Newest Review: ... us pass through to the dining area where we could choose our own table, I liked this because I like being able to sit where I fancy, not wh... more
All you can eat? More like all you can stomach......
Member Name: scooch12
Date: 02/06/13, updated on 02/06/13 (85 review reads)
Advantages: Varied Menu
Disadvantages: Bland, school type food, some food lukewarm, canteen style place
We recently visited Taybarns as it was somewhere I wanted to visit to see what it was all about. We visited the branch in Wigan, Greater Manchester. Our prior knowledge of the 'restaurant' was that it was an all you can eat buffet style place that served a range of food so would cater for all tastes. I say 'restaurant' - that's a very loose term to use to describe this eating place, it's more like a fast food style canteen. It reminded me of being on an all inclusive holiday - where everyone is bumping into each other to pile their plates high.
Arriving and being seated
We visited on a Saturday. I was expecting the car park to be very full but surprisingly it seemed quite empty. When we went in, there was a lady at the bar that asked us whether we'd visited before. We said we hadn't and she explained how the place worked. She said that before being let into the seating area, we had to pay for our meals up front. On a weekend it is £8.99 per adult, on weekdays it would have been £5.99 per adult. Kids cost £3.99 every day but she said that whilst my daughter was under 3, she was free (at 11 months there was no way I'd have paid for her anyway as she doesn't eat food from restaurants!). Although we agreed and paid, I'm not generally keen on paying for food up front, I would rather see what I'm getting for my money first but they don't have any sort of menus at the desk to see what you're paying for.
She said that we could either pay for our drinks there and then or order them at the table from one of the staff there - we decided that it was best to pay for everything in one go so we both ordered a pepsi. The lady gave us two glasses and said as it was refillable we could help ourselves once seated. I paid just over £22 for the two buffets and the drinks. Then she let us pass through to the dining area where we could choose our own table, I liked this because I like being able to sit where I fancy, not where is most convenient to the eating place. They had a few highchairs available so that was good. I noticed immediately that the place was full of kids - it does seem to be a good place to take children if there's a few of them as they can all pick what they like - it accommodates everyone with the varied choice.
The food is laid across a number of stations and customers help themselves to what they want and however much they want. The plates, cutlery and napkins are together in one separate area and you can help yourselves to however many plates you need to (I assumed they'd hand you one plate at the beginning). My husband went to fill the drinks up - two pepsi's and slushy ice (it is actually pepsi, not some substitute) and then we were ready for food. My husband chose to have soup first - minestrone soup with a bread roll which was one of the usual style petit pain types. He said that the soup was nice although it didn't look my cup of tea as it had a lot of spaghetti pieces in it. I then went for my first plate - a small helping of sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, a couple of prawn crackers. Randomly with a small piece of garlic bread. The garlic bread was very nice, it was the pizza style base type and my husband also said that was good. The sweet and sour chicken was also tasty, although to me it was obvious that it was very mass produced as it was only lukewarm. The prawn crackers were very, very greasy. Then my husband went up for a plate of food. He picked chips, bacon steaks, BBQ sauce and pasta. I tried a small piece of everything he had - the bacon steaks were definitely not for me, although he said he thought they were ok (but nothing special). The pasta was cold and rubbery and the chips were very average, they tasted like school dinner chips to me. Then I went back for my final plate, a very small carvery. At the carvery station there were two meats available - gammon and pork. I chose gammon with a Yorkshire pudding, peas and roast potatoes along with a helping of gravy. I regretted the gravy decision. It was so runny, bland and just like one you'd get at school that it ruined the whole plate of food. The Yorkshire pudding was average, although a bit stodgy and again very mass produced (they were all exactly the same size in the serving bowl)- the gammon was also not great. It was very fatty and was very tough to cut and eat so I ended up leaving half of it. The roast potatoes were very mass produced, no crispy ones and all very uniformed. They had no taste either! I like finishing my meals (because I love food!) but I left half a plate full on this occasion and so did my husband.
They were our choices for food, but there are plenty of other meals available that we didn't try that I saw on my walk around. I saw chilli, chicken jalfrezi, chicken tikka masala, naan bread, burgers, sausages, savaloy sausages, baked beans, corn on the cob, a salad bar, pizza, spicy wedges and desserts (neither of us bothered to even look at those, although I saw a few people with ice cream). The website mentioned pork ribs but there weren't any in sight on our visit which disappointed my husband. The majority of the food to me was targeted at kids.
The staff seemed happy to help throughout our visit, one cleared the table a couple of times and asked if we were ok and whether the food was ok. We were also asked if we wanted to fill out a survey online for them in return for a chance to win a prize draw. There are also cooks behind the food stations who fill up the stations when they're getting low on food, although they have very little contact with customers with the exception of the carvery as the meat is cut and placed onto your plate rather than helping yourself. The food seemed well stocked all the time we were there too so I can't say anything negative about the service.
I'll be honest, I didn't like much, if anything about our visit. The food seemed mass produced which is understandable with a buffet style place but was just far too bland for my liking and didn't seem very good quality, some of it wasn't even hot. I'm surprised to learn that Taybarn's is part of the Whitbread chain. It was just like a canteen and even though it wasn't that busy, it was still a case of having to dive in to get your food and try to walk around and dodge people with a plate of food in your hand. It really reminded me of being on holiday in a cheap all inclusive. To me £8.99 is so expensive for what you get.
I understand why young families visit because it is handy being able to cater for everyone with the varied food but it just wasn't for me. My husband sometimes thinks I moan about service when it's not needed (only to him in conversation, not to others!) and he's very laid back but even he came out of there saying that he'd never visit again - he even said he felt sorry for me paying £22 for it when for that we could have visited Nandos for our favourite meals at that same price. I would like to rate it 1 star personally, although I am going to rate it two stars because a lot of the families there seemed to be enjoying themselves and I think it's ok for larger families to visit to cater for everyone's tastes. Never again for us though.
Address: Warrington Road, Wigan, Lancashire, WN3 6XB
Telephone: 01942 493469
Opening Times: 11.30am until late (not sure when that means!)
Thanks for reading :o)
Summary: Never again for us