Sunday, 7 January 2007

Great Restormel Roast Review: The Western In, St Austell GRRR#1

The Western Inn, or "wezzer" is my local pub, so what better way to start The GRRR Project than with Sunday lunch there. But before I talk about the review I do need to say as a caveat that one of the worst meals I have eaten in Cornwall was at The Western Inn. This was three or four years ago and it was just a vile kind of scampi and chips meets Frankenstein combo. Dreadful and only trumped in badness by the "cafe" at the Lappa Valley Steam Railway, which you should never grace with your presence.

The Pub

The Western Inn is at the Western side of St Austell, straddled by the COOP and the Riverside Chinese take away. It doesn't get many points for its location that's for sure, but if you are interested in ancient river crossings there is a very old bridge next to it that is mentioned in some very old texts and, more importantly, the Mid Cornwall Blog. Unlike other St Austell town centre pubs, parking isn't a problem as the pub has its own car park, or you can use the COOP's.

The Western Inn has been renovated inside and out quite recently since acquiring new management. Last year the pub won a prestigious pub trade award and this year is in the running for a second.

The Meal

There were lots of us eating today: eight adults and a countless bunch of children, some of which were even my own, allegedly. We booked at 10am and were told that we could have the top area for ourselves which would also be no smoking. A good start. The big fire in the open stove was on and the St Austell ales were flowing nicely.

I think in these GRRR Project reviews we will drop the normal highly entertaining and hilarious postmodern prose and instead jump in with pros and cons as bullet points about the meal itself, based upon all reviewers comments.


  • The beef - This was just about as good a bit of beef as I have had and most of us agreed. It melted in the mouth, was tender with a crispy edge and was well portioned. One of us preferred it more rare but admits he didn’t ask for that.

  • The veggies - These were fresh from the farm in the morning and were of a very high quality. Its not often you go out to a pub roast and think, “Mmm.. ya me like de carrots,” but that’s what happened with these little fellas.

  • Portions – Again, good. Some places give you way too much and you end up spending most of Sunday in a condition doctors called PRB or post-roast bloat. Here the portions were just right in our opinion.

  • Sundries – The horseradish was great, not sure if it was home made or not but it had a good kick. The yorkshire puds were definitely home made and, again, really nice.

  • The vegetarian option – Readers of this blog will be starting to learn about the dire state of veggie food in local restaurants. The one veggie in our party (my domestic assistant) had the same roast as us but with veggie sausages and she thought it was easily one of the best veggie meals (not just roasts) she has had out in Cornwall for a long while. She gave her meal 8 out of 10.

  • Desserts - The desserts were nothing super special in terms of choice: just pancakes, local ice cream etc., but those who had them all thought they were fab.

  • The price – It was only when paying I asked how much the roasts were. At £5.95 I was pretty shocked. That’s astounding value for the quality of the food, especially when other local pubs charge 50% more.

  • The gravy – This wasn’t exactly bad but it wasn’t on the same level as the rest of the meal. It was a tad not thick enough and one of the reviewers complained, rightly so I think, that it lacked noticeable seasoning.

  • The roast potatoes - Again, these weren’t bad at all, but they could have done with that super crispy chunky yummy exterior that the best roast roasites always have. (I have since discovered that the manageress makes expert roast potatoes normally but on this day she was preparing questions for the pub quiz. Our taste buds' loss was someone’s brain cells gain.)
Score and Conclusions

In these reviews we will list the marks out of ten from all adults in the party and then give a final "offical" score for use in comparison with other pub roasts reviews in future. Children's marks won't be recorded. None of them can really count. Also these scores are just for the food and not for the location, value for money, service etc.

Individual Reviewer Scores: 7.5/10, 8/10, 7.5/10, 7/10, 6/10, 8/10 8/10(v)

Considering this is the first review in the Great Restormel Roast Review I think its going to be a hard act to follow. In terms of location the Western Inn is probably at the bottom of the league for Mid Cornwall pubs, but in terms of the food and general homeliness of the Sunday Roast it is well worth a Sunday visit. Bravo!

Official GRRR Project score, 8/10

The Western Inn, St Austell, 01726 72797

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