Having popped into the Carousel on Vernon Road a few times to meet up with family members at lunchtime, I decided it was time to take my three young daughters along for tea on Friday.
The tricky thing when trying to keep a three-year-old, a six-year-old and a nine-year-old happy on the food front is they all have varying tastes in food – and varying concentration spans.
We were given a warm welcome by the helpful staff at the Carousel, and the girls were delighted to be handed crayons and a Scooby Doo activity booklet to keep them occupied while the food was being prepared.
The Carousel, reasonably busy with a mix of diners and post-work drinkers, is part of the Brewers Fayre chain so it came as no surprise to see the traditonal pub fare on the menu.
There is a decent selection of starters including tomato soup (£1.99), prawn cocktail (£3.99), six chicken wings (£4.49) and garlic mushrooms (£3.79).
Having eyed the desserts available on the menu I gave the starters a miss as I would have struggled to eat three courses and wanted to leave room for pudding!
I decided to have the smothered chicken, a grilled chicken breast topped with bacon and melted cheddar cheese, served with barbecue sauce, coleslaw, salad, garlic bread and chips.
This was included on the 2 for £10 menu, as was my eldest’s choice of gammon steak and pineapple, which arrived with a pile of chips and peas.
The two younger girls chose the poppin’ chicken, chips and beans, and the sausages and mash, with peas and gravy, which both cost £3.99.
My chicken was cooked nicely with a golden brown cheese layer enveloping the bacon nestled on top of the breast.
The coleslaw was an ideal accompaniment, as was the barbecue sauce, but I did not get chance to sample the garlic bread as the younger girls decided to claim it!
The gammon vanished swiftly off my daughter’s plate so that was also a smash hit.
The poppin’ chicken meal was hardly touched by my youngest, but that was more to do with her mood than the meal as the chicken was eaten by her sisters, who said it was very tasty.
The sausages were very popular, as was the gravy and peas, although some of the mash was left as she could not eat it all.
For dessert my eldest and I plumped for the chocolate fudge cake with ice cream, while the younger girls chose the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream.
The chocolate fudge cake was delicious and the brownies also got the thumbs-up from the girls, who had magically regained their appetite!
The manager on duty and her staff were very attentive and were constantly offering their help, and when my three-year-old was getting agitated the manager came over to us.
She struck up a conversation with the girls and pointed out pictures they could colour in the activity booklet and show her later, which they did on our exit from the pub.
The food at the Carousel is good, solid pub grub – excellent value at under £30 for the four of us – but the outstanding customer service lifts it above a lot of its rivals in and around the town.
Raitings out of ten: Food 7; menue choice 7; service 8; decor 8; ambience 7; overall 7