Wednesday 19 September 2018

Fantastic Family Time at Harvester Restaurants

JJ hits the ripe old age of 15 in a couple of weeks and his favourite celebratory thing to do is eat, so when Harvester invited us to the Horse and Groom in Polegate, East Sussex we jumped at the chance. I'll be honest, our family used to be loyal Harvester customers but about five years ago they had a menu overhaul and we stopped going as we didn't like the changes. With this in mind and another new menu, I was keen to go and see what Harvester could offer our family of five nowadays.

I won't beat around the bush, we had a great meal at the Harvester. None of us had been to the Horse and Groom before and it is a super venue, there are a few different seating areas, all with modern furnishings and lights, so different to the Harvester of my childhood when there were pitchforks on the walls! There were still the classic elements to remind me I was in a Harvester, like the salad bar, help yourself fresh bread rolls, open fronted kitchen and rotisserie chicken cabinet.

On arrival at the Horse and Groom we were greeted quickly by Mo and he asked if we wanted a children's menu. I questioned if the girls could have it as they are 11 and it suggests on the website that it is for 10 years and younger but Mo, said it was fine and the portion sizes should be suitable too. This was great to hear as the £5.99 price tag for a meal, drink and dessert is fabulous.

Mo then suggested my girls would be too old for colouring but I knew that at least one of them would want it, so we had a laugh about how hard it is to judge children, as Mo said many turn their noses up at his offer of the kiddie activity bag and crayons.

We were shown to a small area with just three tables and one was occupied when we arrived but by the time we left it was just us. Everywhere felt very clean and taken care of and its always nice when you can see into the kitchen and the chefs are in fresh whites.

We choose our drinks and all went for the same option of help yourself soda. My girls love this as it means they can add flavours like vanilla, peach and cherry to their Pepsi, lemonade or Robinsons squash. I personally just like the straight Diet Pepsi and it is good to have the option to refill as many times as I like for £2.90.

Our waitress was Lauren and she was such a nice girl. Even we we took ages choosing, or Miss E changed her mind, or we needed more cutlery, she was helpful and sympathetic. We couldn't have asked for a better waitress and our food all came out in good time and was fresh and hot.

Once we had ordered we headed up to the salad bar and it was well stocked and all the food looked fresh and good quality. There was also a large array of dressings and sauces on offer and the kids were made up that they could help themselves to as many white or brown bread rolls as they liked.

We just went for one sharing plate for a starter for the five of us and the £9.49 nachos platter was enough for us all to enjoy. JJ commented that he loved that there was a really decent portion of cheese on them and us girls appreciated them putting the toppings in separate dishes rather than on top as they usually do.

The adult menu has a great selection and the three of us choosing from that one each went for something different, so we could get a wide range of foods. Have a look what we had -

My husband went for the Harvester '83 combo - £13.99 with half rotisserie chicken, half rack of BBQ glazed ribs, sage and onion fries, corn on the cob and speciality gravy. He said that everything on his plate was really good and the meats were succulent and not dry at all.

JJ went for the mammoth Ultimate Mixed Grill - £21.49 (well it was his birthday), with a quarter portion of rotisserie chicken, 8oz rump steak, a half rack of BBQ glazed ribs, 7oz gammon steak, two pork sausages, two fried free-range eggs and two black pudding slices, and he even choose to double up on his chips for an extra £1. JJ loved his dinner and was loath to share any with any of us but Miss E did charm him into letting her have one of the sausages.

I had the Big Shorty, which is a Slow Roasted Rib of Beef, with a jacket potato and sour cream, coleslaw and corn on the cob - £17.49 and 49p for the sour cream. It's described as melt-in-the-mouth and it was but it also was really fatty and I had no idea that would be the case, so it wasn't such a good choice for me as I'm trying to cut down at the moment.

Both girls ate off the children's menu and the variety on there is excellent. There is a small appetites section, a larger appetites section and also a Harvester recommends section, which is what my girls choose from. This gave them the more 'grown up' options like ribs, steak and salmon.

Miss M went for the Ribs with sweet potato fries and corn on the cob - £6.49. She really enjoyed this and was pretty full after her salad, pasta and olives from the salad bar.

Miss E went for 4oz Rump Steak with sweet potato fries and peas. She found the steak a little chewy but I think this was as we ordered it medium/ well and as it was a small piece this meant it was cooked quite a lot. My husband ended up eating the steak and he insisted it was just fine.

Once we'd all finished the girls started to twitter about desserts and could they have a big one? In the end Miss E went for a child's dessert - the Build your own Cookie - £2.49, which she wasn't too fussed on to be honest as the cookie was quite soft as it had a mousse in it, whereas she thought it would be a crisp biscuit cookie. I probably ought to mention that after we had ordered Lauren came out to inform us that they didn't have any strawberries or blueberries that should have come with this dessert, but she offered strawberries in juice that they use in the sundaes and fudge pieces. Miss E was happy with this.

Miss M went for an adult dessert and opted for the Cookie Monster Freakshake - £5.49 and she was super happy with this milkshake/ dessert.

I took advantage of Miss M having an adult dessert and went for a children's Rocky Horror - £2.09 and this was more than perfect for me. I've always adored this dessert and to be able to have a mini portion of brownies, ice cream, cream, cone and sauce was wonderful.

JJ, I'm glad to say, realised he was stuffed and didn't go for a dessert or even a coffee and my husband joined him in abstaining, saying that he had thoroughly enjoyed his meal and was satisfied.

We left the restaurant after about an hour and forty-five minutes and headed home a very happy family. We'd had great food and there had been a nice relaxed ambiance at the restaurant.

In all we had a superb meal and we were all happy with our food choices, The one thing I'd comment is that some of the adult main courses are pretty pricey. In our local area it is normal to pay around £11 for a decent burger and chips, so these are on a par but for some of the dishes at £14 - £21 it felt a bit out of our price range as a family wanting to eat out. I suppose you do have to remember though that you get unlimited salad and bread rolls in the price of your main course. We thought the choice of kids meals, especially the deal were excellent and we'd happily buy those again.

I would say to definitely sign up to the mailing list as I often receive good deals, just last week I received details of their earlybird offer and this is where you can get 33% off any of their adult main meals if you eat between 2-5pm Monday to Friday. It really took me back, as years ago Harvester used to do the same earlybird offer and my family always went along and enjoyed the Original Combo!

I'm so pleased to see the Early Bird return and it will be enough to get my family going again, especially after the great meal we had on this visit. Just think the £13.99 meal my husband had (which would be my normal first choice) becomes just £9.37 with the 33% early bird discount.

Why not pin this post for later?

Harvester polegate pin

Disclosure:  We received our meal free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest. 
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