Sunday Lunch at the Summerhouse

The Summerhouse

The Summerhouse in Weston-super-Mare is probably the place I visit most often, the reasons for this are geographical, historical and habit. It is currently owned by the Marstons chain so uses a corporate menu, though they also usually have a range of specials available too.

Though the quality of the food has fluctuated over the years, however the service has always been really good, friendly and genuine. The food is typical pub grub, nothing awful, but nothing really special, just good food, cooked well, served with a smile. They also, as they are a pub, usually have a nice range of beers on tap.

A last minute decision meant that we decided to go out for Sunday lunch and after a little hesitation and decision making, we chose the Summerhouse. The decor and furniture is quite stereotypically pub like, dark wood, dark carpets, brass fittings. You know that the place is a pub, but the internal layout means that the “actual” pub bit is on the ground floor, whilst there is a nearly separate restaurant area on the first floor (and on a mezzanine).

The menu is full of typical pub menu choices, stuff that is placed on the grill, dropped into a deep fat fryer or bunged into a microwave! Not that I expect much moe than that with this kind of place. My wife went with the pie, my son chose fish and chips, I perused the menu and plumped for the Sunday lunch which was a reasonable £7.15.

As we were quite early, for a Sunday, the food arrived promptly, I had a huge plate, covered in vegetables, a portion of cauliflower cheese in its own little dish, roast potatoes, boiled potatoes, a small jug of gravy and a large Yorkshire Pudding. It took me a while to find the roast beef that was on the bottom of the plate. I did initially feel that the portion of beef was a little on the small side, but when you consider the price and the large quantities of vegetables perhaps it wasn’t so small after all.

I was hoping that this was going to be fresh hand carved beef, alas I was to be disappointed, it had been sliced on an electric slicer! The beef itself was tender and had some flavour, but nothing special. Certainly a lot better than a lot of the beef, you usually find in “cheap” roast beef dinners. The vegetables were nice, the cauliflower cheese was a nice touch. According to the menu, you can have “unlimited” roasties and vegetables, however it wasn’t very clear about how you would get more veg and roasties. Having said that, and as pointed out to me by my wife, the portions you get to start with are quite large and generous, so you would need to be really hungry to actually want more veg. When you consider that a roast beef dinner at a supermarket cafe, where y queue up to order is usually in the £4.95 price bracket, I do think that the Summerhouse meal was good value for money.

We did enjoy our meal, my son polished off the fish and chips, and my wife really enjoyed her pie. The service was excellent and friendly.

What did I expect?

chicken curry

We went to the Summerhouse for a meal. I had a chicken curry, which was just okay. Felt like it was something that I would have microwaved from a supermarket, but then what did I expect ordering a curry in a pub restaurant.

I don’t think I would order it again.

Summerhouse Steak

Out of all my local pubs and eateries, coffee shops aside, I have probably been to the Summerhouse more than any other.

A few years ago it went through a phase of poor quality and a lack of imagination, but on a more recent visit, the magic seemed to be back. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a gastropub or a magnet for foodies, this is a pub that sells pub food. It’s of decent value and my experience recently is that it is also of decent quality.

One of the nice things about the menu, are the specials, and though these disappeared a few years ago, they have been back on the menu now for a while. The main menu alongside the traditional pub fare has a few things that raised my eyebrows. Kerlan Cod, a cod loin covered in a Keralan sauce made with coconut milk, mussels, spinach, green chilli, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Greek Lamb, tender lamb with cherry tomatoes, raisins, aubergine and black olives in a red wine and mint sauce, served with cous cous.

On a recent visit, though tempted by the specials, I in the end opted for the ribeye steak with chips. A very traditional pub meal and one that really shouldn’t be a problem for any decent pub kitchen.

Well so how was it?

I asked for my steak to be cooked rare, and it was cooked just how I like it, medium-rare. It was a good steak and was quite tender. The chips were crispy on the outside and fluffy in the inside. These were traditional chips, no french fries here (though I do prefer fries). The mushroom was grilled, as was the tomato and worked well. The peas were peas and nothing special there.

I got what I ordered, it was cooked well.

Alongside my steak I had a pint of Marston’s Pedigree, there is a wider choice of beers in the bar area, and you could have one of those if you wanted.

As for the service, it was just right, not too intrusive and there just when you needed it. That is quite a challenge, sometimes the service can be too “in your face” which is a style that has come over from America, that doesn’t always work too well here in Blighty, or you have the other extreme, where you can never find a member of the waiting team when you need them.

Overall we enjoyed our experience and food and will be going again. It’s as though the magic has returned to the Summerhouse.