Food review: The Sunbeam, Wolverhampton
A quick catch-up with limited time meant it had to be a pub lunch down our local. Lisa Harrison heads to the bar for some food and drink. . .
We had been expecting a quiet pub lunch catching up after not seeing each other for a few weeks. It’s holiday season and the time of year when colleagues take a break and things get busy.
We decided to take time out and get some food at a pub we’d been walking past for months. The Sunbeam is a Hungry Horse restaurant from the Greene King chain of pubs and attracts people from all walks of life.
It is a tasteful modern glass building and inside has a bold decor that is bright red and the walls are adorned with art that is a nod to the history of the city of Wolverhampton which is a great touch and makes it feel like a real local.
What we hadn’t anticipated was a few words being thrown about by some of the other patrons escalating pretty rapidly into the police turning up. Hmmm, only in Wolverhampton.
We had ringside seats but it seemed to be a storm in a teacup but made us chuckle nonetheless.
The last time I had popped into the Sunbeam, the set up was different. It was an order-everything-at-the-bar kind of joint which is fine for drinks but when it comes to food, table service is a better option.
But things had changed and a chirpy waitress appeared at the table ready to take our drinks order. It’s a much more pleasant and efficient way of doing things and a welcome relief from having to queue at the bar.
The menu is immense and has every dish you could imagine which makes choosing really tough.
There are the usual pub classics, steaks, pies, burgers, and grills along with big plates, light bites and sides.
There is even a steak on top of a steak pie with all the trimmings! That sounds like a challenge.
As I had just returned from the States I was keen to try the macaroni cheese. I consider myself a bit of an aficionado of the dish which began by sampling my mum’s homemade version of the dish which nothing can measure up to. At £5.99 it’s good value and comes with two slices of garlic ciabatta and a dressed salad. I ordered the meal with a side of peas and coleslaw.
My friend went for a more healthy option – she’s getting ready for a beach break and was keen to not carb up with anything too heavy going.
Her choice was the classic salad bowl for £7.99. It is described as mixed leaves with tomatoes, cucumber and shredded vegetables, drizzled with french dressing and a choice of topper: she went for the crumbled falafel with sesame seeds.
We went for large diet cokes to get things started and watched the eventuful lunchtime meal unfold – including the heated exchange of words followed by the police visit.
It was quite busy with a mix of people: couples, families with young children and older friends dining out.
There are a lot of different condiments on the table which is always a good sign as it means you don’t have to request them from the waitress or run the risk of them forgetting to return with them which can be a little frustrating.
The food arrived in a decent amount of time which was welcome as we were tight for time after slipping out from work.
What was placed before us was pretty average. The presentation wasn’t out of this world but it looked appealing.
There was a decent portion of macaroni cheese and two triangles of garlic bread which were quite hard and a little bit chewy as if it had been reheated after its initial cooking.
The side of peas was minuscule. It was a heaped tablespoon of the veg so wasn’t really what would be considered enough for a portion. That said, peas weren’t an option as a side on the menu so it was good to have got them. The handful of salad was OK, the leaves were a bit dry but the cucumber was tasty. The macaroni cheese was delicious. The cheese was full of flavour and didn’t taste artificial. It was much better than any of the mac ‘n’ cheese I had sampled across the Pond so top marks for that. It was piping hot and filling so I was happy. The coleslaw was crunchy and the dressing creamy and not at all vinegary which it can sometimes be.
On the other side of the table things weren’t looking so good. What arrived wasn’t really a crumbled falafel but a veggie burger plonked on top. The sesame seeds were also absent. My friend said the whole dish was a little bland and dry so she made do with her fries which were demolished in no time and were pretty decent as chips go.
Can’t complain as the it came in under £30 so was a bargain but it’s not the place to go for a celebratory meal.
For a pub dinner this Hungry Horse can beam with pride because it left us feeling full.