After covering the controversial re-opening of the Prince of Wales on Gloucester Road I would have been silly to have passed down a chance to go and see what it is they’re doing in there.
Squeezing through the familiar narrow doorways I struggled to see what had changed. It was hard not to notice the huge new TV’s on the wall which I found a jarring addition to what was a community pub and during our meal we found ourselves being drawn to staring at them, slack-jawed whilst 80’s pop hits were beamed into our brains. The music wasn’t much better either, perhaps my love of The Drapers Arms has sullied me into preferring electronic entertainment in my house and not my pub but it felt very “Pub Co” and not very independent.
The menu is simple, bar snacks, burgers, pizzas and the traditional pub grub you’d hope to see. The menu is a garish mix of colours against the forest greens, whites and wood panelling, nothing was really setting my world on fire so I opted for a burger whilst the other one went for a selection of bar snacks (the pig cheeks and chicken wings) served in a “beer crate” with two types of fries.
We also opted for a couple of beers, the craft beer I had been on the website didn’t seem to have materialised and the bar had standard lagers and ales on. The back bar had a few nice looking spirits so we opted for two pints of Maltsmiths, brewed by Heineken, an easy drinking IPA, nice on a hot day. It’s a shame to see a lack of any of the brilliant Bristol breweries on tap or in the fridge, I’d like to hope this will be changing in line with the POW’s promise to continue being community focused.
The burger was encased in a rather large bun and came with plenty of fries and a fantastic chilli ketchup, we were both a fan of that. The burger itself was good, a nice thick patty topped with a beer glaze, grilled onions and onion rings, I also opted for cheese. As far as a decent pub burger goes, it was good, the bun was a bit large and dry for my taste but the structural integrity of the burger wasn’t compromised so it did the job valiantly.
My partner in dines meal was served in a wooden trough (described on the menu as a beer crate, either way, We Want Plates will be notified) with a lot of chips. The pork cheeks didn’t have much of a sticky glaze, nor did the golden beetroot piccalilli appear but the cheeks themselves were soft and bearly yielded to our forks and mouths. The chicken wings were tossed in that chilli ketchup and served with crispy skin and had enough meat on them to make them satisfying. Including both straight and hash fries didn’t make much sense to us, I think fewer fries and another side would make more sense, you know the ratio is wrong when an Irishman can’t finish his chips.
The pub is pushing their “Hard Sundaes”, promising an indulgent treat of either Rumbullion, Ramos Gin or Cherry Brandy ice cream with plenty of indulgent pudding and cream. We wanted the sticky toffee sundae with the Rumbullion ice cream but due to a miscommunication error, we ended up with a normal sticky toffee pudding, it was replaced (but took a long while) and we dove in. Reader, I have something of an affiliation with alcohol and I couldn’t taste anything. In fact, I’d have put my money on there being no boozy ice cream in there at all and we had been given plain vanilla. As someone who doesn’t even like sundaes but wanted to give them a go as they seemed keen to push them, this was a disappointment.
Atmosphere-wise, the staff are a credit to this pub, they didn’t realise we were coming and when the promised (from the PR firm at least) meeting with the manager didn’t materialise they looked after us and couldn’t have been more helpful. They checked in with us, were chatty, friendly and coped with what can only be described as a difficult evening. Some of the patrons in the latter part of the evening were, on the whole, pretty belligerent, I only went up to the bar twice and there were at least three instances of people being rude, drunk and demanding. The two staff members coped really well and I hope their evening got a little better, people, please don’t be arseholes to bar staff.
All in all I’d say the POW has enough main options to keep you fuelled up if you are in there having a beer and the price point is reasonable. However, I probably won’t be heading back any time soon unless they promise to rip the TV’s out of the wall for a start.
*Please note this meal was offered free of charge but in no way impacted my review*