Last Tuesday we were invited to visit our local Horse and Groom, Harvester to try out their new menu! We don’t often visit the Horse and Groom as we have a Harvester 5 minutes from our door, so it was actually a nice change. The Harvester chain promotes its self as a family friendly restaurant, so we were keen to put this to the test and see what new food they had on offer. If I’m honest, our expectations were not high. While we have never had a bad experience, our experiences tend to have been mediocre.
The Horse and Groom Harvester is situated in a growing village in East Sussex called Polegate. While the setting isn’t anything special. It sits next to a crossroads on a busy road. On the plus side, it’s also very easy to find. The building though is a lovely old style pub with a beautiful mature oak tree in the outside garden. At night, the place lights up and sparkles like a diamond. There is a small but adequate parking area at the back of the building, but if it does fill up, there are plenty of places to park about within a few minutes walk.
Family Friendly Dining
We booked in for 5pm. I was a little worried. Finlay’s just started back at school and I was conscious of it being a long day for him. The same with Emmie, the witching hours begins at about 5pm. Finlay does still struggle to sit still for long periods even with activity sheets. Emmie, generally well behaved can be unpredictable past 5pm. So I was really counting on the Family Friendly ethos and relaxed atmosphere to get me through the meal as I knew it wasn’t going to be easy!
Once we arrived, I was given the allergen file. The restaurant had been advised Emmie was dairy free. To be honest, it was a bit daunting when I opened it. However no sooner had Flipped the first page when the waitress gave me a card which links to the Allergen information on the website and it was really easy to navigate through to see what foods were suitable. I thought this was really good.
Inside, the restaurant was really clean, bright and modern looking. Apparently, it has recently been refurbished at the beginning of the year, but it was really nice. It looked so much better than I remembered it. The kids were given their activity packs and Emmie wanted to crack on with hers straight away. Finlay wanted to order! The Main Menu had so much choice, I struggled to choose. It all sounded wonderful and I wanted one of everything, but I settled for Cracker Jack Prawns followed by the 83 Combo (Half Chicken, Half Ribs, chips and sweetcorn). Chris knew what he wanted instantly and ordered Grilled Lamb Koftas followed by the Ultimate Mixed Grill!
The kid’s Menu has a good selection to chose from and you can order a meal deal that comes with a main, Unlimited Salad, dessert and drink. I was slightly disappointed that the choice of drinks was a glass of juice or milk and not a fruit shoot type drink. I didn’t bring Emmie’s cup and at 18 months, she’s not capable of drinking from a glass yet. So I had to order her an extra drink so she could have one. What is great though is the kid’s menu is split into ‘smaller bites’ or ‘bigger appetites’, so children of different ages will get the right amount of food.
Finlay knew straight away that he wanted fish fingers, chips and broccoli (the kid loves broccoli). He also helped himself to a small salad. Emmie was slightly more restricted due to her diet, so I ended up ordering her the same. Apart from she had beans, not broccoli. It would have been thrown over her shoulder.
As we ordered starters the waitress asked if we wanted the kid’s meals brought out with them so they could start eating. When our starters arrived they smelled delicious and tasted even better. By the time the Mains arrived, I was actually blown away. The quality was top notch. Nothing was dry or overcooked and it was just bursting with flavour. We opted for sage and onion seasoning on our fries, but it was a little bit overpowering, sometimes less is more! The Harvester overall, however, has definitely upped its game!
The kids seemed to enjoy their meals. Emmie was fussing slightly, but I think that was more to do with the time than the food. She did throw a lot on the floor, along with napkins, crayons and anything else in her reach. The staff didn’t seem to mind though and I did clean up what I could. It does appear to live up to it’s relaxed and friendly atmosphere statement!
After dinner and suitably stuffed, our pudding holes needed filling (isn’t it funny there’s always room for pudding!). Finlay ordered the create your own sundae. Emmie had Jelly with fruit. Chris had a trio of desserts, he couldn’t make up his mind and I had the Millionaires Sunday. I wish I had room for more, especially my all time favourite Cherry Pie. I knew though I just wouldn’t have been able to eat it after my dinner. We polished them off and were offered tea or coffee. Finlay made more use of the salad bar and devoured 3 bowls of pickled onions. Let me just say this wasn’t our intention and we were more than sure they would all reappear later (they didn’t!). Emmie spent most of dessert spooning her remaining Jelly form one bowl to another, but it kept her quiet and stopped her trying to eat her crayons!
All in all we had a fabulous time at the Harvester, the menu was vast, the food was tasty and bursting with flavour and the staff, very accommodating. We will most definitely be going back sooner rather than later!
*Disclaimer – we were invited to eat at the Harvester free of charge for the purpose of this review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own