Harvester - The Honey Pot, Basildon
It was good to see some Veggie and Vegan choices in a place famed for the meaty products it serves. However the food REALLY let down the fabulous staff and great looking restaurant. I didn’t pay for the meal as it was a review. However I wouldn’t be happy paying for it if I was a normal punter. T
Harvester is a restaurant chain that evokes strong emotions in me. It was a restaurant chain that we frequented as a family when I was little. I have very vivid memories of phenomenal meals there as a little boy. Going to see the animatronic Wurzel Gummage and Aunt Sally that most branches had in the 80s. Then when I was a teenager and going out with meals with friends, it was pretty much ALWAYS the Harvester. I celebrated my 18th birthday in one where I got my first mobile phone as a joint present from all my friends.
In recent years though, it’s not somewhere I’ve visited – at all. I didn’t really imagine a place renowned for flame grilled food would be fantastic for vegetarians. To me it always felt like the place I went to with my parents. Stuck in a time-warp. When the PR company got in touch and asked me to try one of their refurbished ‘2020’ Harvester – The Honey Pot in Basildon, I was wary. However, this quickly faded when I saw the menu. There were vegetarian choices, and even vegan choices – their menu wasn’t stuck in the past. How about the restaurant?
Externally, it looks as you’d expect from a Harvester, however, stepping inside, it’s very different to my memory. The tumble-down barn styling of yesteryear is gone. It looks fantastic, a mixture of styles, and soft furnishings, great light fittings and a lovely cosy atmosphere. It looks fantastic, and it’s been done to a very high standard. I was impressed at just how good this iconic chain was looking – it’s ready for 2020 and beyond!
It wasn’t a completely ‘blind’ review – they clearly knew that we were there to review. The welcome was warm and friendly, and we were led to our table. Our waitress was wonderful, very attentive, yet not to the point where it was too much. She interacted well with the kids. J had just recovered from a horrible cold and wasn’t in the best of moods she got him to smile. I watched as we were served and we weren’t getting special treatment – everyone seemed to be well looked after. Definitely no complaints about the staff at the Harvester – The Honey Pot.
Food and Drink
I was impressed by the choices available on the menu – they seem to have most bases covered. There’s a great kids menu that allows the kids to customise their meal. They come in three sizes too – priced at £3.99, £4.99 and £5.99 depending on the appetite of the child. We picked a selection of the Tapas style starters to tuck into first.
Not the most impressive looking plates of food I’ve been served – but how did it all taste? It was fine. Just fine. I was hungry, it did the job – it just didn’t leave me lusting for more.
Onto our mains – I opted for the Boho Burger, and Miss A chose the Herb-Battered Halloumi and Chips.
I actually quite enjoyed my Boho Burger. It was nice. The chips weren’t great, the slaw wasn’t either. The Burger though, was full of flavours and very enjoyable. Miss A didn’t really enjoy her meal – I tried the ‘herb battered Halloumi’. It was pretty bland, I couldn’t taste any herbs – I could just taste the oil from the fryer. I LOVE battered Halloumi, it’s something we make at home. This was a disappointment – as with mine the chips weren’t great and neither were the mushy peas.
G loved her BBQ Chicken – she was practically licking the plate. J wasn’t sold on his meal, however, he wasn’t 100% and not really eating masses. Everyone ate from the iconic ‘Salad Cart’ – the theme continued there. Yes, it was okay, but it could have been so much better!
I must admit, I’ve struggled with this review. I’ve dropped it down on the to-do list – because I feel horrible writing it. The staff at Harvester – The Honey Pot were fantastic. Nothing felt like too much bother – I’ve had much worse service at much more expensive places. They really were impeccable.
The ‘2020’ direction of Harvester – The Honey Pot is excellent. That retro feel is gone, and the restaurant looks great from the front door to the toilets. It’s been done brilliantly and I imagine as it’s rolled out across the branches customers will appreciate the upgrade.
It was good to see some Veggie and Vegan choices in a place famed for the meaty products it serves. However the food REALLY let down the fabulous staff and great looking restaurant. I didn’t pay for the meal as it was a review. However I wouldn’t be happy paying for it if I was a normal punter. The changes that Harvester are making are welcome and with some work to the food – it could become a ‘go-to’ place for many families. As it is now though – the food needs some work. There’s no point having good choices if they don’t taste good!
Disclaimer – Our meal was paid for by Harvester – The Honey Pot. All views and opinions are mine.