Gifted post: complimentary 3 course meal for 5
I am forever complaining that there is a lack of restaurants in Swindon to eat at on occasions. Casual dinning, there is plenty of, but something a little more special? Not so much. As a result, we often end up going further afield to eat out, which then adds expensive taxi fares on top of the food bill: not ideal! With all this in mind, I was very excited to be invited to the relaunch of The Weighbridge Brewhouse restaurant in Swindon last weekend. Could this option be back on the table for dining out closer to home?
By their own admission, the management at The Weighbridge had previously got a few things wrong, and the restaurant had fallen out of favour. So, I was very pleased to hear that they were listening to their diners, and have updated the décor and overhauled the menu. I brought with me my trusty crack-team of foodies: my fiancé Chris, my sister and my parents to sample their new and improved offering.
The new outdoor astroturfed seating area looks smart, and on entering, the restaurant itself looks stunning. When we first arrived, the sun was still shining gloriously through the glass roof, but as the summer evening went on, the room was lit by a warm glow from copper trees sparkling with lights. The bar has a great selection of drinks, and we started with glasses of prosecco (with strawberries!), cider and ale. The staff are welcoming and knowledgeable, and a choice of indoor and outdoor seating provides the perfect place to enjoy an early pre-dinner, or later post dinner drink: so far so good!
After a brief tour of the upstairs area of the restaurant, we were seated in a large booth, and handed the new menus. Now including a selection of snacks and starters, items from the grill, main courses and desserts, there was plenty to choose from. With all of the food sounding excellent, it was a tough choice, but we finally settled on wild mushrooms on toast with a fried duck egg, beetroot with truffle and honey whipped goat’s cheese, Ardennes pâté and chorizo scotch egg to start. The duck egg was runny with well-seasoned mushrooms on crisp toast, the pâté had an excellent flavour, the chorizo egg was very tasty, an unusual twist on a scotch egg, and the beetroot was delicious – I just wish there had been more of it!
If the starters were light and full of flavour, the mains were pleasingly robust, and equally tasty. My lobster Thermidor was delicious and very well-cooked, served with crisp chips perfect for dunking in the cheesy sauce, though I could have gone for something green on the side. Meanwhile the whole plaice was impressive, falling away easily from the bone with little morsels of flavour from brown shrimp. From the grill, a veal chop, fillet steak and T-bone steak were all cooked perfectly, well-seasoned and full of flavour. Sauce and 2 sides are included with each grill dish, with options like dauphinoise potatoes, triple cooked chips, Tenderstem broccoli with blue cheese and salad available.
I was pleased to find I had just the right spot left to manage dessert, and the options available were definitely tempting enough to persuade me. My fiancé and dad were reliably predictable in ordering the strawberry and vanilla cheesecake and sticky toffee pudding. Both were done excellently, and the sticky toffee pudding is possibly the best I have tasted. For those who can’t decide though, The Weighbridge dessert platter, with smaller portions of desserts including strawberry cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding, chocolate brownie and chocolate and cherry sphere is definitely the way to go. These were all delicious, but the real star of this platter is the cherry sphere. The cherries are an absolute powerhouse of tangy flavour, set perfectly against rich dark chocolate. Next time I will be ordering the full-size version!
Overall, we had a delicious meal, and the relaunch of the restaurant and menu for me are a success. It’s fantastic to know that this is an option for a meal out in our local area, and I will definitely be back soon, if only for that chocolate and cherry dessert!
Brewhouse, Penzance Drive, Swindon SN5 7JL, 01793
Open every day for lunch and dinner
Costs £40-£50 a head for 3 courses, plus drinks
Value for money: 9/10