“ Address: Lichfield Road, Hopwas, Tamworth, B78 3AF / Tel: 01827 53361 „
This is one of the worst pubs I've had the misfortune to visit. Food arrived late and cold, service was at best rude, advertised cask ale but had only one which I was told was off. This place may be ok if you want an expensive, very expensive glass of wine and an average lager. This establishment displays all the worst of de-motivated staff working for a company only interested in making money.
I do llike the Tame Otter for it's nice atmosphere, and as someone else has said it's always busy! But on the last couple of occassions we have eaten there the food took an hour to arrive 'after reminding the waiter' it finally arrived! 'it was a steak sandwich' half the steak was missing but we were so hungry by this time we ate it! We have been for Sunday Lunch that was okay but parts of it were cold and we got stung on the price! It is a lovely pub but with the prices they charge they have to 'up' there game! :(Also people with familys especially young children need to keep them under control as some of the near misses as the waiters and waiteress come out of the kitchen fully loaded is a accident waiting to happen!!score 7/10 could do better!
The Tame Otter at Hopwas (near Tamworth) is situated alongside the canal, and is currently part of the Vintage Inn group of pubs. We visited for an evening meal towards the beginning of November.
It seemed when we visited that the Christmas party season had already got into full swing. We hadn't particularly expected it to be crowded, but in fact, on arrival at 7pm, we had what seemed to be the only remaining table in the whole pub. It was very crowded, and very noisy. If you've been to one of these places before, you'll appreciate that the staff are really there to serve the meals rather than to welcome you or show you to a table. On this occasion, they were even more conspicuous by their absence than usual.
The food menu is quite extensive; the kind of thing where there must be something for everyone. This is particularly good if you're taking people out where you don't know their likes and dislikes in the food department. They offer sharing plates and nibbles to start (e.g. Mezze Platter £9.95, Bowl of Olives £2.25 etc.) and 'proper' starters (e.g. French Onion Soup £4.95, Chicken Liver Paté £4.75, Battered Mushrooms £3.95 etc.). We thought the starters themselves to be quite pricy, so instead, opted for the Tasting Platter (£10.95) which included baked camembert, tempura chicken, chicken liver pate etc. It advertises this for two, but in fact, it was more than enough for three hungry adults. On the plus side, it was all cooked well and piping hot. On the downside, it took nearly an hour to arrive, and when it did they had to apologise that not all the items listed on the menu were available so had been replaced with others. I think this is a bit 'off' to be quite honest; I wouldn't mind if they'd actually asked us whether that was OK.
The main dishes range from traditional pub classics (e.g. Hunters Chicken £8.95, Fishcakes £7.55, Scampi and Chips £6.95 etc.) to grill items (e.g. Venison Steak £16.45, Fillet Steak £15.75, Chargrilled Chicken £7.95 etc.). I had the Rump Steak with a Peppercorn Sauce (£11.05). It was cooked to perfection, but on the basis that as usual in these places, I have to ask for it to be cooked 'rare' in order for it to come out 'medium' as I like it. The hand-cut chips were a real bonus, and a nice change from ordinary chips. One companion had the Jamaican Stew (£8.25), and another, the Homemade Beefburger (£8.95) and these dishes seemed equally well-cooked and tasty. Again, there was quite a delay between the starters being cleared away and the main courses being delivered; we were still munching our way through main courses at 9pm, which to me, having arrived at 7pm, is not such a great service.
By this time, we'd kind of lost interest in pudding. They offer a small selection of puddings (e.g. Treacle Tart £4.45, Apple Crumble £4.75, Black Forest Sundae £5.25 etc.). I thought some of the puddings were on the pricy side, and in all fairness, the service was so slow, I didn't see many tucking into their final course.
Generally the menu is unadventurous, and has moved on little from what was being served in pubs 10 or 20 years ago. On the plus side, these Vintage Inns have always been reliable in terms of the quality of the food, and this was borne out again on this occasion. The service was incredibly slow and not terribly enthusiastic. Obviously, when we visited, it was very busy, but nevertheless, I couldn't help but feel that staff had better things to be doing. For example, one waitress periodically kept going to chat and have a cuddle with a male visitor at the bar, and eventually, both disappeared out back somewhere...
The pub is probably very popular in the summer; it has a large canalside garden, and the car pack is quite big. For evening dining, I suspect that it's busy because a lot of people go in straight from work. The food is good, but like so many places these days, the service is poor and lacklustre. I suspect that the management don't set particularly high standards for their staff to live up to.