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: Off the rails.

THE last time I ate in the Station Hotel was way back in the late 1960s when I had a T-bone steak so good that I still remember it. This meal too was unforgettable but for different reasons.

The Station Hotel is a beautiful old building made of red brick known to the locals as ``The Killer''.

Its half-timbered walls and leaded windows cry out to be black and white but instead is painted bright blue with a red and yellow banner hanging out front which gives it an air of the circus.

My beloved and I were joined by my daughter Shereen and her boyfriend, Neal.

Ruth, the waitress, brought us the menu which offered to replace the meals of dissatisfied diners. It was to prove an ominous sign.

But still, at that stage, everything looked very good.

Neal and Shereen too were hungry. For starters, Neal chose the soup and the rest of us chose the `Famous Mixed Dippers', the menu described them as `a selection of breaded mushrooms, home cooked potato slices, battered onion rings, crispy battered chicken strips, breaded garlic and ginger prawns served with two dipsranch dressing and sweet chilli'.

Neal's soup was chunky vegetable - it looked nice and it was served with a rustic roll, but it was very bland.

The dippers arrived and they were awful. The mushrooms were covered in what seemed like the culinary version of sand and cement.

The prawns were without trace of either garlic or ginger that I could discern and though the coating on everything was hard and dry the whole dish swam in grease, the chilli dressing tasted like diluted cheap jam and the potato slices were dreadful, hard without crispness with an unidentifiable aftertaste that was very unpleasant. We were all disappointed but looked forward to the main course.

My beloved and Neal had ordered the 10 oz rumps with mushrooms.

Shereen had chosen an 8 oz peppered sirloin, described as ``8oz sirloin with a creamy peppercorn sauce dusted with cracked peppers''.

I chose the steak and prawn combo. All the meals were served with ``crisp and fresh mixed leaf salad tossed in tomato and onion''.

The salad was not a selection of fresh leaves; it was as limp as an undertaker's handshake and looked gritty and unwashed. Ruth saw us peering at it, as though it held the answer to the mysteries of life, and brought a replacement bowl of fresher leaves.

The rest of the meals arrived. Shereen's sauce was a somewhat unexpected orange colour and, search though we did, there was not a single peppercorn or flake of cracked pepper to be seen. She said it ruined the flavour of the steak so much that she couldn't eat it.

In fairness, Ruth immediately changed it and came back with a new steak accompanied by a small gravy boat of mushroom sauce.

She apologised for the first sauce, saying the chef had recently changed it to a red pepper version. It was lucky the second sauce hadn't been poured over her meat as the taste was indescribable. It certainly tasted nothing like the chopped mushrooms in it and was, without fear of contradiction, the most repulsive sauce I have ever tasted, with a sweetness that belied the mushrooms.

Three sorry-looking prawns sat on top of my steak and, as it was clear they were the same type that had been in the dippers, I didn't hold out much hope for them.

Our chips came dripping in grease with some a lot darker than others. None of us could eat them. Even my beloved, who hates to leave anything on the plate as he sees it as an insult to the chef, couldn't eat the chips.

The ice cream dessert, which the men had, managed to have no flavour. Shereen and I shared a giant profiterole which was quite nice but served with squirty cream and the same tasteless ice cream.

I don't like to criticise anyone's efforts, but I can only find two good things about the whole experience - the steaks were good and Ruth's waitress service was excellent. She needed to be the Koffi Annan of the restaurant world to go between the chef and diners. I don't know if it was the quality of the food or the cooking.

Maybe the chef was having a bad day - maybe it was a mix of both but, with all that grease, it gave the nickname `the Killer' a whole new meaning. Sorry.

the bill

3 mixed dippers, pounds 3.50 each; 1 soup, pounds 2.50; two 10 oz rump steaks, pounds 10.45 each; 8oz peppered sirloin, pounds 11.45; steak and prawn combo, pounds 12.00.

All the above served with flat mushrooms added 50p to each meal; 1 profiterole, pounds 3.75; two ice cream desserts, pounds 4.50; two split orange juice, pounds 2.04; half Stella Artois pounds 1.12. Total pounds 68.76

notes

Station Hotel Beefeater, Llandudno Junction. Tel: 01492 581259 Service: excellent Surroundings: bizarre colours in dining area Food: varied menu, two vegetarian dishes.

Disabled access: no problem.

CAPTION(S):

Dorinda McCann at the Station Hotel Beefeater Llandudno Junction
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 8, 2002
Words:864
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