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Rainy Day, Long Drive & Brewers Fayre (in Elgin)

To brighten up yet another rainy, miserable day in the Scottish school holiday season, we decided to take the kids for a  nice long drive.  Heading off in light rain, we got as far as Nairn when we felt the wrath of Mr Raindrops.  We carried on to Inverness, but the rain beat us back, and we headed back down the road.  It was getting late, and was about 6pm before we got back out onto the Aberdeen road.

Stopping off at the Parkdean (Holiday Camp?)  in Nairn where we saw a sign for a “caravan exhibition”, we were disappointed to find the holiday park whose exhibition was simply the few static caravans that are always out for sale.  Moving to the front door, we decided that we would stop off and have something to eat in their restaurant.  The kids ran to the door, expecting to be able to go sit down, and then we saw the signs on the door saying that we wouldn’t be welcome and would be asked to leave as we were not owners or paying holiday guests.  Shrugging our shoulders at the unfriendliness of the welcome of the “caravan  exhibition”, we moved on and decided to spend our money elsewhere.

Carrying on through torrential rain, and puddles half across the road, we reached Elgin, and briefly flirted with the bowling alley.  We were gobsmacked at the prices for letting the kids go play in the play frame for such a little town £4.40 per child.  We played a game of air hockey, dumped a couple of pound in the bandits, and then moved on again as the place was quickly filling up with teenagers.

We spotted the Brewers Fayre from the side of the road, and we decided it would be the perfect place for a stop of.  It’s been a while since we ate in a Brewers Fayre, and to be honest, I was not very impressed with the food on the last occasion I visited one in Aberdeen.  With a heart half down my sleeve, we all piled in, and I expected dross on a plate, dressed up as food for the kids “supper treat”.

It was too wet for the outside play area to be of any use, and the inside play frame was tiny, and only really suitable for younger children.  As we were late to eat, there were few children in the restaurant, and the boys just went in and played anyway.   Brewers Fayre are one of those places where you decide what to eat at your table, and go to the desk to order.  It works out fine, as you don’t feel the pressure to have your order ready to place within 20 seconds of sitting down, and before you’ve even got the kids jackets off.

Two children’s portions of chicken nuggets, and a childs pizza decided, the adults looked over the menu.  There seems to be many different deals they put on for different times of day, and on Thursday night, it was curry night.  There were about 5 or 6 different currys to choose from.  I chose a korma with nan bread and rice.  The deal was a curry and a drink for £6.99.  That’s pretty good value.

Hub chose a half chicken, and the meals really didn’t take long to arrive at all.  I went back to reception with the bill, as we had asked for coke for the kids, which was down on the menu for 75p.  They had charged us the full standard  price for a pepsi as they had run out of their bottles of coke for the kids.  Hub had ordered the food and he hadn’t thought anything about it.   It was when we looked at the bill, we spotted the price of  the kids drinks was £5.25, where it should have been £2.25.

The girl behind the till was friendly, but not prepared to do anything about the overcharge.  She just kept stating that they had run out of the kids coke, so they had charged for a full price pepsi from draft (which is more expensive).  Mhhhm.   Not a great answer I have to say.   I asked her what she could do about it and that it was poor service.   As far as I am concerned, if the kids menu states a coke at 75p with their meal.  I don’t care if its bottled, canned, or draft, but a coke for 75p is what I expect.  NOT a coke for £1.75.

I also asked her if there was a complaints procedure, or a form I could fill out to feedback on it.   I was told there is no complaints or feedback procedure.   At this point, I asked her if there was someone else I could speak to, and she finally mentioned the Manager.    I think they need some more customer service training.

Fair play to the manager, he came out and immediately refunded the £3.00 extra charged for kids cokes, and on I went to get my meal.  The food was fantastic.  I don’t know if Brewers Fayre in Elgin has a good chef, or sources good ingredients, or whether Brewers Fayre food has improved in general, but I have to say it was lovely.

Kidlets were well impressed with their puddings, which were much improved versions from similar types that we have had elsewhere.

The price was reasonable at £36.72 for

– 3 kids meals with puddings, and drinks
– 2 adult meals with a pint and a diet pepsi
– hubs extra portion of chips and onion rings

If we lived closer, I would be tempted to visit the Elgin branch more often.  It might even make me revisit the local Aberdeen one.  All in all, the food, peaceful evening, and lack of noise and distractions for my boys who need calm as much as possible  – made for a pleasant end to the day.

Sadly, after leaving at 10.30 pm, we then had a hair-raising journey back through teeming sheets of rain.   Back to reality with a bump, bump, bump.