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The Counting House (Dundee)

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1 Review

“ 67–71 Reform Street / Dundee /Dundee City / DD1 1SP / Tel: 01382 225251. „

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      21.03.2007 09:20
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      Looking for a pub lunch that won't cost you the earth - then come here

      ***Background***

      This pub is situated in Reform Street in Dundee and sits on the far end to City Square looking out onto Albert Square where the McManus Galleries can be found. It is easy to get to if you are out shopping and is not as busy as some other pubs were when we looked in to find somewhere to get some lunch.

      It is part of the Wetherspoons Group although we didn't actually notice that until we were inside. It is one of two in the city with the other being the Capitol. This one is part of a very old style building so has naturally high and ornate ceilings inside and looks lovely from the outside with the stone built architecture.

      ***The Interior***

      The pub is quite large inside although it has a great many tables and chairs, there still seemed to be plenty of room to manoeuvre our way to the large bar. On the left there was a large screen television, which was showing sports (well it was a Saturday afternoon), and on the right were some steps, which led up to an alcove area, which gave us a little bit more privacy for eating.

      There was a lot of wood panelling in the pub, which can often make it seem a bit dark, but the lighting was good so it was easy to see our way around. This was helped by the large windows along two sides of this establishment. As well as the larger tables and chairs there were a number of comfortable leather sofas and coffee style tables for those who want a really comfy seat.


      ***The Staff***

      After we had found our table and looked at the menu, I went up to the bar to order our food and drinks. Although there was a moderate trade, I was served quickly and the barman was very attentive as he asked if we would like any side orders or starters with our main courses. I laughed and said that we were saving ourselves for dessert and he chatted amiably as he poured my other half's pint of ale. I'm not much of an afternoon drinker so I settled for a cappuccino to go with my meal. He took our table number and pointed out where the condiment bar was situated and said that our cutlery would be brought to our table.

      We settled down with our drinks and waited for our lunch to arrive. We had been shopping for a good couple of hours and hadn't had much breakfast so we were beginning to get really hungry. This wasn't helped by the fact that it took around 20 minutes for it to turn up and when it did we didn't even get an apology for the delay or a smile from the waitress. I've eaten out in quite a few different pubs over the years and whether they are part of a chain or simply a local one off, I do expect someone to come over and check that everything is all right after five minutes or so. Sadly no one came near us until our plates were empty and ready to be cleared. The same waitress who served us did this but didn't bother to wipe the table clean despite having a cloth in her hand. Again, there was no mention of whether or not we had enjoyed the meal and again, no smile or acknowledgement that we were sitting there.

      We were both still hungry after the main course and decided to have pudding so I again went up to the bar to order. The same barman served me again and remembered the table number from before which impressed me, as by then they were quite busy. He asked if we had enjoyed our meal and seemed genuinely interested in our custom.

      Back at the table we had to wait 25 minutes for our desserts to be served and this time we did get a small smile from a different waitress. Unfortunately we felt that this lack of enthusiasm let this pub down when it came to the staff - a shame after the barman being so good.

      ***The Food***

      My bloke thought that the offer of Beer and Burger for £3.99 sounded an excellent deal so he ordered the 6 oz classic beef burger, which was served in a toasted sesame seed bun with tomatoes, salad, red onion and chips.

      Other burgers in this offer included lamb, chicken and a vegetarian option with a salsa topping. If you want to double your burger then it costs an extra £1 and if you want extra toppings you can get a choice of BBQ sauce, onion rings, coleslaw, gouda cheese, sour cream, salsa or guacamole for 60p each. For 75p you can have some bacon and gouda cheese.

      You don't just have to have a pint of beer with this offer for the drinks part. Other drinks available included lager, cider, bottled lager, a single measure of Gin and tonic or Vodka with a mixer, a glass of wine, a tea or coffee, a glass of coke or a bottle of J20 or Strathmore spring water. My bloke loves his ale though so decided on a pint of Abbots.

      I fancied something a bit fancier than a burger so I decided on the 80z gammon steak, which is served with peas and tomato. You can then choose between a topping of egg or pineapple and whether to have it with chips or a jacket potato. I chose the healthy option of pineapple but I'm afraid my liking for chips led me astray to the more unhealthy option to go with the pineapple. This came to me at the reasonable price of £4.89 but this did not include my coffee with this, which was an extra 69p.

      This all sounded very reasonably priced and when our meals arrived we were impressed with what was on the plate for our money. The portions seemed pretty good and the chips looked all golden. We couldn't wait to delve in. The only problem was that the meals weren't as hot as they could have been and we suspected that they had been sitting for a good few minutes before being brought over to us. This was a shame, as they did taste good.

      Desserts are always my favourite part of a meal and I couldn't resist the thought of a Chocolate Ice Cream Bombe, which is a large amount of chocolate ice cream with a chocolate sauce centre, covered with thick Belgian chocolate. My bloke isn't as big a fan of chocolate as me so he decided to try the Apple pie with hot custard. The other option for this would have been ice cream but he loves custard so this was an obvious choice for him.

      Again we were a bit annoyed at having to wait for 25 minutes for these to be brought to us but it was pretty busy by then and we love our desserts so we figured they would be worth the wait. Unfortunately my bloke's wasn't as hot as it could have been again. Luckily my ice cream was served at the right temperature so they did get something completely correct. My bloke did say that the apple pie was very tasty though despite the temperature and I have to say that I really struggled to finish my Bombe, even though it was really scrumptious. All I can say is that I'm glad they don't put the calorie intake on the menu as I have a feeling this would have been sky high.

      ***Other Food Options***

      There really is a good selection of food on offer here with a selection of steaks and grills such as the popular Sirloin to a more unusual Surf and Turf, which includes a 10oz rump steak with wholetail scampi.

      Other main meals include Chilli Con Carne, Chicken Tikka, Roast Chicken and straightforward Fish and Chips.

      If you are looking for a lighter meal then you can choose from a variety of jacket potatoes with fillings such as cheese, tuna mayo or chilli con carne. Also on the light meal menu are a good selection of salads, baguettes, wraps and paninis.

      For the pasta lovers out there, you can sample Penne Pasta and Meatballs, Chicken Pasta Alfredo or Lasagne from the pasta range.

      There are also a selection of breakfast items on the menu and a children's menu for those who can't eat as much.

      Other desserts options include Belgian Waffle, Treacle Sponge and Eli's Original Bake Chicago Cheesecake, which is served with raspberry sauce.

      Prices are all pretty reasonable. The most expensive steak is the aforementioned Surf and Turf at £6.39, pasta dishes are all under £6 and the lamb shank is the most expensive on the main meals section, priced at £6.49.

      Children's meals are all priced at £2.59 and this includes a drink. The paninis and wraps are about the only thing that I would say are quite expensive at a costly £3.49. I have had a BBQ chicken and bacon melt panini at another Wetherspoons and this wasn't very filling.

      The desserts are all priced under £2.59 and I would say that 69p for a decent cup of coffee is pretty good.

      ***Other Information***

      As with all Scottish establishments, this is a non-smoking pub. We did notice a box with sand in it just outside the door for the smokers to put their cigarette ends in.

      This pub does have a toilet with disabled access to it downstairs but the main toilets are up a flight of stairs. When I visited they were very clean and there was plenty of soap, toilet paper and the hand dryers worked. They were well lit and spacious enough for a gang of females to pretty themselves up at the large mirrors.

      The pub is open Mon-Sat between the hours of 9am and midnight and then on Sundays between 9am and 11pm.

      I couldn't see any serving times on the menu for food so if you are planning a visit then it might be best to phone first to check the times.

      Address

      67-71 Reform Street
      Dundee
      DD1 1SP

      Tel: 01382225251

      ***And Finally***

      I have to say that I had mixed views about this pub. It has so much potential as it is in a good location, it has a friendly atmosphere and the bar staff seemed really friendly and competent. Unfortunately this was badly let down by the serving staff and the fact that the food tasted like it had been left sitting for a short time before being served. For a night out or for meeting up with friends for a coffee and a chat then this would be an ideal spot. It doesn't have noisy music playing and it is set out in a way that you can find a quieter table for a cosy chat or you can join the crowd to watch the football or rugby with your mates.

      Prices are great for both food and drink and it is ok to take children in before 7pm so if you have them in tow and fancy a bite to eat then it's a change from McDonalds down the street. They even get a free bag of fresh fruit and an activity pack included according to the menu. Their food is also low in salt and has no added sugar, artificial colours or flavours in any of the children's menu meals. This is something that did impress me.

      This is somewhere that I would be willing to try again. After all the food may not have been the hottest but it was tasty and it gave good value for money. I just hope someone for Wetherspoons reads this and asks them to serve the food faster so it is hotter.

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