FOOD MONSTER: Crown and Arrows in Lincoln
I have struggled to locate a really good family-orientated place to eat in the last few months.
There are plenty of places out there which offer a children's menu, but few really provide an engaging place to keep the small ones entertained during a meal time.
I set out with my friend Leigh to see if there was anywhere out there which we would visit again with our respective clans.
Crown and Arrows is what was once the Peter De Wint in Moorland Avenue, Lincoln.
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I'll be honest with you, in its previous incarnation I did not step in and have a look around.
It was clear the company owning it were coming to the same conclusion, because one of their crack teams of re-branding ninjas swooped in and gave it a complete makeover.
Contact details and location map for the Crown & Arrows in Lincoln...
The outside was revitalised with a play zone installed and even the grounds had a Charlie Dimmock-esque spruce up.
The whole finish was topped off with a name change to the Crown and Arrows and it was fully ready to be embraced into the Hungry Horse chain of eateries.
If you've eaten in a Hungry Horse, you will know that it is a pile-the-portion-high, keep it cheap kind of place.
That is perfect for my friend Leigh. He can eat like a horse, so it seemed only natural to bring him along.
We knew it would be cheap, but the makeover has given it a certain polish and there is real consideration to family dining.
We settled into a booth on the far side of the restaurant and at the end of it embedded in the wall was a TV showing children's television.
There was also an Xbox Kinect for them to play on and on the way in there was a colouring competition posted up on the notice board.
Sure enough the restaurant was packed with families, especially as we popped down during the Easter break.
As Leigh and I finally stopped watching the children's TV shows, we looked down at the menu.
Everything is exceptionally good value, with loads of deals depending on what day it is.
We visited on a Thursday, where you can have a Big Plate Special meal with a free dessert and for an extra couple of quid a starter.
Leigh opened up with some southern fried chicken goujons and I had the garlic mushrooms.
For a busy day there was an okay wait, with the kitchen staff getting the starters out in good time.
It was not the most amazing, but I was happy enough with it. What we both appreciated was the portion size, which was generous.
The mains were just as generous, in my case, far too generous.
Leigh went for the Mexican Burrito, ordering the spicy chicken.
Sadly for Leigh, it did not have the kick he was hoping for, with the flavour of the chicken feeling more sweet and sour than anything with any spice to it.
He loved the sides, though. It came with rice, corn on the cob and nachos and they were all up to scratch.
I felt like a challenge and went for the Tex Mex Combo. Brace yourself – it was a half rack of ribs, southern fried chicken, a bucket of chicken wings, corn on the cob, onion rings, coleslaw, grilled tomato and barbecue sauce.
It was too much, but it was pretty good. The ribs especially were cooked to perfection with the meat falling off the bone.The chicken breast was a bit bland, but the bucket of chicken wings were tasty enough.
And we still had a free dessert to get through!
Still, we ordered it. Leigh and I both going for sickly ice cream sundaes.
By this point we were struggling. I was sat there crouched over my ice cream feeling stuffed to the gills.
For the first time in a long time I had to admit being beaten.
I paid up and we waddled out.
What really sells this place is the way it is set up for families. There is plenty to keep the little ones entertained and you can comfortably feed the family and not break the bank.
THE FOOD: Thursday meal deal (Free dessert with any big plate special, add £2 for a starter): Southern chicken goujons, Grande Mexican Burrito and Millionaire’s shortbread Sundae 10.99, Garlic mushrooms, Tex Mex Combo, Chocolate fudge sundae £14.99, Pint of Carling, £2.90, Green King IPA £2.75, Fosters shandy £2.65.
FINAL VERDICT: It was belly busting, it was cheap, it was decent enough but it is perfect if you want to take the family out and not pay through the nose.
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