On the drive back from the Smuggler’s Trod, we decided to pop into the JD Wetherspoon pub the Benjamin Fawcett, which is listed in the Good Beer Guide. I will take the text from their web-site regarding the origins of the pub name:
“This pub stands facing the well-known Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, a local landmark since 1880. The open area in front of the chapel was once occupied by Benjamin Fawcett’s shop and print works, before he moved to a house and workshop in Wansford Road. Fawcett was one of the great colour printers of the 19th century and a leading employer in Driffield. In 2003, the Benjamin Fawcett Memorial Gardens were officially opened on his Wansford Road works site. Today, Fawcett’s highly acclaimed prints sell for hundreds of pounds.”
This is the breakfast that I was served. I didn’t notice that there was no egg, but the team member came back around two minutes later just as I was about to put pepper on the food and told me it was the wrong meal. He placed my correct breakfast down and then took my plate (and I had removed the butter) away and to my slight surprise, he gave it to another customer. How the pub thought that was acceptable, I don’t know, but it really isn’t.
The set-up here is also odd. My hot drink mug wasn’t brought over, so I asked when the breakfast was served where it was. He told me they don’t bring them, they’re help yourself mugs at the machines, which means customers can easily just take one without paying. It took me a couple of minutes to get a hot drink and then return to my breakfast, although as previously mentioned it was another customer who got my breakfast anyway whilst I got a nice hot one.
I ordered half a pint of the Stag from Exmoor Ales, a well-kept golden bitter which was at the appropriate temperature and tasted as expected. They had a choice of five real ales, although no dark beers when I looked.
The pub was generally dirty and unclean, with no obvious managerial oversight. It seemed in a general state of chaos, with customer issues arising all over the place so there was an element of fire-fighting going on. It might just have been an off-day, as the reviews are broadly average for a JD Wetherspoon outlet. Some random complaints include:
“Always cold and bad drafts due to staff repeatedly propping g open FIRE exits as a means for customers and staff alike to take a shortcut for a cigarette. Hence smoke and smell of cigarettes is blown in, even though they have a smoking area. Very poor”
“Dirty cutlery. Disgusting food. Ordered steak and kidney pudding. How they have a cheek to charge what they do for this tiny, revolting meal I do not know. Will never eat here again. Not surprised so many are closing. Who wants to eat this rubbish!”
I actually like their steak and kidney pudding, so it’s me that eats that rubbish 🙂
“Walked in bought a drink , then looked at the menu , all the meals come with a drink !!! As I’d already bought one , I decided not to eat !!!!!!!! Won’t go in there again !!”
Have two drinks 🙂
“Just had well left the 6oz American burger because it was absolutely disgusting it was the smallest burger and I counted 21 chips honestly the kids meals are bigger it was also missing red onion.”
21 chips sounds reasonable to me (credit for counting them) and I’m guessing that the 6oz burger was, er, 6oz?
Anyway, I digress down the rabbit hole of reading reviews and there are plenty of positive ones. The breakfast and coffee was around £4.20 which is ridiculously good value for money, so I can’t complain about that at all. I can see why they’re in the Good Beer Guide, but it doesn’t seem ideal that the team members are taking meals that have been sitting on a customer’s table and then serving them to another customer. I’d visit again for drinks, I might be a little more cautious about ordering food though.