It was with much antipathy towards the Wetherspoon chain that I found myself somewhat ungraciously agreeing to cross over the threshold of The William Peverel pub in Bulwell. The only reason that I could find to justify this was that it is No 46 in the “Discover the Route to Real Ale” guide. Thinking back to that fateful afternoon I still cannot fathom a ‘cheerful’ reason as to why we decided to also eat there as well. I have seen a comment that “They are not a gourmet food outlet and don’t try to be but most of the time they serve perfectly acceptable meals” I accept that they are not gourmet but my success rate on arriving in that magic ‘most of the time’ period has not been so successful in recent times.
I often find myself torn with mixed thoughts on the whole Wetherspoon chain, are they the great pioneer rescuing the high street by providing us lost souls with a pub absent of music and serving a wide range of real ales, or are they a blight filling up the city centre landscape with pubs serving a listless attempt of a menu. I am really not sure, I almost find myself adding them to the list of places that I no longer wish to endulge such as Greggs, Starbucks, Subway, Tesco Express, Sainsburys Local which seem to be turning every high street into a generic clone that when you scratch beneath the shiny bright glossy veneer leaves me bereft in a souless void of anytown anyday anonymous.
But I suppose if I am fair then this is not really about Wetherspoons but rather the William Peverel Pub in Bulwell, perhaps I should have just left my thoughts to be all about that place and just try to forget its Wetherspoonium provenance, after all inside on first sight it is quite a big, open, and actually nice space, it is a sort of medievel or as they say Baronial Hall, there is faux stain glass behind the bar and in the alcoves, knights on horsebacks, that fading almost dusk lighting that you might imagine in a medieval banqueting hall, all quite quirky. Once you realise that this place has been built inside what was a unit that housed a “Wilkinsons” store then you can see what Wetherspoons can achieve in ‘rescuing?’ the emptying high streets.
So what did we end up eating? Well first off there was the rather optimistically described “Original gourmet beef burger” – ‘Topped with two bacon slices and a Stilton, Shropshire blue & spring onion sauce. Includes six beer-battered whole onion rings.’ The somewhat dismissive opinion on this was, and I paraphrase ‘it sounded better than it tasted, but it is a Wetherspoons’. Not quite the glowing yet anonymous review or tribute from the Wetherspoon site “the reason i wake up in the morning – “this superb pattie is simply mouthwatering, some might say sex in a bun. my particular favorite is the gourmet double burger, but seeing the calorie content of this burger, i am rethinking! simply superb.” Before I finish pissing myself with laughter I suppose I should move on to the next morsel that we ordered.
I ordered the “Wiltshire Ham & Mature Cheddar Cheese Panini” which looked better than it tasted, I was actually quite sad as I really don’t know how you fail to make this sandwich taste good. I only have myself to blame though, before I ordered I pretty much knew what treats I was letting myself in for.
Overall the beer was quite nice actually jolly decent, as for my meal sadly I should have just had a bag of crisps.
I can already hear the crys of seagulls and gannets overhead screeching at me and dropping their white loads from the sky on my comments of their beloved W-spoons. That is fine, each to their own, I shall just go back to hunting for something decent to eat in this fine city of ours, while they clog up the place stuffing their faces with Subway sandwiches for lunch, and Greggs pasties for their supper on the way back from the pub.
The William Peverel is on 259 Main Street in Bulwell, and the nearest Tram line stop is the Bulwell stop