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Review: Hit and miss grub at this Preston student pub

Posted on - 22nd July, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Food & Drink, Opinion, Preston News, Pubs, University campus, What's On in Preston
The Adelphi app order sign
Did it, though?

This week my family and I ended up making a surprise visit to The Adelphi after turning up en masse at another nearby eatery to discover they weren’t serving food that day.

The Adelphi holds a special place in the hearts of many a young Prestonian who has now slumped into muddle-age. Drinking “sas” on the roundabout in summer, getting hammered to the excellent tunes selected by the legendary landlord John Hunter and stuffing ourselves with lasagne – homemade by his wife and stand-in mother for all the young waifs and strays, Lucy – all for about 12p.

There was also the occasional free show when someone unlocked the accessible toilet by turning a coin in the mechanism to discover who was giving whom a special grown-up hug that evening.

The latest team to run the Adelphi has some whopping boots to fill, so three generations of us Gormleys got our judgy hats on and went for a stagger down Memory Lane.

We chose a seat in the bay window, which used to be fitted with a semi-circular bench, so I kicked the visit off by trying to scooch along it, falling down the gap between two chairs and having to be retrieved from the floor where I’d become wedged. It was just like old times, but fatter.

We all took a menu from the centre of the table and had a look at what was on offer.

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The menu looked to be the same as that at now-closed Roper Hall, a venue I’d reviewed last year, situated on Friargate and also owned by the Stonegate Group. It featured the usual burgers, nachos, fried chicken, macaroni cheese and loaded fries, as well as a small selection of tapas-sized plates like calamari and halloumi skewers.

There was a lengthy interval between choosing our meals and ordering them as the Generation X-ers and the Boomers in the group tried to figure out how to order on the app, which promised “Ordering just got easier!” and failed to add “for the under 40s” in large writing below it for those of us who had forgotten our reading glasses. Again.

The Millennials got to watch with their eyes rolled back a full 180 degrees into their heads, which was impressive because my generation only ever managed a 90 degree roll and my parents’ gang only made it to 45 degrees before getting a clog around the ear and being sent to Borstal.

By my calculations The Generation Z-ers should be able to give it a 270, and the latest bunch – named The Alpha Generation by someone who likes to throw petrol on an already thriving dumpster fire – will manage an entire 360 stealth eye roll without getting into trouble for it.

Anyway, waving my phone at the bar code on the sign for 20 minutes did not magic any food onto our table, so we gave up and just went to the bar to order it.

I’d ordered an Angry Hash Burger, which came with a cheese slice, hash brown, Stilton, Frank’s RedHot sauce, burger sauce and skinny fries for £12.50. The burger was well cooked, not too hot and had an excellent ratio of ingredients, ensuring that no one flavour overpowered another.

The Adelphi burger and fries
Magnolia fries: A whiter shade of fail

The fries were another story, and looked like they’d travelled straight out of the freezer onto the plate. I’m also imagining them flicking the Vs at the deep fat fryer as they passed it whilst doing a wheelie on a BMX, for some reason. For a food that’s literally named after their method of being cooked, it was a Kevin Bacon in Footloose level of rebellion (but without the bacon, which was even sadder).

Two of our party opted for the peri-peri chicken with corn, garlic bread, a dressed salad and dipping sauce, but one of them had it without the salad or corn. The piece of chicken they received was about twice the size of the piece that was served to the person who had all the trimmings. The chicken was tender and mildly spiced, but the magnolia fries let both meals down.

The Adelphi peri peri chicken
Fries lies

The other three members of our party had the pizza and drink offer, which allowed diners to pay an extra pound on top of the cost of their pizza and get a pint of one of the cheaper draught beers or a small wine.

The pizzas were by far the best choice from the menu. Each generous sized oval pizza had a good amount of cheese and topping with a strong taste of herby tomato sauce. The two pepperoni pizzas looked great, but the Mighty Meat option with barbecue beef burnt ends, pepperoni, chicken and streaky bacon was a definite winner at £12.50 including a pint of beer.

The Adelphi pizza
A meat pizza with beef burnt ends. The deep fat fryer needs looking at but at least the oven is working

On TripAdvisor The Adelphi is rated as 5th best out of 319 restaurants in Preston, above other restaurants such as Coco’s Soul Food (11th) on the beleaguered Friargate – an independent little eatery about a hundred feet away in which I’ve never had a disappointing meal, and where diners can get entirely homemade dishes such as half a slow roasted hickory barbecue jerk chicken, salad and redskin fries for £8.50.

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A meal at the Adelphi may be a different experience in the evening, but at lunchtime the value, quality and standard of service is a step down from the days when the menu was small, the food was cheap, homemade, excellent, and always came with soul and a side of blisteringly good tunes.

Do you have any happy memories of The Adelphi in the ’90s, or is that decade a foggy blur that must never, ever be penetrated? Let us know in the comments, unless it involves shenanigans in the accessible toilet.

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