(Beach Boys) The Honey Pot, Basildon
It was late Sunday afternoon, we’d just enjoyed the latest Star Wars movie – in glorious 3D IMAX – at the Empire cinema on Basildon’s ‘Festival Leisure Park’, known to everybody as ‘Bas Vegas’. We decided to eat out, and I had a hankering for a steak, a fillet steak. We’d driven past the ‘Honey Pot’ at the entrance to the leisure park, and I had fond memories of fillet steaks at Harvesters in the past, so we thought we’d give it a try.
We were seated promptly, and ‘our’ waiter (Matt) took our drinks order, the Honey Pot is a veritable ‘Tardis’, seemingly much larger inside that it appears from outside. I then examined the menu and was saddened to discover that Harvester no longer serve fillet steaks, indeed steaks are almost an afterthought, listed firmly at the far end of the menu.
I guess that Harvester’s owners expect steak lovers to have moved to their “Miller & Carter” brand.
We skipped the ‘complimentary’ trip to the salad bar, it looked like a war zone as we walked past but tried the starters. Val tried the ‘loaded’ potato skins, while I ordered the Gressingham duck wings. The potato skins were scarcely ‘loaded’, but the duck wings were smoky and tasty, there was no sign of the promised ‘Caribbean Piri-Piri dip’ but no matter.
Throughout our meal the waiting staff appeared confused, waitresses wandering with trays of drinks seeking thirsty customers and offering dishes to diners almost at random. That said, it was 5pm on a Sunday afternoon, the place was rammed, and the service we received was okay.
For mains, Val had ordered Scampi and chips, while I, disappointed at the absence of Fillet steak, ordered a small Rump steak, with jacket potato, a half rack of ribs and a side order of ‘onion petals’. There’s not much to be said about Scampi and chips, but Val enjoyed it.
My steak was well cooked, the ribs were tender, if a tad dry and disappointing – but I have had some very, very good ribs in recent years. I had to request some soured cream to go with my jacket potato, but it was brought promptly. I was pleased with my order of ‘Onion Petals’ – these were new to me, but much nicer than most Onion Rings.
We skipped dessert so two courses, with a glass of wine and pint of lager came to a tad over forty quid, I paid on the machine and slipped our waiter a cash tip.
The food was okay if bland, but reasonably priced, service was adequate… overall our experience was okay, if (again) uninspiring. I don’t see us returning any time soon, but looking round at the clientele – mostly family groups and teenagers – I suspect that we no longer fit Harvester’s target demographic.