Brewers Fayre is a chain of pubs, and those using any establishment bearing that name can hardly be unaware of this: it’s slick, the...

Brewers Fayre is a chain of pubs, and those using any establishment bearing that name can hardly be unaware of this: it’s slick, the uniformed staff are all under the age of 25, and it can feel a bit soulless.

But does the security and order of a branded venue make for a good experience? For some time Matt and Cat thought not, and have had some rather poor meals there in previous years. But in keeping with their policy of revisiting establishments, they recently made a reluctant return visit to the place they had previously described as ‘dismal’. This time they were pleasantly surprised.

The meal deals were tempting, the menu was bright and chirpy, and perhaps most bright and chirpy of all were the perky young ladies behind the bar who seemed positively delighted at the prospect of having customers to entertain. Almost before Matt and Cat were in the door a girl bounced out and helped them to a table, explaining what was on the specials board as she did so. Cat enquired about how long the food would be, as the two were off to the cinema afterwards and did not want to miss the start of the film. They were reassured that the wait would be a short one – and so it transpired.

The Medina Quay is not bad, but it does have one feature shared by many generic carveries and chain pubs: it seems to be patronised by the extremely old and the extremely young. Not that either is a problem in moderation, but when you’re looking for a quiet drink and maybe a bite to eat, not everyone wants to be entertained by screams, shouts, and dribbling. And the babies are no better. Maybe it’s the large, clean, toilets, with disabled and baby-changing facilities. Maybe it’s the ample free parking. Maybe it’s the safe and predictable food. But somehow it’s always a fair bet that someone will need their nappy changing on the table right next to you.

On this particular visit Matt and Cat were obliged to overhear the conversation of a hard-of-hearing old Geordie couple who were obviously visiting the Island on a coach trip. During the meal their amiable bellows were interrupted by an even older fellow of their acquaintance who eventually managed to shamble over to them – then proceeded to recount at high volume and in excruciating detail the many, many medical procedures he had undergone since they had last met. It’s an interesting experience for the compulsive eavesdropper, no doubt, but not to everyone’s taste when they are settling in for some dinner.

Predictably, Matt ordered a burger, whilst Cat went for chicken. The meals came quickly as promised, and were piping hot and freshly cooked. It was standard fare, but actually it was pretty good. On three different occasions the eager waitress passed by and enquired about the welfare of her charges – when not doing this she was pacing the room like a caged tiger, waiting to unleash service on unwary diners. In fact, Matt and Cat were mentally preparing a review which might gently mention the over-eager service when she disarmed them as they prepared to leave by asking about the film they were going to see, and sharing her own views on it. Not only had she remembered that they were going to the cinema, but also had some genuine repartee to send her customers off with a cheerful feeling. She certainly earned the tip which your reviewers gladly left.

Medina Quay Brewers Fayre, Newport

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  • Sam Hollinsworth

    5th October 2010 #1 Author

    Well, we go there regularly – twice a month. We are a large group and we usually eat and all of us buy a meal.

    But the standard of service has dropped over the last year and the food is mediocre at best.

    I have fired off a complaint to John Forrest, Brand Operations Director.

    You can read why on my blog: http://puddytatpurr.blogspot.com/2010/10/one-where-i-slag-off-table-table.html

    Reply

  • Diana Drayton

    29th March 2010 #2 Author

    I can’t find any up to date comments on this establishment since it has changed to Table Table. We go there sometimes before going to the cinema and find that the food is excellent with very helpful staff serving at the table. The decor is pleasant with customers of all ages and the restaurant is divided into diffferent sections with various nooks and crannies so if there is a large family group, it isn’t invasive. Definitely worth a visit. Prices are also good.

    Reply

  • Jeff

    1st May 2009 #3 Author

    Popped in for a quick meal on way to the cinema, Meal was quick enough but disapointing. Had a very dry and tasteless burger, Bun was burnt on the inside and chips were very overdone.

    Reply

  • neil earley

    20th April 2007 #4 Author

    I witnessed the most terible behaviour from a group of “Contractors” who where trying to bully the management into extending thier Bar Hours. The language from both parties was extreme. The manager should have called the police. He should also supported the bar stsff who tried to “front” the group. I will surtainley never eat there again

    Reply