University of York Graduate, aspiring to be a journalist with dreams of one day publishing my own novel.
Published work can be seen at www.theyorker.co.uk and www.yorkvision.co.uk
Published January 6th 2013
Pub grub at its finest
With popular chain restaurant, the Harvester, opening recently at Clifton Moor, it seems there's an increasing demand for family pub restaurants on the outskirts of York. The Pear Tree Farm, located near the Monks Cross shopping district, promises the perfect blend of family eating with a casual adult pub atmosphere – and makes a clear effort to keep the two separate.
On a very busy Saturday afternoon it was easy for a first-time visitor to get confused by the Pear Tree Farm's somewhat confusing ordering system. Amidst the crowds I missed the signage indicating that I had to order my food away from the bar, (conveniently next to a cabinet of very tempting desserts, but more on that later) and haphazardly ended up taking close to twenty minutes to order. PTF's quirky system involved ordering from one till, then queuing up again with your receipt to pick up your drinks; perhaps it was too much to ask to complete the whole order in one sitting.
After a somewhat frosty start from the staff, forty minutes breezed by waiting for a plate of Ploughman's and a mixed grill. To my delight, however, the children's area, featuring an Xbox and more, was cordoned off from the more senior visitors. There was also a pub quiz machine to pass the time, which I would soon discover this would aid my digestion later on.
For £14.25, my company's mixed grill seemed a little over-priced, especially when you consider that my £6.50 plate of salad was almost as large as his. Of all of the Ploughman's I've ever eaten, this was probably the most colourful and certainly the biggest – however it was a little let down by its large hunks of single-variety cheddar cheese which seemed to overpower the rest of the plate. That said, the lettuce was beautifully crisp and fresh and there was a pleasing variety to the garden salad, whose freshness unfortunately could not be matched by the day-old bread.
Colourful: the large, but not 100% fresh, Ploughman's lunch
My friend seemed happy enough with his mixed grill, especially considering I mis-ordered his steak, which is either a testament to his non-fussiness or the restaurant's inability to perfect medium rare. The chips, however, were a hot and fluffy delight and good pub grub at its finest.
Despite the mix up, this mixed grill didn't seem to disappoint
After a few rounds on the pub's big mean quiz machine, we'd worked up enough of an appetite to at least peruse the cake counter. The gimmick of the PFT is that it displays 'Andy's delightful desserts' in a 'cakeaway' cabinet, which features cheesecakes so high they need a good pair of hiking boots to take them on. The cabinet shone like a tempting apple on the tree of knowledge, seducing us with its foot-high Galaxy and Mars bar cheesecakes. As a fair reviewer it seemed rude not to sample the desserts, and hence we each took away a slice of the aforementioned flavours, which needed close to a suitcase to carry away. After a belly full of salad, they did not disappoint – but I would advise purchasing one to share, as the sickly mix of mousse and cream cheese may be too much for one mere mortal.
After a wacky ordering system and questionable service, the Pear Tree Farm probably needs to brush up a little on its customer touch and would do well to focus on food quality over quantity. Nevertheless, if you're looking for a warm and comfortable atmosphere to dine with family, there's no excuse not to have a visit – at the very least, to try the desserts.