Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Wetherspoons is a capacious vertical drinking establishment in what was once a fine old department store. In the summer the vast picture windows are...

Wetherspoons is a capacious vertical drinking establishment in what was once a fine old department store. In the summer the vast picture windows are open, giving drinkers a view of the hustle and bustle of Ryde’s delightful Union Street, and the bus stop. Meanwhile the pedestrians get the chance to peer into the gloom and wonder why there are so many people of working age sat smoking all day in a pub.

Wetherspoons, Union Street, Ryde

Despite the banners proclaiming full English breakfast for £1.99 and other give-away food and drink offers, your reviewers have not really been tempted to venture into the dark recesses of this pub. However, as there’s only so many times they can go to the Hong Kong Express in one week, Matt and Cat went to Wetherspoons.

Despite it being about 6:00pm, the place was already pretty busy. Cat saw a friend who advised her that, if she and Matt had come to eat, they should sit in the family area upstairs as it was a no-smoking area and likely to be less rowdy. This advice proved to be excellent. When they ordered their food Matt and Cat were courteously told of a 45 minute wait. This was not unexpected at this busy time; Wetherspoons gets credit for pointing out the wait. Your reviewers were happy to wait for their food in the interests of their valued readers. The time passed quickly; Cat had a nice chat with her friend whilst Matt sat and drank a pint of very reasonably priced John Smith’s extra smooth.

As you can probably ascertain from the earlier tone of this review, it was anticipated that Wetherspoons could be a pretty dismal eating out experience. But Matt and Cat swallowed their preconceptions with the first mouthful of food. Cat had a delicious chicken Caesar salad; the chicken was lovely and soft, the lettuce was fresh, and the salad was covered with a very generous amount of Parmesan shavings. The dressing was very tasty and the croutons were garlicky and crisp. Matt had ‘surf and turf’. The steak was not, as requested, rare, but otherwise the meal was extremely good – a big slice of lean meat and a lavish pile of breaded scampi, all served piping hot with plenty of fresh salad and chips. Simple, but satisfying. The entire meal was rock-bottom price, even including drinks.

Despite the crowded bar and the smoky environment, Matt and Cat found a reasonably quiet and entirely smoke-free area in which to enjoy their meal. Wetherspoons is another example of that rare beast – a chain which actually delivers good food as well as low prices and convenience.
Wetherspoons, Ryde

  • Neil (Local) says:

    My bank dosn’t keep convenient banking hours so while waiting for them to open at 9.30am, I decided to have a traditional breakfast (with coffee) while waiting for the bank to open. Service has vastly improved since my last visit but (and I know this isn’t the venue’s fault) I was a little concerned that they began serving alcohol at 9am!

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    Not surprised in the slightest, Spoony. They are of the generation who display their ignorance for all to see. People with manners choose a seat, decide on their choice from the menu,only then go to the bar to order. These morons go directly to the order point and then faff about with the menu whilst a queue a mile long is building up behind them. No consideration whatsoever for others. That is why I would not venture into such places irrespective of food quality.

    I prefer to go to establishments where people behave in a civilised manner with deference to others.

  • Spoony says:

    I have visited a number of Wetherspoon’s pubs and been pleased with the meals. Particularly good are the club days, when you can have, depending on the day, a Sunday Roast, a Curry or a steak meal, with a drink included. These normally are somewhere between £5 and £6.
    The beer prices are usually far better than the other local pubs. Carlsberg in our local Wetherspoons is £1 cheaper than our social club.
    As, like many others, I am a responsible drinker and take exception from foodies who criticise
    drinkers. The majority in our locals are well behaved.
    What irritates me is when ordering a meal the whole group go to the bar, waving their menus, to get served first. Once there you find they do not know the table number, and some have not even decided what they want to eat or drink.

  • Neil (Local) says:

    Went back again yesterday for the same and although it’s gone up to £3.69 since my last visit, the service was still good as well as the value.

  • Neil (Local) says:

    Went in yesterday (Friday) and had a afternoon special; gammon, egg and chips inc coffee £3.50. Service has obviously improved since Ken’s visit 12 months ago as it came within 15 minutes. Not bad either for the price!

  • Kensington says:

    Decided to give Spoons another try for breakfast today after my last visit a couple of years ago. Ordered medium breakfast at 9.59am (didn’t realsize toast wasn’t included). Now the place certainly wasn’t busy but to be fair, the guy did say there would be a 10 – 15 minute wait. Sure enough, my breakfast arrived at 10.10am which is when I discovered the lack of toast. So I went up to the bar and orderd 2 slices of toast. Re-sumed my breakfast which by 10.30am I had finished and still waiting for the toast! I decided to cancel and ask for a refund but while I was waiting (yes you even have to wait to cancel!) the toast arrived which was 2 x 2 slices! It seems that 1 portion of toast consists of 2 slices which I was unaware of. The waitress said sorry and would get me a refund for 1 portion but by the time I had finished about 10 minutes later, she still had not returnerd with my refund so I thought sod it, i’m off. Now to be fair, the food was good but the whole experience is let down by the persistant slow service which seems to be the case whatever the time of day you go there. I think in future, I will stick to Somerfield.

  • Chris says:

    Went to Wetherspoons today. Have to say we were totally dissapointed, will NEVER set foot in there again.
    We arrived at about 1.00 and after a few minutes we had placed our order. Wetherspoons was busy, but I wouldn’t call it packed.

    a total wait of at least an hour & a half for a very average meal is totally unacceptable.

    We chose the chicken and leek pie, and the ‘simple steak & chips’, and a pudding each.
    Ordering seemed to be hap-hazard at best. There was one queue to order food AND drinks, and people were queue-ing both sides. Oh well.
    After about about 35 minutes wait, no food. We were sitting near the kitchen entrance, and it appeared there wasn’t many orders coming out from it.
    My wife asked about our order and we were told that there was a 45 min wait for food. If we had been told this when we had placed our order, we would of left straight away.
    When our order arrived (on the 45 min mark), to be fair it was a nice meal. The pie was meaty with maybe a few too many leeks for my wife’s taste, and my steak was cooked to my request.
    Once we had finished our meal, it was at least another 15 mins until the plates were cleared away.
    After ANOTHER 15 min wait, no pudding. By this time we had had enough. We cancelled our pudding & got a refund. The guy who refunded did say sorry about the wait, but his apology seemed like he didn’t really care. He was just going through the motions.

    I feel that if the customer has to wait longer than average for a meal, they should be told. I think longer than a 30 mins wait is too long.
    The staff appeared very uninterested on their jobs, a sincere apology goes a long way.
    I know we went in on a Saturday AND there was football on th’ telly, but a total wait of at least an hour & a half for a very average meal is totally unacceptable.

  • Alan says:

    Six of us went to Wetherspoon’s last night and we all had a really good night out!. The curry’s were all good and we only had to wait 25 minutes for our order to arrive. A good mix of local’s and visitor’s and we went away knowing that we had real value for our money. Our daughter who is on holiday from Sligo only wishes Wetherspoons could find it’s way into Southern Ireland!

  • Alan says:

    Value for money. Great choice of beer and a good wide choice of food. Any problems have alway’s been resolved and although the wait can be quite long at times it is generally worth waiting for.
    The staff are very friendly and if you can get a seat in the front you can just sit back and watch the world go by. The best pint of guinness I have had on the island.
    No doubt it could be better and we often have to clean our own table.
    But then again if it is value for money you want then you cant go wrong. Alan

  • kj says:

    hang on….you are talking about a Wetherspoons Pub…renowned for its cheap booze and cheap food.

    To me cheap Booze and food do not go together, so don’t complain about drunk people in a Weatherspoons….its what they do

  • Bushy says:

    The problem of lack of firm management of badly behaved customers is not unique to Wetherspoons. We had a meal at a very highly rated restaurant ruined by the behaviour of other customers (children running wild during the early part – rowdy drunks later), but because this is a chef/owner run establishment with young serving girls out front there was no attempt at any stage to intervene. This lack of an old-fashioned headwaiter or maitre d’ is sadly becoming the norm throughout the UK.

  • regular says:

    Whilst agreeing that at busy times there is a wait to get served with drinks it is not true with food.I have never been served so swiftly. The food is excellent, however the place does have a problem which firm management could resolve. Drinkers get out of hand and become a nuisance. Often an unpleasant experience. Duty management seem to be reluctant to intervene. Your initial view of the establishment needs revisung re smoking etc. For value and quality it takes some beating. As a lifetime resident it’s a breath of fresh air after all the years we have been and still are ripped off by ‘local’ establishments. I give it 9 out of 10

  • Kensington says:

    Well, I just strolled up Union Street to pick up my copy of the local rag when, feeling a little peckish I decided to try a a ‘Farmhouse’ breakfast in Spoons which boasted; 2 rashers of bacon, 2 sausages, 2 fried eggs, 3 hash browns, 1 large mushroom, beans, 2 round of toast and a fried tomato cost £3.89 (excludes hot drink). So I proceeded to the bar to place my order asking for a black coffee. Barman asks for table number so I pointed to an empty table in the corner to which he said; ‘I need the number’. OK, fine so I trotted over to find the number and returned to the bar and paid and waited for my coffee… and waited… and waited. After a good 5 minute wait my coffee finally arrived by which time my table had been taken by someone else! So I sat at the next one only to discover I had in fact got a white coffee! I returned back to the bar to get it changed and then waited for the main course which arrived about 15 minutes later minus the toast! After collaring a member of staff, I got my toast. The ‘2’ rashers of bacon looked like one cut in two and one of the eggs had ‘broke’. The sausages were good and generally so was the rest. But the whole experience was poor and at around a fiver, there are far better breakfasts to be had in Ryde.

  • Peter.Mason says:

    We went there on the first day of the smoking ban (we’d got a book of vouchers through the door and I love a bargain) and it’s since become my favourite place for a veggie breakfast. I’m a night worker which means no booze during the day, ever, and this is a pub where I don’t feel uncomfortable drinking tea. You sometimes have to be patient at the bar as Wetherspoons save on staffing costs, but I really like the building and the value is just amazing.

  • Peter E Dant (IoW Resident) says:

    My wife and I were happy to try the ‘new’ menu item “penne pasta and meatballs” a couple of weeks ago and were delighted that the meal was better than we expected. Excellent, al dente pasta, tasty meatballs and a very acceptable tomato sauce. The great advantage of Weatherspoons (apart from the obvious cheap real ale) is that the portion size is not supersized to impress, like so many pub meals, but is enough to serve for a lunch or reasonable evening meal.

  • T.W.Cambridge says:

    I am a fan of pub food and the surroundings.Fowlers surroundings were fine but the food was the poorest,illest prepared and dryest I have ever eaten(or not eaten as it turned out).
    Mr Wetherspoon’s food reputation could be destroyed by this one pub.

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