Newest Review: ... from £2.49 for a Syrup Sponge Pudding to £4.39 for a BIG Chocolate Waffle Stack. Or you could always go for the fabulous looking Chocolat... more
The Acorn aka Hungry Horse Bicester
The Acorn (Bicester)
Member Name: anonymili
The Acorn (Bicester)
Advantages: Food of decent quality, convenient location
Disadvantages: They can't handle the level of customers, poor customer service
I've been to Hungry Horse Bicester 3 or 4 times in the last few years. When we visit Bicester Village for a bit of shopping we usually tire ourselves out with walking around the shops and build up quite an appetite so this is one of the places that we've been frequenting on our shopping trips.
The Hungry Horse restaurant is within The Acorn Pub and is on your left hand side as you enter the Bicester Village Shopping complex and on your right as you leave (full contact details at end of review).
The menu at Hungry Horse is pretty much the same across all branches of this chain of restaurants in that it's typical pub grub but in pretty decent portion sizes. I would grudgingly say that the prices are fairly competitive and the food is as tasty as you would expect for this type of fare. I've had different meal options on my various visits and have never been dissatisfied with the food. I've had the scampi here a few times and most recently I had the gammon. Hubby generally goes for the steak option.Typical example of starters, sharers and main menu items and prices include:
* Tomato & Basil Soup £1.99
* Cheesy Garlic Ciabatta £2.49
* Breaded Torpedo Prawns £3.59
* Topped Nachos £3.99
* Mexican Quesadilla £5.29
* Ultimate BIG Combo for Two £7.99
* 10oz Hawaii Five-0 Gammon £5.99
* All Day Breakfast £6.19
* Fabulous Jumbo Fish & Chip Supper £6.59
* Chicken New Yorker £7.19
* Grande Mexican Burrito £8.99
* 9oz Steak & Rib Combo £10.99
* Cajun Chicken Burger £3.99
* Smoky Bean Chilli Burger £6.59
The above is just a sample from the menu; these mostly come with chips and peas or salad. There is also the "Light Bites" menu which has a range of fillings available to have with white or brown bread, a wrap or baguette costing from £2.99 to £4.99 each. There are also a range of curries available from £5.99 as well as pizzas from £6.49 each.Amazingly there's a very cheap dessert available for just 89p or other desserts from £2.49 for a Syrup Sponge Pudding to £4.39 for a BIG Chocolate Waffle Stack. Or you could always go for the fabulous looking Chocolate Fudge Sunday for £3.59! I would recommend checking out the menu in full detail if you're eating here as they have various special deals available on different days of the week.
As the main meals are quite filling, we've tended to avoid starters or desserts as we don't really fancy falling asleep on the 60-90 minute drive home (depending on the traffic).
The full menu is available here as a pdf file: http://www.pub-explorer.com/gk/hungryhor​ ;se.pdf
Personally I think £1.95 for a Diet Coke is extortionate but there you go especially when they have the cheek to give you a glass of ice with a splash of actual Coke! They have a range of draught drinks including Carling, Fosters, Stella, San Miguel, Guinness and Strongbow with ales such as Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen also available. If you buy certain spirits you can double up for between £1 and £1.50 and some bottles of wine are as cheap as £6.49.
With the food that we've tried getting pretty decent ratings, it's a real shame the service is so inconsistent. On previous occasions we've been there we've been so disappointed with the service that we've said we really would not set food in there again, with staff being openly rude to customers' face and to our face. The most recent time we went there was a queue of about 8 people waiting and when hubby went up to place the order he noted that the manager took note of how slowly the queue was moving and came over to open up another till to take orders. When he returned to the table I was seated at (you need to take note of your table number before you place your order) he put down the glass of Diet Coke I'd ordered and I was dismayed to see there were 8 or 9 huge cubes of ice taking up most of the glass and barely any actual liquid in the glass. I went over to the counter to ask politely for the ice to be removed and the glass to actually be filled with Diet Coke and the girl behind the counter very begrudgingly took my glass and then poured another one with just 2 cubes of ice this time. When she put the glass down on the counter she said quite impolitely "That's £1.95!" no hint of a smile, no "please!" When she saw the expression on my face she quickly realised the drink had already been paid for and said "Oh". No apology for trying to make me pay twice! A few minutes later another waitress came over to place a metal container with cutlery and condiments on our able, I smiled at her and my husband said "Thank you" she neither made eye contact with us nor acknowledged our thanks! The waiter who collected our finished meal plates was at least genuinely friendly when he asked if the food had been ok. Although the fact that we'd emptied our plates would have been a bit of a giveaway; it was nice to be asked!
This service was on the whole no real improvement on previous occasions such as when staff had not said "thank you" when taking payment for food or drinks or saying "please" when requesting payment, also slamming change down on the counter in a puddle of wet beer. Really, I can't even think why we went back there, although the service from the male staff was definitely better than received from the female staff and asking hubby he also recalls that we've generally had acceptable service from male staff members on previous visits too!
As most of the pub/restaurant is on one level there is easy access for wheelchair users, although the tables are so close together that it might be difficult to accommodate a wheelchair user.
The car park is fairly large although on our most recent visit, it was fairly busy when we arrived and people had started stupidly double parking as we were leaving. There is outside seating available which we've personally never taken advantage of.
The toilet facilities here are rather hit and miss. On the whole I don't recall ever being impressed with the toilets but on my most recent visit I found the ladies toilets even smellier than previously with water on the floor (I hope it was water) and had to wait for a toilet to become available as at least one was out of toilet paper. When I've asked hubby about the gent's toilets he said that the only reason he even steps foot in there is because of the fairly long drive home which if there's really bad traffic could take more than 2 hours.
The pub/restaurant also has a couple of TV screens as well as a pool table and dart board. I understand there's a weekly quiz on Wednesday evenings.
Because of where this pub/restaurant is situated I imagine they don't give a hoot about getting repeat business because they are guaranteed to get out of towners on their first. When coming out of a shopping complex such as Bicester Village where the service levels remind me of decades ago when people in retail were actually on the whole very polite and friendly and welcoming to customers, it's a bit of a shock to be treated like a non-entity when you go to the Hungry Horse!
So overall I can't really give this venue more than 3 out of 5 stars. Both my husband and I pride ourselves on treating people with respect when we go shopping or dine out or visit pubs which makes it all the more irksome to be treated so poorly when dining out!
NB: my review is based on the Hungry Horse restaurant. I have not frequented The Acorn pub in the evening and have no intention of ever doing so with the service levels experienced for diners I can't imagine it's much better in the evenings.
CONTACT DETAILS/OPENING HOURS
The Acorn/Hungry Horse
Tel. 01869 246562
Mon - Sat: 11:00-23:00
Food available from 11:00 - 21:00 daily
Summary: Convenient location for shopping at Bicester Village, food good, service not!