“ Address: Bridgnorth Road / Wolverhampton / WV6 8BN / England „
Although I have lived close to Wolverhampton for most of my life, it has only been over the past 3 years that I have visited The Mermaid in Wolverhampton and my parents lived literary 3 minutes away for over 20yrs. After my father died, with me working shifts; my mother and I often had lunch out either in Telford or in Wolverhampton during the week.
My mother used to love steak baguettes or sandwiches with a serving of chips, which we have eaten here on our luncheons in sandwich form on thick crusty bread, red onion chutney, seasoned (this is means lightly salted with sea salt and pepper), and a small side salad. I have to say it was very impressive and filling.
Moving on I was so impressed that we arranged to meet friends here, who lived on the other side of Wolverhampton, as The Mermaid was a half way point, this introduced the pub to them and my husband, I'm afraid I can't remember exactly what we all had on that occasion as it was a while back, but the pub stayed in my memory and so it seemed a good place for a very mini ciao meet, where I got to meet Jesi another ciao reviewer (which I will cover in a little more detail later in the review).
My last visit was today, we had to go and bag up moms' clothes and also my father's although he had been passed 3 yrs mom had never got rid of his clothing. So my sisters and I were sorting through some more items, taking home some Christmas decorations that held memories from our childhoods and packing our parents clothing up for the charity shops. It was extremely sad and you had to physically stop yourself from recalling a memory when you picked up each item and thinking of the last time it was worn, so that you could get the job in hand completed. Sorry, we won't dwell on that, as my one sister and I have a fair distance to travel to visit Mom and Dads' home, we decided to go for tea somewhere before we all headed back, this meant that we could talk and put the events of the day to rest and try to carry on with life as you do. So we went to The Mermaid for our meal (I will go into more detail later in the review).
~~ What's on the Menu ~~
Well firstly if you want to take a good thorough look at the menu you can actually download it off the internet, just follow this link. http://www.vintageinn.co.uk/themermaidwightwick/food from this link you can download it on to your screen and get more detail, but I will give you a small sample to tempt you.
Food is served all day every day between 1200hrs and 2200hrs Mon - Sat and on a Sunday they serve until 2130hrs. The do provide a lunch menu on all days which finishes at 1700hrs, but this is alongside the main menu as well.
The Lunch Menu
Sandwiches - Mature Cheddar, Brie and Bacon Melt, Smoked Salmon, Grilled Steak and Chicken BLT, not all of these are served with chips, but the menu lets you know which ones, I have only tried the grilled steak and both my mother and I were very impressed. The prices for them range between £4.00 and £6.00 as of Jan 09.
Panini's - are all served toasted in a traditional Italian focaccia flat bread with dressed rocket and confit of tomato. Your choices comprise of Chorizo (spicy sausage with sweet peppers and goat cheese), Vegetable (grilled vegetables with sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil pesto) or Ham which comes with mozzarella cheese and baby spinach. These are all currently priced at just over £5.00 each and if you want chips you need to order these on top of your Panini at an extra cost of 98p.
Hearty Soup - there offer a choice of 3 soups at the price of £3.92 and state that this is a 'meal in a bowl' all are served with a crusty roll and butter. You have the choice of a Beef Goulash, Chicken Mulligatawny or a Rich Scotch Broth.
The lunch menu does not stop here, as Jesi and I both eat off the lunch menu which comes with its own offers as well, for example they have set prices for one course at £5.82, two courses at £7.78 or three courses at £9.74. So as you can imagine you do have a choice of starters, main courses and desserts. To break this down even further on the lunch menu there are 3 starters to choose from, 8 main courses and 3 desserts, but on top of this they do have a menu board with the days specials for your perusal.
It seems a good time to mention in more detail my lovely visit with Jesi so here goes. Jesi and I are what you call old timers on ciao now as we have both been on here for a while now, although we speak in guest books we had never met, well actually she is the one and only ciao member that I have met off line, so to speak. Both Jesi and I shared a common bond with both of us losing a parent during 2008 so we started to chat and when I realised how close we would be it seemed a good idea to meet, so all arranged we had lunch at The Mermaid.
Jesi had the Crispy Lemon Chicken, which was described as being British Chicken Fillet, which is fried in crispy lemon and parsley crumb, served with seasoned chips and a side salad. Although Jesi enjoyed her meal she was a little disappointed with the seasoned fries, as like a lot of people she expected them from the description to be a little spicy. I did speak to the manager on todays' visit about this and he said he has had customers say that to him before, but seasoned actually means in this case as slightly salted with sea salt and pepper, and they have to mention this in case people request them not to be seasoned.
I had an old favourite of mine Shepherds' Pie, which they have described as slow cooked minced lamb with onions and rosemary, topped with black pepper mash and served with seasoned chips, carrots and buttered peas. I really enjoyed my meal the Shepherds' Pie was perfectly seasoned, the black pepper did not over power the mash, and I have to say I hate butter, but this did not put me off the peas which means that they did not go over the top on the butter. All in all it was a very pleasant meal. There was plenty to eat and I think both Jesi and I left with a full tummy.
The Main Menu
We arrived around 1530hrs and the main menu was on offer, with a much bigger selection than the lunch menu, this is also available to be downloaded via the above link. You are offered a massive choice of 10 starters from the traditional Soup of the Day and Prawn Cocktail to Tiger Prawn Gratin or Grilled Chicken Caesar Skewers. These are currently priced between £2.95 and £10.95 (which is a starter for sharing).
The main courses are spilt into sections; I will give you a small sample
Pub Classics - these include the main courses we ate today, my sister and I both went for an Open Chicken Pie (their description) succulent chicken breasts, ham and leeks in a smoked applewood cheddar sauce with seasoned chips and garden peas,. The pie came in its own dish and had a simple puff pastry around the edge but not covering the whole pie, there was no pastry under the chicken and sauce which suited me just fine. I can honestly say that both my sister and I absolutely loved this, the chicken was indeed succulent and the taste of the cheddar and leeks really came through without over powering each other, it was really lovely and I would most definitely have it again on future visits.
Our hubbys' strangely enough also choose the same meal they went for the Beef, Mushroom and Guinness Pie this is described as 'deep filled with slow cooked beef, topped with puff pastry, served with mashed potato and seasonal vegetables. Now funnily enough both hubbys also asked if they could have chips instead of mash as neither are fans of mash potato. The nice thing about eating out with family you can all try each other's meals; sadly we only had a choice of two tonight as we all picked the same. I thought the pie looked really rustic and lovely with a thick pie crust overflowing down the side of the dish, the gravy was really rich and the taste of the Guinness actually came through. Hubby really enjoyed this; he actually said that he wished he had a spoon to finish all the gravy off. He even ate all his chips so he could get more of the gravy; this is unusual for him as he nearly always leaves the chips. He did leave his vegetables as he was not impressed by them, but vegetables can be an acquired taste, tonight they had French beans, shredded brussel sprouts and carrots, although my hubby and I thought our meals were very large and enjoyable, my brother in law, was disappointed that it was not a 'proper' pie with pastry underneath as well as on top and he also says he would have enjoyed more food on his plate, but he did enjoy the taste.
Those are just two of the 8 choices on offer in this section; these are priced between £6.50 and £8.95. You will be spoilt for choice and there's more.
Our Signature Dishes - There is a choice of 7 dishes in this section, which include examples like Smoked Aubergine Stack (vegetarian) this is smoked aubergine, tomatoes and herb stack topped with rocket, shaved Italian hard cheese and baby potatoes. Five Spiced Duck which is duck breast and duck leg confit marinated in Chinese spices served with steamed pak choi and new potatoes. The prices range from £7.95 for a Duck Salad right up to £11.95 for Calves Liver.
Chargrill - exactly what is says a choice of 9 meals from the Chargrill, including Piri Piri Chicken to Gammon and Eggs. The prices range from £6.95 for the Gammon and Eggs to £12.50 for a Ribeye Steak. They also offer a choice of peppercorn & brandy sauce, or red wine, bacon and baby onion sauce at an optional extra of £1.50.
Fish of the Day - gives the option of 6 fish dishes from Seafood Pasta at £7.25 to Organically Reared Salmon with Risotto at £10.95. The Luxury Fish Pie sounds nice in this section it is described as salmon, king prawns, cod and smoked haddock in a light cream and wine sauce topped with cheese and potatoes, served with seasonal vegetables. (I might try this on another visit).
If that's not enough choice; don't forget you still have the black board with 'Today's Specials' on.
Sundays, they have the addition of the Sunday Roast giving you the choice of Beef, Turkey and the Roast of the Day (either Pork or Lamb). The Vegetarian option is Goats Cheese and Nut Wellington.
The main meals are a lovely size and will suit the hearty appetite, but if you do need that little extra they do offer side orders as well, these include, chips, mashed potato, garlic bread, gratin potatoes, cheesy garlic bread, side salad, seasoned vegetables and bread and butter, prices range here again from 70p to £2.00.
Puddings - There was a wonderful choice of 10 desserts priced between £2.95 and £4.50 My brother in law ordered the Apple and Plum Crumble which came in a generous sized dish approx 6in in diameter, with a large dollop of vanilla ice-cream sitting on top in the centre and a small pot of custard. He informs me that it tasted delicious.
Being the polite lady that I am I couldn't let him eat a dessert on his own so I ordered a Lemon Meringue Cheesecake which came with lemon sauce and crème fraiche, I thought it sounded really nice, but sadly they had run out of it (so I guess it was, lol). Once the staff realised it had run out they came over promptly and informed me asking if I would like to choose another option, so I went for the Profiteroles and asked my sister to share it with me. I was expecting the usual bunch of 4 or 5 small ones on a plate served with whipped cream, what I got was something spectacular there was 2 humongous Profiteroles covered with a generous drizzle of chocolate fudge sauce and a generous helping of whipped cream, oh and goodness, they did melt in the mouth; what really surprised me was that the sauce was so tasty and not the sweet gooey sauce that usually comes with such a dish. There was much too much for me to eat on my own, so I am very pleased that my sister was there to help me as she ate the other half of it.
We also had tea, coffee and drinks with our meal and for four of us the bill only came to £53.76.
~~ Drinks ~~
Well this is a public house so as you can expect there is a vast array of cast beers, wines and soft drinks. There is also a selection of various teas, coffees and hot chocolate, so something to suit most tastes.
~~ Special Needs ~~
They do cater for children as we did notice that there were high chairs available.
It is also wheelchair friendly with a ramp to get you in and out of the public house, there is also a disabled toilet which you can enter with a radar key.
They do cater for vegetarians and as most places they mark the meals with a 'V' on the menu.
The ladies and gents toilets are up the stairs and I have been informed by my family that they were very clean and adequate.
The car park is one way in and one way out, but it is very large on two levels, with disabled parking as well.
There is also an outside seating area for smokers and customers that like to sit outside especially during the occasional warm day.
~~Where is it? ~~
The Mermaid is part of Vintage Inns and details of location including a map can be found on their website.
~~ A Little History ~~
Whilst I was there I spoke to the very nice manager of the last 3.5yrs (Sean Atkinson) and he gave me a little history, I did make a couple of little notes but I can't remember everything he told me, but I will do my best to share a bit of it with you.
The Mermaid was built in the 18th Century and was once a part of the Wightwick (pronounced Wittick) Manor estate and on Temperance grounds (no alcohol), it was the village institute and held reading rooms. During the early 1900's the estate got a total revamp and this included the renovation of the public house and it was re opened as a Temperance public house, but alcohol was not totally prohibited but only sold in strict moderation and only along the guidelines set out at the time, but you could buy tea, coffee and a well cooked meal from there, it served well for the workers from the canal close by.
It is now still a thriving public house and restaurant, inside it is long and narrow, but warm and welcoming, the ambiance is very pleasant, there is background music playing but it is by no means intrusive, I do remember hearing something but it was not loud so that you had to shout to have a conversation with your family or friends you are eating with.
~~ Conclusion ~~
I would recommend a visit here if you are ever in the area, the manager was extremely helpful on all my visits, he even let Jesi take his photo for the review she wrote (her 100th review). He was very pleased to help me when I asked him if he could tell me a little about the pub and its history. The staff were swift and helpful, we did not have to wait too long for our plates to be cleared away and he came over to take a white wooden spoon away after we had been settled with our meals. If you had a question he was only too happy to answer it for you.
A traditional country pub serving delicious food.