The next eatery with outside seating in Blog Preston’s series of summer reviews is The Roper Hall in Preston City Centre.Advertisement
A long-standing watering hole in Friargate near UCLan, it describes itself as an ‘energetic, student-oriented hangout offering drinks, sports on TV, comfort food and a game room’.
My last visit to The Roper Hall was about 25 years ago when it was an indie nightclub, and the main interaction between patrons involved trying to buy fags from each other. There was no trace of food available, which was probably a blessing because it was like medieval England in there and nobody wants a side of dysentery with their burger.
I’m way too old to go anywhere cool and studenty nowadays without being mistaken for a cleaner, so I surrounded myself with my offspring and sneaked in like that.
It was raining so we ate inside but the outside looked acceptable with plenty of picnic benches and some astroturf. Good enough for some city centre beers and cheap food.
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We ordered an eclectic selection off the menu, which didn’t take too long to arrive and was well presented. We chose three small plates for £9.50: Karaage Korean chicken, which tasted authentic, chicken gyoza with sweet chilli sauce which got a ‘nice’, and calamari with ‘Frank’s red hot spicy mayo’, sweet and sour onions and rocket.
The rocket and mayo had missed the plate and the calamari was oddly in straight sticks like the squid was giving defiant jazz hands when it died, but it tasted pretty good and wasn’t overcooked or rubbery.
We shared a buttermilk chicken burger with hash brown and stilton at £8.50, upgrading our fries to the sweet and sour with pickled onion option for an additional £1.
The chicken burger was decent, but the portion of fries was on the small side and disappointing as the upgrade consisted of plain fries with three slivers of chilli pepper on them.
We also shared a pepperoni pizza, which wasn’t bad.
There was a bit of a theme becoming apparent. Nothing was bad, in fact everything was nice, good, or decent, but nothing rocked our worlds.
However, for £36.25 for the lot, including three lime and sodas, a large lemonade and a cookie dough dessert (nice) it was excellent value and of a superior quality to the other popular chain pub in the vicinity. It also had the added bonus of friendly, non-threatening customers instead of the old loner type that sits on the next sticky table with their pint, watching you eat without blinking for an hour.
Having just realised that if my offspring hadn’t accompanied me to The Roper Hall that weirdo would have been me, I probably wouldn’t go back to spook any youngster off their nachos. However, for food, entertainment, price and atmosphere it’s an excellent place for students.
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