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The Harvester... aka The White House!
Harvester Pub & Grill
Member Name: loulou22
Harvester Pub & Grill
Advantages: Local. Good food. Good service. Honeycomb explosion.
Disadvantages: Dangerous car park. Occasional dry chicken.
The Harvester, Sutton Coldfield.
The Harvester in Sutton Coldfield is one of the pubs which I used to visit quite often when I lived at home with my mum. The pub is located on Boldmere Road on the corner of Gate Lane. It is a large white building and because of this my brother, aged 9, renamed it 'The White House' and often makes us smile when he announces that we're going to The White House for dinner!
As my mum lives within a 5 minute walk of The Harvester we have always walked here, but it can be accessed by public transport with the local bus stopping very close by on Boldmere Road and a number of other Travel West Midlands buses stopping on nearby Jockey Road, I cannot be sure of the bus numbers as they have recently changed them. For those coming by car there is a large car park at both the front and rear of the pub.
The entrance to The Harvester is located on the car park at the front of the pub, as there is no pedestrian pathway across the car park you will need to keep any kids close by as we have often experience drivers racing around as if it were a mini-motorway! Once inside The Harvester you will be faced with a brick wall and the option to go left to the restaurant or right to the bar area. I will begin my review with the bar area.
The bar in the bar area is quite small but still offers a good variety of drinks. There is large seating area which is very well spaced out and offers a variety of seating including the usual chairs and tables and quite a few higher bar stools which have usually been positioned near the gambling machines or the games machine, also known as the magic 50p machine.
Despite the small size of the bar we've never had to wait for long to be served and quite often there is no queue at all so we have been served the moment we walked up. We have always found the bar staff to be polite as well as fast and efficient with their service. Sometimes they don't seem to be the friendliest of people but for me, as long as they get my drinks order correct then I don't mind how friendly they are as long as there is a please and thank you.
I have often enjoyed sitting in the bar area for both quiet drinks and catching up with friends as well as drinking with family while we wait for everyone to arrive if we are going for a meal.
The restaurant area is quite large and while there are lots of tables catering for anything from large groups right through to couples I find that the tables are quite close to each other and I have often been able to hear conversations of other groups very clearly without intending to. Personally I don't like this as if I am going for a meal with family I like the thought that our conversation is private rather than being able to be heard by the whole restaurant!
The lighting in the restaurant is dimmed but not so dark that you cannot see what you are eating and not too bright which I think creates a nice welcoming and warm atmosphere.
As you walk through the main entrance there is a small table to the left of the entrance, this is usually staffed by a waiter or waitress who will ask how many people are in your party and proceed to get you seated. If you need to wait for a table then you will be given an approximate time of how long and then you can wait in the bar area. We have only had to wait once and this was no longer than 10 minutes.
Once seated we have always found that our waiter or waitress has introduced themselves and given us the menus to browse while they get any drinks we have ordered. At this point we are free to visit the Salad Bar, where you are welcome to help yourself to as much salad as you want to accompany your meal. As I personally don't eat or like salad I tend to give this a miss and just take a couple of fresh bread rolls and some butter. Looking at the salad bar though there always appears to be a large choice of various salad items as well as a pasta option and a few sauces and salad dressings.
The menu at The Harvester is quite big and offers a nice variety of meals as well as starters, puddings and side orders.
For starters there is a choice of around 6 different items including garlic bread, breaded mushrooms and my personal favourite buffalo chicken wings with BBQ dip.
The main meals are mainly steak. There is a large choice of different steaks and different sizes. If steak isn't your thing though you can choose from other meals such as chicken and bacon BBQ melt, fish meals and a couple of vegetarian choices.
After your main meal you will be offered the pudding menu. The pudding menu makes me wish I could have three courses of just puddings. But sadly I cannot so I have to choose between a selection of ice cream sundae options, various cakes or for those who aren't keen on the sweet things you can order fruit skewers.
If you have children you might like to know there is a children's menu available on request which offers kid sized portions of burgers, chips and chicken dishes to name just a few.
The prices in Harvester are pretty good in my opinion. A glass of coke will set you back around £2.30, however for about 5p more you can have Pepsi with unlimited refills so we tend to go for this instead! Alcohol wise you can expect to pay around the £3 - £5 mark for a glass of wine depending on the size and around the £3 mark for a pint depending on the brand. The prices for the food are also pretty good. The main dishes start at around £6 with the sharing platters being much higher at just under £20! I would say to check the size of these as you may be better off ordering individual meals and paying less. Puddings are mostly just under £4 and the starters vary from around £3 to around £8 if you decide to have a starter for sharing.
To describe the food quality I will base this on my pervious visits and what I most commonly order.
It is quite rare that I have starters as I tend to try and leave room for pudding, but on the odd occasion when I have fancied a starter I usually have the Flame Grilled Chicken Wings. The wings come served on a plate with a small pot of BBQ sauce and a few green leaves laid on the top of the wings. In my experience the wings have always seemed to taste really good although a fraction on the greasy side. The BBQ sauce is quite rich and I usually keep hold of the pot to use the remainder with my main meal.
For my main meal I tend to choose the half a spit roast chicken topped with a sweet and sour style sauce, although the name of the sauce escapes me I know it is something to do with Ginger in the name. The chicken comes served with chips and a corn on the cob. The chicken part of the meal is quite a decent size and although they are quite generous with the sauce I find that once I have removed the skin of the chicken a lot of the sauce is wasted. I also think that due to the skin being left on the sauce doesn't flavour the chicken as well as it would if it was given the chance to sink in. In general I do really enjoy this dish which is why I have it again and again. There has been the odd occasion where I have found the chicken to be too dry and this is where the unlimited refills of Pepsi have come in handy! The chips are usually cooked nice, they have nice fluffy inners and are not greasy.
Now for the best part... the pudding! Every time we visit the Harvester my brother and I have to have the Honeycomb Explosion pudding. It is simply divine! Served in a Sundae glass the Honeycomb Explosion is a mix of ice cream with toffee sauce, chocolate sauce and lots of small pieces of honeycomb topped off with a nice helping of whipped cream and a wafer. I love this pudding simply because it is so sweet! I find it to be very sickly and the mix of the toffee and chocolate sauce is perfect, I would love to say I could eat two of them because they are so nice, but unfortunately the sweetness of them prevents even me from doing this!
The toilets in The Harvester are alright as far as toilets go, they have always been stocked with toilet paper and soap and I have never had any issues with cleanliness although they are often a little untidy looking with over flowing bins.
There is a large car park at the front of the Harvester with a slightly smaller overspill car park located on Gate Lane at the rear of the pub. The car park is pay and display but if you take the counterpart to your ticket into the pub with you they will discount the charge from your bill. The car park is shared with the Travel Lodge hotel next door which is why it has been made into a pay and display.
Overall I would recommend The Harvester in Sutton Coldfield. The food quality and service you receive are both of a high standard. I have always enjoyed our meals here, especially the pudding! The atmosphere is nice and relaxed and at the same time quite welcoming. An enjoyable experience for both dining with the family and relaxed drinks with friends.
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: James: "Are we going to the White House for dinner?"