The Crab and Dragon Pub (Camberley)
The Pub = = = = = Me, my boyfriend and his mum went for something to eat during the week and we decided on a local as it was close and only meant a short drive there. The pub looks nice for the outside and is very clean and tidy with no litter around the actual pub area. There are some car parking spaces outside the pub but ... this can get rather full up. As we walked into the pub I thought it looked very modern, bright and welcoming. The bar was directly in front as you walked into the pub and there were seating areas to the right and left hand side of the bar. The seating on the right hand side were higher tables and chairs, whereas the one's on the left were lower tables and more comfortable/lower chairs, more suitable if you are having a meal. We wanted to set up a tab so we ordered our drinks and asked to set up a tab in which the bar staff took a card to swipe through their machine which they need to set up the tab. They have a good range of wine, beers, spirits, soft drinks and juices here. The staff member behind the bar was helpful and polite in serving our drinks. The pub has a very nice feel to it and is family friendly. The pub is quite spacious which gives good access to disabled users or people with pushchairs. We decided to sit on the higher tables to the right hand side of the bar. There was a table and a games machine in this area as well. The pub was very clean inside and although the pub was neutral colours it looked really nice and I was really impressed with the overall feel and the look of the pub.
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They have a range of lovely items on the menu and quite a few of the things on the menu took my fancy. I have listed a few of the items from each section of the menu so you can get an idea of what type of food is available here.
* Sharers - Meat Platter, Seaside Platter, Veggie Platter, Home Made Nachos
* Starters - Calamari, Chunky Fish Goujons, Sticky Wings, Prawn Cocktail, Spanish Omelette, Potato Wedges.
* Salad & Pasta - Chicken & Bacon Salad, Penne Arrabiata, Penne Pasta with Meatballs.
* Flatbreads - Slow Cooked BBQ Pulled Pork, Sauteed Mushrooms, Cropwell Bishop Stilton
* Sides - Onion Rings, Garlic Bread, Seasoned Chips, Mashed Potatoes, Dressed Salad, Cauliflower Cheese.
* Small Plates - Small Gammon, Chargrilled Chicken, Chilli Bowl, Fish & Chips, Macaroni Cheese.
* Chargrill - 8oz Rump Steak, Mixed Grill, 7oz Salmon, Smothered Chicken, Snapper Jambalya.
* Gourmet Burgers - Classic Beef, Cheese & Bacon, Pork & Chorizo, Black & Blue, Pulled Pork, Chilli, Cajun Spiced Chicken.
* Pub Classics - Haddock & Chips, Stuffed Chicken, Sausage & Mash, Curry Platter, Fish pie, Fishcakes.
* Quick Bites - Sandwiches (BLT, Tuna Mayo Crunch, Warm Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork) Jackets (Tuna Mayo, Prawns in Marie Rose Sauce, Grilled Bacon with Cheddar, Beef Chilli with Cheddar.)
* Puddings - Strawberry Cheesecake, Belgian Waffle, Milk & Cookies Sundae, Sticky Dickie Pudding.
They also do a separate menu for children as well. This contains fewer items but contains things such as Pasta, Chicken and other dishes as well as puddings.
We went to the bar to place the food order. We all had starters and I had the Chunky Fish Goujons whilst my boyfriend had the Calaramari. We also ordered mains at the same time. I loved the sound of the Stuffed Chicken which is a tender breast of chicken stuffed with Emmental cheese & Prosciutto, on a bed of crushed new potatoes and served with roast parsnips, buttered cabbage and gravy. This was priced at £8.95 which I thought was quite reasonable. My boyfriend went for the Pork & Chorizo burger which comes with chops and salad. His mum decided to go for the Salmon Fillet which comes with new potatoes, peas and zesty lemon mayo. On going to go the bar to order the food we got told that they had no Stuffed Chicken, which I was really disappointed by as I was really looking forwards to it. I decided to have a Chicken & Bacon salad instead.
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We didn't have to wait very long for our starters which was good as we were all feeling rather hungry. By the time our starters had come out we had been given a plate with a range of sachets of sauces in and also salt, pepper and vinegar.
Chunky Fish Goujons - This should come served with tartare sauce and pea dip. I got a total of about 4 fish goujons which were covered in batter. They looked delicious and I wouldn't wait to take into them. There was some rocket salad in the bowl with the Goujons and I received a pot of the pea dip which tasted more like garlic mayo but I received no tartare sauce. My boyfriend's mum asked for this in the end and the staff member bought out a small pot of sauce to go with the goujons. The fish inside the goujons tasted delicious and was cooked just right. I ate the goujons and the rocket salad.
We waited a good 10 mins before our plates were taken away and whilst we waited for our main meals we all had a chat and catch up with each other. After about 25mins we were starting to wonder where our main meals were as other people who came in the pub after us had now received their main meals that they had ordered. As one of the member of staff bought out meals to the table near us we said that we had been waiting ages for our main meal. The staff member replied 'No, you haven't' as she walked past our table. We couldn't believe the way she answered and the way she said it was with attitude as well. We were then told that if you order starters, then your main meal then gets pushed to the back of the queue. This was shocking to be honest, especially as our starter plates had been taken away over 20 mins ago now. Shortly after asking where our main meals were they were brought out to us. The bar staff put the plates in front of each person and then walked away. We weren't asked if we wanted any additional sauces or anything.
Chicken & Bacon Salad - This was probably one of the easiest things on the menu that could have been made. The salad should be slices of chargrilled chicken breast and grilled bacon tossed with mixed salad, crunchy garlic croutons and house dressing. The salad came out in a large bowl and consisted of about 4 largish leaves from a little gem lettuce, some tomato, grated cabbage & grated carrot. I was surprised to see no onion in the salad and only about half a tomato which had been cut into smaller pieces. There was a good amount of chicken and bacon but there was no salad dressing on the salad which was rather disappointing. I picked up one of the crispy croutons to try. The crouton was soft and wasn't crunchy at all, to me it tasted rather stale. I ended up picking the rest of the croutons out & leaving them as they tasted foul. My boyfriend agreed that they were horrible and said that he wouldn't have eaten them either. I couldn't be bothered to ask the staff for some salad dressing so I grabbed a sachet of salad cream from the plate of sauces and squeezed this over the salad.
Both my boyfriend's and his mum's plates were really cold which was surprising considering they had ordered hot food so they expected the plates to at least be slightly warm which would help to keep the food warmer for longer. My boyfriend said his burger was nice but the chips were unbelievably greasy. In fact they were so greasy that none of us wanted to eat them. They looked greasy and were a slightly odd looking colour which must have been from all the grease. They looked as thought they had been in a deep fat fryer a good few times. My boyfriends mum said her fish was lovely and the potatoes were nice, how-ever she was a little surprised that they didn't come with a little butter. During our meal there was no check back from any of the staff to ask if our food was ok. We all felt a little let down by our meals and also at the service that we had received whilst we were here which was a shame. After finishing out meals we sat at the table for another good 10 minutes before paying the tab at the bar and after we had paid our dirty plates still hadn't been cleared off the table. It's clear to see that the service in here isn't exactly brilliant.
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The member of staff whom served us at the bar was polite and well dressed and served us our drinks quickly and also helped with any enquiries when enquiring about some of the food choices on the menu. Whilst here we also interacted with another member of staff whom I presume was management as she looked much smarter than the lady behind the bar and she was the one who was bringing out the food to the table. She was actually quite rude and seemed to answer back when we enquired about our food. I thought it was really unprofessional the way she actually spoke to us as she walked past instead of stopping at the table to come to actually talk to us instead to our faces. I was actually quite appalled by this. I was surprised that we didn't get any check back when eating our meals and we didn't ask if we wanted any additional sauces either. This is definitely one of the worse pubs I have been to in terms of customer service.
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The overall look and feel of the pub was really nice and it had a relaxing, calm atmosphere. There are plenty of seating areas in the pub with a range of different sized tables. They often have different meal deals during the week such as Curry Nights, Fish Nights and other nights there as well. During some days of the week they also have quiz nights which you pay a small fee to join. Although the items on the menu sound delicious and aren't bad value for money we were disappointed with our meals and surprised at the poor quality and presentation of the food. Although the meals are reasonable we expected them to look and taste better than they did and for them not be missing items such as something simple like salad dressing. As well as not being very impressed with the food, we weren't impressed with the service here as well. The staff wasn't very polite and clearly weren't giving 100% customer service. I was appalled by the member of staff who spoke rudely to us, especially as she looked like management (she may not have been). I was disappointed by the food and service here and due to those two factors then I probably wouldn't go here again to eat. I would go here for a drink but not for food. This isn't a pub which I recommend as I think there are better pubs locally to this one which have much better service.
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The Crab & Dragon, 220 Frimley Road, Camberley, GU15 2QJ
Tel: 01276 24875
(review also on ciao)
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Manchester 235 (Manchester)
I'd never set foot in a casino before my night out at Manchester 235, the closest I'd got was watching Ocean's 11! Manchester 235 is a small casino right in the heart of Manchester city centre, part of the Great Northern complex on Deansgate and close to many bars/restaurants/hotels and a cinema. Its really easy to get to ... both by car/taxi and from several of the city's train and tram stations.
Manchester 235 offers several 'party packages' in addition to it normal casino operations. You don't need to be a member to book one of these, and they are a great way to get the casino experience without feeling intimidated or accidentally gambling away your life savings because you don't know what you're doing!
There are a wide variety of packages available, we went for the Atlantic City package for a friend's birthday. For £25 a head we got a delicious meal in the bistro, a bottle of bubbly to share, another free drink each, a 30 minutes lesson in how to play Roulette and Blackjack and a £5 free chip to play on the real tables.
The casino looks great, all shiny surfaces and thick carpets. The dealers/staff are all smartly dressed in black and look just as you'd expect them to from TV! We got quite dressed up, as did some of the other groups there for the party packages, however a lot of the serious gamblers looked really scruffy in jeans and hoodies. I'd have expected someone who could bet £500 without shaking to be dressed like Daniel Craig in Casino Royale but apparently that's not how it works in real life!
The learn to play session was a lot of fun. The dealers/instructors were friendly and got everybody involved. During the blackjack demo they showed us a few nifty looking card tricks. They made sure we understood how things worked though, so that we would know what to do when we moved over to the real tables.
The £5 free chip admittedly won't last you long, but its enough to get a taste of the action on one of the lower stakes tables. There are also a lot of slot machines which are for much smaller stakes. In my party, each of us played out £5 free chip on the roulette tables and then spent £5 of our own money on the slots. I came away with a £10.40 profit which was enough to make my night and pay for the taxi home!
I would definitely recommend Manchester 235 party packages for a night out that's a bit different, especially if you've never been to a casino before. It was fun, the food was good and we got good value for money. It made a nice change from just going to restaurants and bars as usual.
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The George Abbot (Guildford)
About the Pub = = = = = = = The pub is located at the bottom of the main High Street in the town centre and although the pub is now named the George Abbot, it's previous names included The Row Barge and The Jolly Sailor. The pub was renamed The George Abbot in the 1990's to reflect the historical importance of this site. The ... pub is named after George Abbot whom was born into a well off family. His father was a local politician in Guildford and also a successful merchant in the wool trade. George Abbot was a great scholar who rose to be a Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, then Bishop of Lichfield & Coventry, Bishop of London and was chosen to be an Archbishop of Canterbury, a position he held for 22 years. As head of the Anglican Church, George Abbot also crowned Charles I in 1625. George Abbot was born in a cottage at the west end of Guildford High Street, across the road from St Nicolas Church and just west of the Town Bridge over the River Wey. It was this church that George Abbot was baptised in 1562. Although the pub is located at the bottom of the high-street this is a little confusing as you actually have to go over the bridge which goes over the River Wey in order to get to it. Some people may know where this pub is from shopping in the main town is they have ever been to Debenhams which is very close to the pub.
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The pub is open 7 days a week and serves a great range of different food and includes a menu for kids. As well as serving food, they also have TV's to show all the latest football matches and different games. The pub has a large range of beers, wine's, spirits and soft drinks available for purchase. There is an ATM available to use in the pub as well. When approaching the pub it looks welcoming and very clean with no litter or other rubbish round the outside of the pub. The exterior is very clean with signs advertising food deals and drinks that they sell here. As I entered the pub it felt really cosy and very family friendly. The pub is quite large and on the left hand side as I walked in there was an area with sofa's and tables, perfect for socialising with friends. The bar is located right in front of you and stretches literally from one end of the pub to the other. Over on the right hand side is a range of different sized tables, some high with bar type stools. The pub has various different areas and alcove type areas which have different sized tables in where you can sit and enjoy a meal or quiet drink with friends. The pub isn't particularly modern looking but it's very clean and is much cleaner than your standard looking pub which has been around for a good few years. There are various signs in the pub advertising different drink and food deals which are visually appealing as some of them are done on chalk boards. I did notice a few fruit machines located in the pub over to the right hand side. You can tell that the staff and management here do a fantastic job in keeping the pub very clean and tidy as nothing seemed out of place. I don't remember hearing any music when walking in but the general atmosphere was really welcoming. I visited the pub after 5:30pm with my boyfriend during the week so it wasn't too busy during this time. There is a very small seating area outside the pub; how-ever this only includes approximately 2 small tables as they don't actually have room for a pub garden.
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I went up to the bar where I was greeted by the staff member who was very well dressed and polite. I asked what soft drinks they sold and he told me which one's were available, so me and my boyfriend ordered a drink. The drinks were served in nice, clean glasses to match the drink that we were drinking (Coke served in a Coca Cola glass, etc.). I wanted to set up a tab as me and my boyfriend were going to be eating here as well so I asked the bar staff about this and he set up a tab for me within a few minutes. My boyfriend was driving so he had a glass of Coke and I don't drink during the week so I purchased an apple & Raspberry J20. In terms of value the drinks were very reasonable as the round was under £5.00. We thanked the bar staff and took out drinks to a table in one of the alcoves which had a table suitable for 4 people. As we walked to our table I noticed that all the tables were very clean and free from any dirty plates or glasses.
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Each table had their own menu including a Kid's menu and there was also a drinks menu which contained wines and a range of different shots and cocktails. The pub is part of GreeneKing which some of you may be familiar with if you happen to visit pubs on a regular basis. There was so much delicious looking food on the menu that me and my boyfriend found it very hard what to choose to eat. I have listed and example of some of the food available.
* Starters - Cheesy Garlic Ciabatta, Soup of the Day, Crispy Torpedo Prawns.
* Share It - Nachos, Chicken Platter, Mucky Chips, Burger Platter, Giant Sharer.
* Mains - Lasagne, Mac & Cheese, and Roast Beef Yorkshire Wrap, Chicken Tikka Masala, BBQ Ribs.
* 100 Calories or Less - Chicken & Bacon Salad, Pasta Meatball Marinara, Vegetable & Cashew Nut Paella.
* Jackets - Oven Baked Potato with salad garnish Coleslaw and your choice of topping.
*On the Grill - 8oz Rump Steak, Gammon & Eggs, Burrito, Chicken Fajitas.
* Burgers & Hot Dogs - BBQ Pulled Pork, Black 'n' Blue Burger, The Tower Burger, The Classic Dog, Hunter's Dog.
* Delicious Deli Deal - Choose your filling, Chose your bread, Chose your side, and Chose your drink.
* On the Side - Coleslaw, Baguette & Butter, Onion Rings, Mixed Salad, Hash Brown Bites, Half a Rack of Ribs.
* Sweet Dreams - Vanilla ice Cream, Pancakes & Ice Cream, Jam Roly Poly, and Banoffee Bash.
Although the menu contained lots of delicious items I really fancied a Curry so I went for the Chicken Tikka Masala and my boyfriend had the Chicken Your Way in which you can choose the level of spicy sauce for the chicken. This also comes with Mexican Rice and a Corn on the Cob. My Curry should come with Pilau Rice, Poppadoms and Mango Chutney. I went to the bar and ordered the food and the bar staff asked if I wanted any starters such as Garlic bread or Soup, I refused this offer and stated that I just wanted main meals and he put my order through within a few minutes. Shortly after ordered the food the member of staff came and put a plate on a table which contained salt, pepper and other condiments and cutlery along with napkins. The price of the food was very reasonable as it cost approximately £8.99 for each meal.
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We didn't have to wait very long for our food and I was impressed and also surprised that we received our food within 20 minutes of waiting which I thought was very good. The food looked delicious and was very well presented on the plates. The staff member asked if we wanted any additional sauces and we said no and he told us to enjoy our meals. Me and my boyfriend tucked into our meals. My curry was lovely and warm and tasted delicious. In my local pub I have had curry a few times and the chicken has been overcooked, how-ever the chicken in this curry was perfect along with the rice. I didn't eat the mango chutney as I'm not too keen on this. There were 2 large poppadoms with the curry which were lovely and crispy. My boyfriend enjoyed his food as well and said that the chicken was moist and delicious. When we had tucked into our meal a few minutes later the member of staff came back to check everything was ok, which it was. The portion of the food was very good sizes and definitely represented value for money. After eating the meal me and my boyfriend were both full and very satisfied.
The Atmosphere whilst in the Pub
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As me and my boyfriend had been in here a good half an hour so far I had another brief look around. There were a few more people in the pub now and a large group of what looked like students whom were all enjoying a drink and catch up together. The pub has such a lovely, warm and welcoming atmosphere and is perfect for families due to the amount of space in the pub and around the tables which means you could easily take a pushchair in here and it's also very suitable for wheelchair users as well. During out time here we interacted with 2 members of staff whom were very professional and looked very well dressed.
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I visited the toilets during my time here which are located upstairs. This is a little bit of a walk and it's then that you realise how big the building actually is. The toilets were in immaculate condition and were the cleanest toilets I have ever seen. They looked very modern and they were well lit with working lots and plenty of toilet tissue. The floor area was also very, very clean and was almost shining. The toilets not only looked clean but they smell pleasant and fresh as well. I was very impressed by this. I didn't notice if there was a disabled toilet downstairs but I'm guessing there is due to laws about having them in pubs, etc.
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During our visit we interacted with 2 different members of staff one which I presume was some kind of management. Both members of staff were male and were very well dressed in a shirt & black trousers and looked very presentable and professional. Both members of staff were really polite and made us feel welcome in the pub which added to the atmosphere and the feel of the pub. The staff were very helpful and really went out their way to ensure we had enjoyed our meal and to check if we wanted anything else before we left the pub. I found the staff a lot friendlier in here than some of the other pubs that I have been to.
Leaving the Pub
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Shortly after I got back to the table our plates were cleared and we were asked if we would like any desserts or Coffee. We refused this offer and thanked the staff member for the lovely food. We left our table and went to the bar to pay our tab. A different member of staff now served us who I presume was management as he looked very smart but was wearing a different coloured shirt to the other staff member whom served us before. He asked if everything was ok with the meal and if we wanted anything else such as more drinks or desserts, we again refused this offer and thanked him. I paid the tab that I had opened earlier and as we left the pub the staff member said goodbye and thank you. We left the pub feeling very satisfied with the food and also happy that we had received such good service here.
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The pub is in a lovely location not far from the River Wey and I found it very welcoming as I entered the pub. I wasn't really sure what to expect in terms of interior and the food quality, how-ever the pub is much more modern looking than other most pubs and the food quality was fantastic. I enjoyed the time I spent in here and I couldn't find anything to complain about as the service, along with the food was fantastic. Although this is the first time I have eaten here in at least 10 years, I would definitely eat here again as I loved the feel and the atmosphere of the pub. I think they have a brilliant menu with a great range of items on and all at a fairly reasonable price as well. The pub has an interesting background which may mean that it attracts tourists slightly more than some of the other pubs and bars in the local town. In terms of access the pub is a short walk from the main train or bus station and there is plenty of parking outside the pub, how-ever
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The George Abbot Pub, 7-11 High Street, Guildford, GU2 4AB
Tel: 01483 456890
(review may also appear on ciao)
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Pub / Bar National
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