“ Address: The Highlight / Hartlepool / TS24 0XZ „
Please note that I originally wrote this for Ciao in November 2012. I have left it unedited but there may be some reference to pre-Christmas.
~Why We Dined Here~
When we arranged to go to Hartlepool for our friends 40th, we were made aware we would be dining at Jacksons Wharf on the Marina. I checked out the reviews online and wasn't impressed but it was pre-booked in advance. We dined here as a party of 10 adults on a Saturday night. Our table was booked for 7.30pm.
~Jacksons Wharf, Hartlepool - Essential Information~
Jacksons Wharf is part of the Marston's chain of pubs/restaurants. It is conveniently located on Hartlepool Marina and is next to the Hartlepool Maritime Experience attraction. Food is served all day and cater for parties and groups. Children are catered for too. Free wi-fi is available. Car parking is available outside and the restaurant is a short walk from bus stops.
Jacksons Wharf is open from midday until 11pm (10.30pm on a Sunday).
~Food and Drink On Offer~
Jacksons Wharf have a wide and varied menu of food on offer through the day. They have special offers which include '2 Sunday roasts and 2 puddings for £15' and 'curry and drinks for two £11' which is available on a Wednesday from 5pm.
The main menu is split up into starters, sides, main courses and desserts.
*Starters £2.80 - £7.45 : breaded canembert, soup, nachos and combos.
*Sides £1.25 - £2.80 : chips, salad, corn of the cob and baguettes.
*Main courses £8.75 - £12.75 : all main courses are '2 for 1' at all times. There is a varied selection on offer including burgers, lots of pies, fish and chips, tikka masala, BBQ beer chicken, lasagne and steaks.
*For vegetarians - these options are clearly marked. There are lots of starters available for vegetarians but only a few main courses including BBQ bean burger, lentil sheperd's pie and vegetable mezzaluna.
*Desserts £2.90 - £4.45 : lots of cold, hot and ice cream based puddings available including apple pie, gateau, sundaes and chocolate cake.
*Childrens menu £3.49 : choice of baked potatoes, chicken dinner, bolonaise with vegetable or salad.
*Specials board : this changes often and has around 16 different meals which are also part of the '2 for 1' offer.
Jacksons Wharf stock a large range of hot, cold and alcoholic drinks from £1.50ish. They offer wine, beef and spirits but no cocktails.
~Layout and Design~
The restaurant looks nice from the outside and is right next to a huge boat (which I didn't see when we arrived as it was wet). Inside, the restaurant has a cosy feel and is much like a typical Brewers Fayre or Toby Carvery. Two beautifully decorated Christmas trees were arranged in the foyer and to the back of the restaurant. There are plenty of seating options to accommodate all size of parties. We were at the back of the restaurant which had plenty of window access with direct views of the Marina. It is in a nice spot.
The restaurant has quite a comfortable ambience due to nice lighting, hanging pictures and thick curtains across the windows. The chairs look a bit worn and dated. The restaurant is disabled friendly and highchairs are available for young children. Smokers are accommodated outside and there are some picnic tables overlooking the water. It was too cold and dark for us to be outside though! The toilets are clean and i do believe disabled toilets and baby changing areas are available. There were a few amusement machines present.
I would say we have mixed experiences of the service provided. My friend had pre-ordered a few of the main courses but someone hadn't taken down all the information correctly. The restaurant was quite busy and there were very little staff. The waitress serving us seemed stressed and food wasn't being brought quickly. We had a cake with us and kindly asked for 10 plates and spoons but 10 minutes later we received 10 plates and 10 knives. My sister spoke to the manager about a few mess ups and as a goodwill gesture, we were offered 20% off our entire food bill.
The website states that there is a 'full table service' but we had to order the rest of the meals at the bar and also the desserts. Drinks must be bought and paid for at the bar. We had a food tab but paid for drinks seperately. We had to go up to the bar and request the bill at 11pm - staff were scarce.
I would say the menu accommodates everyone. We didn't have any vegetarians with us but one of our party has intolerances to wheat and bread (gluten I think) so requested onions rather than onion rings with her meal. We skipped starters as by the time we arrived, some of the pre-ordered meals were already cooking. Sarah didn't realise this would be the case and was simply asked to let them know what would be ordered rather than to have them ready for us arriving. My meal was ready when we arrived so I was a little disheartened not to have a starter!
I had pre-ordered the most expensive item on the menu - sirloin steak. This was described as being an '8oz sirloin steak' with garlic and herb butter. Sides were to include chips, onion rings, tomato and peas. Sarah ordered my meal to be medium-well done with NO peas - I despite them so much. It arrived with peas and may I add, freezing cold garden peas and was pink inside. My sister sent it back and asked for it to be cooked as I ordered without peas. It returned better cooked but with warm peas. I gave up by this point and scooped them in to a napkin. I would say my steak was nice enough but didn't taste like it had any garlic butter over it. The chips weren't overly inspiring and to be honest, I found my meal to be quite bland. Had it not been part of the '2 for 1' offer, I wouldn't have been happy with the price I had paid.
The guy next to me had a steak cooked rare and enjoyed it. Three of our party opted for gammon steaks - one with onions, another with baked potato and one with fully solid eggs. You wouldn't believe how much trouble it was to get non-runny eggs but he ended up eating it in the end. Sarah ordered from the specials board and opted for the American grill which to me, looked overcooked. This included a large burger, chips, egg and sides. This was overpriced at £15.95 but she seemed to enjoy it.
Other members of our party opted for burgers or curries. The portion sizes seemed average for pub grub. We all cleared our plates and as far as I could tell, everyone was happy but not estatic about their meals. I personally, would have preferred to dine at the nearby Brewers Fayre (this was the original idea). After our meal, we had birthday cake. You would think we couldn't manage dessert but two of us could! Brian opted for Giant indulgent chocolate torte which was just basically a slightly larger than average piece of gateau.
I don't dine anywhere without a dessert. I have suffered badly with weight gain that week but I was away enjoying myself for a night so I didn't mind so much. I figured that if I ordered something with fruit, I wouldn't feel quite so bad about having dessert. The desserts are well priced in my opinion and there is lots on offer. By the time we ordered desserts, it was gone 10pm so our options were limited. There was no summer berry mousse left or the delicious sounding toffee, sultana and clotted cream pudding. I eventually opted for Strawberry cream tea cheesecake which was unusual and nice enough. The actual cheesecake base and filling was delicious and there was a strawberry jam and scone type topping which made it a little sickly.
I'm not a big drinker but did partake in a few. I'm not sure how much others paid for drinks as I paid for those who I arrived with for one round. It worked out just around £9.00 for three glasses of cola and a Smirnoff Ice. My sister ordered shots before we left and was nearly £20.00 for two Aftershock, two Sambucca and two Jagerbombs. I was shocked the price of alcohol in Jacksons Wharf - a Jagerbomb was £5.00 - you wouldn't pay that in Glasgow! This must be how they make extra money especially with their special food offers.
I found the food and service at Jacksons Wharf to be average. Our food bill came to £62.00 for 10 people. We paid by cash but card is accepted. This included the discount for '2 for 1' meals and the 20% discount. Not bad really. If we returned to the area, I'm not sure that I would go back here as I would like to try other local restaurants, but if I lived there, it would a fairly cheap dining option. We left the restaurant at 11.30pm (be aware you may be waiting a while for a taxi) which was later than closing time.
Thanks for reading :)