Sunday, 3 July 2016

Square deal for a square meal

I was slightly surprised to see a comment on my recent post about Brunning & Price pubs saying “That menu looks to me to be a pretty standard range of pub grub dishes at normal prices”, when to me, and many others, it looked very much towards the top end of the range. I had a similar thing here where someone described their offer as “hearty stuff at moderate prices”. B&P do what they set out to do well, but there is no way their menus or prices are run-of-the-mill.

There’s clearly a huge mismatch in perceptions here, so I thought I would run a poll on what people thought was par for the course for a non-steak main meal in a pub. The results are pretty clear, with a definite cut-off point at £10. 91% said £10 or less. I think I answered £9, but a lot of people obviously stick at £7. I would happily pay more than that for a meal in a pub that I was confident was going to be pretty good, but that would be a step outside the norm.

To get a feel for what people are paying in ordinary provincial food-oriented pubs, take a look at this Sizzling Pubs menu from the Vernon Arms in Poynton. 10oz rump steak, with chips, onions, tomato and mushrooms, £8.29. “Pub favourites” range from £5.29 to £7.99. And at the Micker Brook Crown Carvery in Cheadle Hulme, a standard carvery meal is £4.39 Monday to Saturday.

Pubs like this may not be the favourite haunts of CAMRA members or crafterati, but they’re where huge numbers of normal folk eat and drink. I can’t help thinking there’s a hefty dose of snobbery at work here.

18 comments:

  1. The one person who voted £15 or more - That was me, I just did it for a laugh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was the £13-£14 voter, but I live in Zone 2.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have found a Crown Carvery in Ruislip, which is Greater London, although I suspect not Zone 2, whatever that means. Traditional Carvery £4.69, or a mere 30p more than Stockport. You need to get out more in search of value dining!

      Delete
    2. One of my enduring pub memories was the Crown Carvery in Parkgate, by the Dee. My boys atelike trenchermen for about £3, a decent GK IPA was £2.50, but the place was chaotic, groups of youngster running around knowcking over adults with plates, spilling drinks, shrieking etc etc. You'd have loved it Mudge.

      Delete
    3. London is divided into zones radiating out from the centre for the purpose of public transport ticketing prices, so zone 2 is fairly central. It is sometimes used as shorthand when describing things like property rental prices but is less useful as areas vary somewhat East-West, North South as you go out.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. It appears Liverpool Cathedral holds an informal service on Sundays called Zone 2 Cafe.

      Delete
  4. I don't like the question because the quality of pub food varies wildly these days in the same way as beer. I wouldn't pay £10 for a Spoons-style main course of reheated frozen crap, but I'll happily pay £15 for good quality produce, freshly cooked to order by a chef with a bit of culinary nous.

    Round here, Antic pubs don't seem to have any problem shifting dishes in the £9-12 range because customers know that they'll get something pretty good. And this isn't the rich part of London by any stretch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but the point of the question was to put you on the spot by asking what you would *normally* expect to pay. Obviously at times you may be willing to pay more for better quality or choice, and at other times begrudge paying average prices for poor food.

      And inner London is a different country anyway...

      Delete
    2. I don't really have a 'normal' though. If I'm out walking, normal tends to be fairly well to do pubs serving decent, freshly cooked pub, mostly at £10+. If I'm in town and just want some sustenance to keep me going round the shops then normal would be a spoons burger and a pint. Value is another thing entirely.

      Delete
  5. Unfortunately £11-12 is becoming the norm around these parts. £8-10 is what I prefer to pay, but pubs charging those sorts of prices are unfortunately becoming rarer.

    Some of the carveries mentioned seem incredibly good value, but apart from one Hungry Horse outlet, such establishments are few and far between in this part of Kent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Divna worry. Be cheaper when you buggar off to Spain.

      Delete
  6. My favourite food pub is the Cottage Inn at Dunstan, Northumberland. Superb fish and chips is a tenner, and you can often see the guy that caught it in the bar. 8oz Ribeye is 14 quid. None of the food is frozen. This sets a benchmark of sorts for me. Paying more elsewhere won't necessarily guarantee quality, and paying less leads me to suspect Bidvest or Brakes are no strangers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I went in the Spring House in Newark in early June this year,Fish Chips and peas £2.75,Sausages mash peas and gravy £3.00,there were many other meals and all under five pounds,the most expensive meal was 6 oz rump steak chips and peas for £4.95,the John Smiths extra cold crap was £2.00 a pint,i thought this was a bargain fish chips and peas and a pint for less than a fiver.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you not worry about what you're getting for that sort of price. It would probably cost the same in ingredients if you were to make it yourself....

      Delete
    2. No not in the slightest,i like cheap and cheerful.
      When me and a mate had a chinese takeaway which was two dishes that we mixed together and tasted very nice,but we were so pissed that we dropped it onto the pavement,we looked at this pile of food on the floor and decided to eat it,this was next to a busy junction with traffic lights,we were eating grit as the food pile went down.
      I am now 54 and still alright.

      Delete
    3. You're my sort of bloke Alan. I'd have done the same. Me and Mrs dropped sausages (the last ones) on street in Bakewell and just picked them up. Dirt hurts no one.

      Delete

Comments, especially on older posts, may be subject to prior approval. Bear with me – I may be in the pub.

Please be polite and remember to play the ball, not the man.

Any obvious trolling, offensive or blatantly off-topic comments will be deleted.

See this post for some thoughts on my approach to blog comments. The comment facility is not provided as a platform for personal attacks on the blog author.