An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Friday, 5 November 2010

The Spoons Beer & Burger.

For a living I manage a team of people. The Campaign for greater cooking lager appreciation isn’t a full time job; I make a living as most people do by sitting in an office and looking moderately busy whilst pissing about on the internet looking for cheap car insurance and 0% credit cards. One member of my team poked his head up from behind his computer this lunchtime and said “Friday filth?” Now this isn’t a bizarre office ritual involving the viewing and distribution of pornography, it’s the office code for “Fancy some fast food for lunch?” Basically a trip to either the chippy, MacDonald’s or the KFC. My reply was to ask him whether he fancied a beer and burger in the Wetherpoons. Mark Dredge wrote a nice blog on beer and burger matching, here, but me being a price sensitive soul notices the price disparities in the UK market. Fabpow, bitchin’ and all that. A MacDonald’s or Burger King is cheaper in the UK than other European counties. At about £4 or £5 compared to 7or €8. However cheapness isn’t an absolute, it’s a comparative. To compare I can get burger, chips & pint in the Spoons for £4.99. The burger at 6oz is bigger than anything at a fast food franchise, I can get mayonnaise on my chips (something you can’t get in UK franchises) and there is a pint thrown in.

It can’t be any good though can it? Came the reply of my erstwhile colleague. The only reply to this is “I think it’s alright, it’s a piss take to use the word gourmet on the option to put bacon and cheese on it, but you can eat worse, you can make your own mind up”, so off we trotted to the McPub. The Spoons seem to be liked and loathed in equal measure in the beer blogosphere but I am firmly in the “like” category. I like ‘em because they are not crap and pretty cheap. The best thing I ever read about the Spoons was from a market analyst writing about their share price prospects in the FT newspaper. He wrote something along the lines of “they are the place you start to drink in when you decide to no longer be taken for a mug” This of course is a reference to the price competitiveness of the chain of managed pubs. We walked past a couple of grotty looking pubs before we got to the Spoons and this particular one was a smart place with presentable, friendly and efficient bar staff. I sunk a Guinness with mine; my colleague sunk a Tuborg and we sat in a clean and pleasant area full of tables. None of the grottiness of a fast food joint that needs its tables and floor cleaning. No screaming kids eating happy meals, just a silent TV with subtitles showing Sky News as we moaned about work and discussed our weekend plans. To share the conversation my plans involve doing whatever the lady squeeze tells me to do, and my colleagues plan involves necking lager, watching football and pulling birds. All of which he appears quite good at. Arguably better than me on all 3 counts.

The burgers arrived. And if I were to be critical you don’t get a lot of chips, but the burger itself was arguably better than a burger franchise. My colleague agreed with me. That’s pretty decent he said, bugger MacDonald’s. “and you get a pint thrown in, we should come here again” he concluded.

Part of management I have discovered is mentoring those in your team. After showing him the delights of a cheap burger and pint it was time to share the knack of wandering back to the office without people knowing you’ve had a crafty Friday pint. Wrigley’s extra chewing gum. Minty fresh breath to breath over people in our tedious departmental meeting this afternoon. He’s lucky, he gets to sit at the back and piss about with his phone. I have to sit at the front with the other “managers”


Mark said...

I think the 'spoons burger is great! I had one yesterday and it seems to have improved as well. No complaints from me and it arrived before I'd even had time to write detailed notes on the aroma of the ale I was sipping!

Cooking Lager said...

The Guinness has none of that "aroma", is lovely and cold, and slips down a treat. I'm sorry that we didn't write notes on either the Guinness or Tuborg, We'll try and do better next week. It was fabpow, though.


best thing is that you can order any of the guest pints of pong along with your burger. some of which are over £2 in my local spoons.

good show!

The Beer Nut said...

Dammit! I can't read the phrase "cheap car insurance" now without imagining a Russian accent.

Curmudgeon said...

"No screaming kids"? In my recent experience, Spoons are now full of screaming kids :-(

Baron Orm said...

You are wrong about the lack of mayo - you just need to ask for it as it's hidden under the counter ;)


thebeermonkey said...

I quite like Mcpub(wetherspoons) for a nice meal with beer attached but tend to avoid the burger/fries option due to the overcooked/dry nature of the burger and the lack of fries. I tend to go for the curry option or steak but i don't know if thats available during lunchtime but,I guess that, for less than a fiver for a burger and a beer then it's pretty good value.
Sure beats McDonalds, KFC and the usualfast food haunts.

Now, if only Greggs sold beer with their sausage rolls,cheese and onion pasties and steak bakes. Then, that would be a lunch to savour.
What beer would I pair with a Gregg's sausage roll?

Paul Bailey said...

I agree with Curmudgeon. Our Spoons is full of screaming, and out of control kids, and what's more the tables are full of dirty plates that the staff haven't had time to clear away. The tables themselves also need a jolly good clean, as does the floor.

I've practically given up on the place, even though they've got a beer festival on at the moment!

Rabidbarfly said...

he goes to one twissup and suddenly he's in the pub all day! ;-)

Curmudgeon said...

Since I last visited, the "Beer & Burger" has gone up from £4.85 to the £4.99 you mentioned, and my preferred "Gourmet Burger" from £6.35 to £6.49. IMV it's worth paying the extra for the cheese, bacon and onion rings.

Still managed to get a very nice drop of Thornbridge Lumford with it, though :-)

There were, astonishingly, no screaming kids whatsoever.

Cooking Lager said...

I've never disagreed with your or Paul's perspective on the Spoons, Mudge. Not all Spoons are equal. Whether it is your cup of tea or not is your choice, and we are free to like different things. My post is based on my own experience of the chain. I like them. I don't object to bacon & cheese on a burger, I only smile at the word "gourmet"

Anonymous said...

Do i have to get an auto insurance when i buy a used car? or else, they don't sell the car to a person who doesn't have an auto insurance? I currently have a lease car that will be returned this January next year. But i want to get a used car soon so that i can work on the car, but i won't be driving it around. The car will be in my garage until i return the lease car and get an auto insurance. I live in Philadelphia, PA
Any suggestion?