If you are looking for a family friendly restaurant to take the kids for a festive treat or somewhere to grab some food after a day's Christmas shopping, then The Harvester is a great choice. We were invited to try out the new Harvester restaurant in Southwater, Telford. We booked a table for 4.45pm on the Wednesday, so the restaurant was quite quiet with just a few other families eating an early evening meal. It's a good time to eat when you have kids to avoid the busy, dinner time rush, giving yourself time to relax. The venue itself is large and spacious and is laid out with a touch of a rustic farmhouse theme, but with some modern, quirky twists, making it really interesting and fun.
We were greeted at the door, shown to our seats and given menus. Minutes later the waitress took our orders - using nothing but her memory to record our meal choices, which was an impressive feat!
We opted for refillable drinks and this proved a highlight of the meal! The drinks station was a funky, touchscreen affair that allowed you to choose your drink (including branded Pepsi, Tango and R Whites) then let you add a twist of flavouring. Strawberry, lime, vanilla and cherry flavourings were added to Pepsi Max, lemonade and orange Tango, much to the delight of the kids and to Ian who got quite a taste for Tango with a twist of strawberry.
We then collected our salad from the salad bar. There were some lovely things to choose from including black olives, silverskin pickled onions, gherkins, rice salad, pickled red cabbage and noodles alongside traditional salad items such as lettuce, cucumber, potato salad and coleslaw. Everything was well stocked and the area was clean. Next we added our choice of dressings and topped our salad with croutons, seeds and onion bits. The bread station had both brown and white rolls with a choice of butter or sunflower margarine. Again it was well stocked and clean.
Everybody enjoyed their salad, which we had while waiting for our main course. It was fresh and we enjoyed the variety. Our food arrived at our table within 15 minutes. Everything was hot and the portions were very generous. We had herb battered halloumi, chips and mushy peas served with a little bowl of tartare sauce. It was presented well. I was very pleased to see such an innovative menu option for vegetarians, offering some good, tasty comfort food. Freddy ate from the kids' menu and ended up with the default kids' vegetarian option of pasta with tomato sauce and cheese, served with a side of fries and sweetcorn, which was OK, but not as exciting or adventurous as our meals. (They do also offer soy and leek sausages on the kids' menu, but Freddy is a Quorn sausage boy and not a fan of the vegetable based ones, so that limited his options.)
When we had finished our tables were promptly cleared and we were given the menus for dessert. To be honest we were pretty full from our mains, but Freddy had an ice cream with strawberry sauce, which came in a little jar and looked really cute. Kezia opted for the lemon meringue pie with cream and raspberry coulis, which was very well presented. We all had a nibble and it was very nice. The real Cornish style dairy ice cream that they serve in the Harvester is really good and the variety of sundaes on offer is quite extensive, and includes their famous Rocky Horror, Eton Mess or Oreo Cookies and Cream.
Overall, we were impressed with the surroundings, found the staff quite friendly and helpful and we enjoyed the food. The salad bar and unlimited drinks were both highlights, but we were also impressed with the speed of service and the size of the portions. It was nice to see several vegetarian options on the adult menu. Our mains cost £7.69 and Freddy's Bigger Appetites kids' meal was £4.99, both including unlimited salad, making it good value.
The Harvester is definitely a good venue for feeding the family. They have a festive menu on offer over the Christmas period, (with three courses from £14.99 for adults and two courses for £5.99 for the kids) perfect for a special meal out.
Harvester also have a take-away menu, which includes a box of salad from the salad bar. Perfect for those nights where you want a nice meal and a night in and don't want to cook! A breakfast menu is also available, with unlimited cooked or continental breakfast options and unlimited drinks. A nice way to start the day.
Check out your local Harvester and look at the menus online at www.harvester.co.uk.