The Slug and Lettuce in Sale was busy without being rammed - surely a good sign. Indeed, whenever we drive past this central bar-restaurant there always appear to be plenty of customers. That of itself must be a recommendation in these straitened times both for the economy and for restaurateurs especially.
Our total bill with offers came to under £85 for two courses and four drinks apiece, roughly £21 per head. Food was good to very good for price and venue. Drinks fair to good. No complaints. %)
Reason for choosing venue
We were a party of four long-standing friends, three of whom celebrate our birthdays around the same time. Several years ago, in its previous incarnation as a Hogshead we began the tradition of an annual celebration. Quite simply with 2-4-1 cocktails and half-price food on Mondays it has always offered great value for money, even if the food & drinks have not been quite top-notch.
Between us we selected: two 8-oz rump steaks served with chips, onion-rings and tomato - @ £5.37; an open chicken pie served with chips and peas - @ £4.47; and, a farmhouse-style beef pie again served with chips and peas - @ £4.47.
The pommes frites were actually surprisingly good: certainly not the American-style fries (which we had been served in previous years) but neither were they the fashionable chunky blocks-of-potato chips; rather a tasty traditional British chip, crisp on the outside with a pliant but non-soggy potato centre. For the first time on our collective visits, not one chip remained on the plates.
I ordered my rump steak “bleu”. The flesh was surprisingly tender - it sliced effortlessly - and was of an amazingly very good quality with a rich flavour and sufficient juiciness. Only a couple of days previously I had a blue fillet steak in The House Restaurant which was the best steak since dining at Le Flora whilst mini-cruising on Brittany Ferries’ Pont Aven about three years ago. Whilst not as tasty nor quite so tender as House’s exquisite offering, it compared far more favourably than many a steak I have sampled in restaurants for quadruple the price.
The chicken open-pie contained large hunks of perfectly cooked breast-meat in a luscious white-wine cream-sauce on a puff-pastry base. As my companion's teeth sank into the pastry one could even hear the crisp snap of the top flakes.
The other mains, along with the dishes above were completely scoffed. Nothing remained on any of the plates barring the cutlery and the odd tell-tale sign that there had been food on the surface. Given this state of affairs and all the glowing comments from around the table, I can say nothing other than all heartily recommended. And a bonus at under £20 for all four dishes.
Between us we ordered: chocolate tart; cheesecake; lemon crumble tart; cookie cup - @ £2.48. We all sampled everyone else’s pudding. Whilst everyone enjoyed their second course and not a crumb was returned to the kitchen, the unanimous verdict was that the lemon crumble tart was the pièce de résistance! Neither overly tart nor sweet, it was light in texture and glided down the throat. Mmm-mmm…
For obvious reasons we were there for the 2-4-1 offer on cocktails. Between us we glugged: pornstar martinis; white Russians; Bombay breeze; strawberry daiquiri; pink ladies; and a few beers to boot.
This was the first time we were slightly disappointed with the cocktails - perhaps because we have been spoiled by Bloom Live’s superb offerings. As an example, the pornstars, whilst having a distinctive passionfruit flavour, were sweeter and verging on cloying. There was no panache and the drink seemed sluggish compared to the expert cocktail-makers’ offerings at Bloom’s. Disappointingly the shot of sparkling white was utterly flat and without a single bubble. Additionally there was no flambéed half passionfruit floating as if on an exotic pool. At @ £8.95 (as opposed to @ £7.50 at Bloom's) they do not represent good value for money. The other cocktails could be similarly critiqued.
Only one that was sampled could be considered first rate: the espresso martinis. Smooth textured & flavoured and a visual delight, @ £7.95, they ought to come with a warning - I was wired, alert and hyperactive until four in the morning. Delicious though. %D
For the first time ever the manager actually led our party to a table and informed us of the name of our waiter for the evening.
The lovely Rob, who co-incidently had served us the previous year, (shockingly perhaps) remembered us. One of our party is a tad curmudgeonly whilst we other three are ebullient. One of our party continuously leered at his shapely derrière. Unperturbed, Rob coped more than admirably with this ostensibly difficult admixture - bless him! He always kept a smile upon his visage as well as being sufficiently confident to engage in badinage.
Staff at the bar were likewise affable and, for the first time in our experience, speedily efficient. Additionally, and yet again for the first time, the kitchen staff did not keep us hanging on and hanging on for our dinner.
In short, efficient service with a smile. %)
For ablies, toileting facilities were downstairs in the basement. For obvious reasons I cannot comment thereon.
However, yet again for the first time ever, I did not have the embarrassment of having to request that the disabled toilet be unlocked for my usage. So I was able to discreetly and independently sort myself out without feeling like a second-class citizen. The facilities were spotless and had a fresh aroma.
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