We nipped in to Lincoln city centre this Sunday lunchtime, and were planning to visit the stunning Bailgate area, but we ended up gravitating towards the Brayford in search of ‘bangers and mash’, as requested by JD, 3.
The Harvester chain
The Harvester is a salad and grill chain restaurant that offers quick service, cheap food and unlimited salad and drinks.
You’ve probably seen the awful fast-food style TV ad they’re currently running – I know they’re not trying to win over The Ivy crowd, but yeesh! Anyway…
It’s a simple concept:
- Pick a grill (sausage, vege sausage, lamb, beef, chicken, burgers – usually with some from of veg)
- Choose a sauce (gravy, chilli, dressings, salsas)
- Add a side (rice, mash, chips, jacket potato, boiled potatoes)
- Order your food
- Fill a bowl with unlimited salad
The price is given against the grill choice (c. £6-11 per person), and everything else is included in that price.
There are also some ‘complete’ alternatives such as pasta and stuffed mushrooms if you’re not keen on the ‘build your own’ approach.
Drinks are extra, but adults can get unlimited soda refills for £2.29 each, and starters are generally £3-5 for such options as prawns, breaded mushrooms, melon or nachos.
If you’ve room for dessert, the focus is on ‘Super Sundaes’ – huge ice cream sundaes for £3-4, but there’s also a choice of the usual cakes, fruit and tarts for under £4.
The kids menu works in a similar way. A main, side and veg is £4.49 (or £3.99 for very small appetites) and desserts are £1-2.
One of the main reasons we like the Harvester is that the waiting staff are polite and friendly, never leave us waiting for a table (even in busy periods), and always take the time to talk to an invariable chatty JD.
The children’s menu we’re given as we take our seats is also a colouring sheet and comes with a pot of colouring pencils – pretty standard in chain-type family restaurants these days, but still appreciated.
The tables, floors, toilets and cutlery are all spotlessly clean and have been every time we’ve visited. Chain restaurants can often get grubby when well-frequented (Pizza Express, anyone?) but the staff at this branch of the Harvester do a really good job.
While waiting for our mains, we head for the salad bar. On this visit, we arrived just after 12pm and it was bursting with crunchy fresh veg, pasta salad and various other buffet standards. On previous occasions though, we’ve arrived later in the day and it’s been a less attractive, with rather limp looking peppers and almost empty pasta / potato salad vats. I’m pretty sure they’d restock on request, though.
The mains arrive quickly and aren’t amazing, but the portions are a good size and I’d just class it as perfectly edible pub-style fodder. The soya sausages I opted for are actually rather tasty, and though the mash tasted a bit reconstituted, for the price (we all had three courses and lots to drink for £40), we were perfectly satisfied – and very full.
If you’re visiting the Harvester with children, you can download the ‘young guests’ menu, and there’s also a tool for checking dishes for common food intolerances and allergies.