My family have had a love-hate relationship with our local F&Bs for some years; on occasion the food gets so grim that we choose not to ever go again, but a few years later we forget ourselves, go a few times, find it on the good side of adequate, then on another occasion something gets served up that make us realise why we cook at home more often than not these days. It’s a shame; F&Bs could be what it once purported to be, which is somewhere on the classier end of an American diner, replete with baseball newspapers decorating the gents, framed pictures of Lou Costello, random stylish mobsters, and a soundtrack from your ever-so-hip Aunty’s radiogram circa 1959. The music’s gone, by and large, and with it much of the atmosphere, leaving a bit of greasy desperation hanging in the air.
My family went to this place in Aintree this hot summer’s evening. Air conditioning barely adequate, but given the weather, just forgiveable. Meat platter starter for four was great - good ribs, chicken pieces, stuffed jacket skins, garlic breads with cheese and bacon (mine was a bit cold at the edge but I thought I’d not make a fuss...). Mains - two kid’s pizzas, one large, one small as ordered - both fine. Rack of ribs - lovely. A bit formulaic but this is a chain, not an artisan restaurant, so appearance and presentation is what you’d expect. Microscopic ramekin of coleslaw rather funky in taste, redolent of at least one hot afternoon too many. Rump steak, medium rare - quite inedible. Texture of an ancient Roman sandal on the outside, a squashy memory-foam pillow on the inside. Never have two diners struggled so heroically to cut into a piece of meat with a steak knife to so little effect. I’m not a chef - far from it - but I can do better with a cheap lump of rump from Aldi any day of the week.
The friendly and obliging waitress seemed almost to be expecting a complaint about it, coming to our table with the customary ‘is everything all right?’ being delivered with rather more trepidation than one might expect. She knocked the meal off the bill, along with the more expensive of the kid’s meals - appreciated, thank you.
Final insult - no mini doughnut on the kids’ freak shakes, as shown.
Two stars for the ribs and the obliging waitress. We’ll be back when we forget ourselves again in a few years.
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