Whopping portions are the order of the day at Wolverhampton's new Gatehouse pub, writes Helen Brown.
The Gatehouse, eh? Tell me more
It may be Wolverhampton’s newest pub but despite only opening its doors to the public for the first time in November, The Gatehouse already seems to be a popular choice with diners.
The £2.5million Hungry Horse venue has been built on the landmark Goodyear site off the Stafford Road as part of a wider scheme which will see a mini village created on the land, with 314 homes and a new Aldi store.
Okay so it’s set to become quite a few peoples’ local in the future then. What’s it like inside?
It is obvious from the moment you walk through the door that owners Greene King have spent a bit of money on the place; there are plush leather booth seating areas which come complete with their own TVs as well as some tasteful Wolverhampton-themed wall art for those who like to sit in more swanky surroundings.
Nice. So who goes there?
The pub is obviously proving a hit with families who packed out the place on our visit, and it is no wonder as The Gatehouse is well geared up to cater for all ages.
As well as a children’s play area outside, the booth TVs were showing the CBeebies channel – a favourite of parents everywhere – and there are plenty of choices for little mouths when it comes to the menu as well.
Youngsters can choose from a main and sides for £2.99 which includes all the usual favourites such as sausages, chicken nuggets and fish fingers as well as some healthier options including chicken breasts and salads.
They also serve up baby food suitable from seven-months-old – which seems a pretty obvious thing to offer when you think about it but is rarely found on the menu at other establishments.
When it comes to the adults they have plenty of choice as well – almost too much in fact; the menu is so big it takes a good 10 minutes to read all of the options.
And as the chain’s name suggests, the Hungry Horse is definitely geared up for those wanting to fill their boots; the ultimate big sizzler (£13.99) could probably feed a family of four alone, boasting a 5oz rump steak, chipotle chicken skewer, half a rack of BBQ ribs and southern fried chicken goujons served up with chips, peppers, onions, a grilled tomato, corn on the cob and onion rings – all for one person. But coming in at over 2,000 calories it is more than most women should eat in a whole day.
Wow. Any more dishes for the non-calerie conscious?
The fabulous jumbo fish and chips supper (£6.59) which boasts it is a “bigger and better catch than the chippy” is also probably best avoided by those watching their waistline as it too tops the 2,000 calorie mark. In fact there are just a handful of dishes throughout the entire menu which come in under 600 calories – which is a shame in this day and age when we are all being told how we are what we eat.
But to be fair, being health conscious is not what the Hungry Horse brand sells itself on – the price is its biggest draw, most mains come in at between £3.99 and £7.99, great value for families.
So what did you actually eat?
We ordered two starters, two mains (one among the most expensive on the menu), a selection of side dishes and two drinks for £30. The topped nachos (£3.99) to start with were not much to look at but were tasty enough – so much so we managed to clear the plate.
The same sadly could not be said for the garlic breaded mushrooms (£2.99). While you got a decent portion they were lacking somewhat in the taste department – and again presentation left a little to be desired.
The mains were nothing short of delicious though, the 9oz sirloin steak (£9.99) was as good a quality as you will find in many more aspirational restaurants where it would probably be a fair bit more expensive.
And the Veggie Tagine (£3.99) which was served up with giant cous cous was a welcome change to the somewhat bland vegetarian options which are usually served up by some chain pubs..
So, in summary?
The staff were all very friendly as well, one stopping to find us a seat as we walked through the doors while we spotted others stopping to play with toddlers and babies who were out with their parents.
So if you are looking for a cheap meal out, with good service and plenty for the little ones to do you won't go far wrong if you head to The Gatehouse.
The Gatehouse, Stafford Road, Wolverhampton, WV10 6EE
Tel : 01902 426372