Let the chef have his head with the spacial every so often, but make sure you have plenty of lasagne and chips for those who are not tempted by Rabbit and Black Pudding with stoemp.

  3. Traditional pub grub is fine by me, but the prices are sometimes crazy. Two pubs near me sell a quarterpounder and chips for £9.

    It's a longer description ... but still burger and chips. If they want to be gastro pubs, and charge astro prices, a more interesting menu should logically follow. Not just whack up the prices of the usual stuff and put it on a posher plate.

  4. I just noticed this bit of the article:

    "Nearly two thirds of respondents would not eat in a pub that served poor quality food."

    So over a third WOULD eat in a pub that served poor quality food? WTF?

    Who cares if their choice of food is a bit conservative? A third of them don't care if it tastes like shit!

  5. In general people tend to eat in pubs and restaurants for quite different reasons.

    No, I would say many pubs are in direct competition with the more affordable end of the restaurant market, especially in suburban and rural areas.

  6. Two pubs near me sell a quarterpounder and chips for £9.

    How much would the Gourmet Burger Kitchen charge? I imagine these pubs perceive that as their competition, not McDonalds or Spoons.

  7. You could be right, I suppose; perhaps I just go to 'pubby' pubs rather than posey ones.

  8. Being an old cynic I'm of the firm belief that surveys give the answers required by the paymasters. But if it is half right then it's possible the current economic climate could have influenced the result.Comfort food comes to the fore when times are hard or people are feeling down.

    I too puzzled over the 1/3rd!

  9. Martin, Cambridge28 November 2009 at 22:03

    Surely, in general, people are dull. Little Chef have introduced some quality British food in a small number of outlets, but I only noticed people order burgers and fish and chips.

    Most Brits have been exposed to a variety of cuisines in the last 30 years, but stick to what they know, and rarely experiment.

    Having said that, your point about dull and uniform menus is well made.

  10. Real men eat at home with their
    families then go out for pint or
    ten with their friends.

    Foodie pubs have destroyed a
    British way of life helped along
    by Nannies,freaks and posers

    Who wants to watch some saphead
    munching a burger whilst trying to
    nose the froth on a porter

    The ONLY decent pub I know now is
    next to Bruges Station

    Anyone who suggests a real decent
    pub in England is quite simply
    a total lying prat of the highest

    Froth and Nicotine Alliance


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