We went to The Packhorse to see if it lived up to the hype

At least they do 2 for 1 cocktails everyday

Since opening on Monday 22nd May, The Packhorse has received a variety of reviews over the first two days. Sadly, most of them negative. I think it’s fair to say we were all pretty heartbroken when the beloved Monkeys Forehead closed (even if the sign was grammatically incorrect) and we all hoped The Packhorse would live up to its legacy. Deep down however, I think we all worried this would never going to happen. If Tommy’s food is anything to go by, the standard of another SU owned venue serving food didn’t have a bright future. People have been saying that Tommy’s food is actually better which makes me worry for everyone, because last time I had a burger there it was like chewing on a leather flip flop. After visiting on Wednesday however, I have to say the food wasn’t all that bad. The burger was definitely better than Tommys so maybe the issues were simply first day nerves. The chips were a bit like cardboard though.

Opening day, people were apparently served undercooked chicken, vegetarian meals with meat juice on it and stale bread. Fair enough, this may have been on the first day of opening so things weren’t always going to go smoothly, but making sure chicken is cooked isn’t all that difficult really. It’s also kind of necessary for that whole not giving people food poisoning thing. They even apparently managed to fuck up mayo. If you manage to make mayo crusty, then I think you really need to have a think about what you’re doing wrong here. Mayo is a lot of things, but crusty should not be one of them.

Wings good. Under cooked wings, bad.

There’s been an abundance of reviews left on the Facebook page since the opening. My personal favourite is the guy who is super salty about his Caesar salad being shit that he is commenting on everyone else’s reviews with a reply about his salad. On the subject of the Caesar salad, should we tell them that they’ve spelt it wrong on the menu? Other than bad food, there have been many reviews about poor service with someone having to wait nearly two and a half hours for a bowl of chips. You could walk to Tesco, buy oven chips, walk home, cook them and eat them with time for a brew after in that time. Also £4.75 for a pint of IPA is simply daylight robbery, they should wear a striped jumper and a mask.

Et tu Brute

Salty as the chips.

With all the reviews, there has been a steady flow of negative comments and several 1* reviews. On Tuesday however, a whole heap of 5* reviews suddenly appeared, most of which appear to have been written by people who work for the SU. It seems like someone has perhaps advised staff to drown out the poor reviews of people who have actually experienced it. Does this not then suggest that rather than listening to their student’s comments, the SU are wishing to simply run a business?

In saying this, the SU have responded to the negative comments this morning with this post.

At least they appear to be trying. Whether it actually happens, who knows.

Whilst food timing can be excused to a point, I think waiting over two hours for a bowl of chips is more than appalling service. The same goes for undercooked food or food not arriving as advertised. New staff or not, there should be no circumstance in which people are served in-edible food. To have a few teething issues with service is to be expected on an opening week, but undercooked food is more than just a teething issue. Staff should be properly trained to notice issues like this and not send food out that isn’t fit for consumption.

Thankfully my burger was edible.

 

We can only hope that the SU do listen to their students and sort out all the problems and that this week proves to be an anomaly in the quality of The Packhorse. Maybe we treat this week as a dress rehearsal. As they say in the theatre world, a bad dress rehearsal means for a good show.

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Royal Holloway, University of London