Editorial Note: My husband wrote this review right after our May 16, 2007 visit – I have been meaning to post it sooner, but you all know how much I like to procrastinate. This is based on our visit then, things may be better or worse almost two months later. I’ll interject with my own comments in italics throughout).
Ah… it had started out with the best of intentions. Really, it had.
J. (my co-worker) and I had gone to Digger and Finch’s (hereafter referred to as D&F’s) for lunch on Friday. We’d both ordered soup, and I ordered the “Mum’s Banger and Mashed” lunch entree, while he ordered the Mandarin Chicken Salad.
My Banger and Mashed on Friday was exceptional, and the soup — Cheese and (Guinness) Stout Soup — was quite good.
J.’s salad was, to use his words, “uninspiring”. I chided him for choosing an ASIAN salad at a SCOTTISH pub, and thought nothing more of it.
. . . . .
Fast-forward to Saturday lunchtime. B. and I have been hitting the farmer’s markets all morning, and are hungry for lunch. Given the solid performance I experienced on Friday, I suggest D&F’s. She agrees.
We arrive at 11:20ish, and are seated in the patio initially. The stench of the newly-laden manure/mulch combination in the landscaping outside prompts us to choose to move indoors; we do so, moving to the annex with a view of the putting range and driving range. All is well.
We order our beverages and shortly thereafter our appetizers — Scottish Egg, $6.50, and Ultimate Crab Cakes, $8.95.
Service is a bit slow (especially considering the celerity with which J. and I were served during Friday’s lunch), but we write that off to the pub being understaffed during the day on Saturday. Our appetizers arrive after about 20 minutes.
The Scottish Egg is one large Grade A egg, perfectly hard-boiled, wrapped in pork sausage and rolled in cornmeal, then deep-fried until the cornmeal is a golden brown. The order consists of one Scottish Egg, sliced in half, served with spicy mayo on a small bed of shredded lettuce. A bit pricey? Maybe not, since North Market Poultry & Game charges $4.00 for one such egg, without the fanfare or overhead of a restaurant to justify its price; this Scottish Egg was definitely superior to NMPG’s by at least an order of magnitude, and the spicy mayo was a thoughtful complement to the egg, serving to enhance its flavor rather than mask it.
The Ultimate Crabcakes were two small (approximately 2″ in diameter) crabcakes served in a shallow pool of whole-grain mustard remoulade. They were very good, consisting approximately 75% of actual crabmeat, which is a surprise considering the depressing regularity with which most local restaurants’ crabcakes consist 75% or greater of filler (breadcrumbs, mostly) rather than crab. Is it asking too much that the primary ingredient in a crab cake be CRAB rather than CAKE, people?? Now, back to the crab cakes: the remoulade was also a good complement to the appetizer, as neither B. nor I had any complaints about these appetizers save possibly their miniscule portion size for the price.
Having finished the appetizers, B. and I received our Stout and Cheese soups approximately 15 minutes later. The soup was as described, consisting of a mostly smooth, velvety cheddar stock with a distinct overtone of earthy Guinness stout — the flavor was excellent, though the presence of an italian-seasoned crouton or two floating on top of the “soup” (which honestly had the consistency of cheddar-cheese sauce) was a discordant note in an otherwise well-flavored offering. B. was not particularly enthralled with this item, and ended up giving me more than half of her cup of it. (Less than enthralled would be an understatement – it had the consistency of paper mache paste – much more suited to be mixed in with elbows for mac and cheese than being served as soup – B.) I had already consumed a bowl of the soup, and had no problems polishing off her leftover 3-4 ounces of stouty cheddary goodness.
After I’d polished off the Stout and Cheese Soup, we sat at our table, talking to each other while waiting for our main course(s). At that time, we mused at the fact that the server, despite several appearances to ask if everything was all right, had not removed what had now accumulated into a precariously balanced tower of (dirty) dishes from our table. Odd.
B. ordered the Rasher Burger with a side of fries ($8.95). I once again ordered Mum’s Banger and Mashed ($8.95). B. had ordered her burger medium-rare-to-medium. It came back well-done. She pointed this out to the server, who offered to re-do her burger, but B. insisted that it was not necessary (given that we’d already been there for well over an hour now, and were frustrated by their abysmally slow service). B. was decidedly not impressed with her burger — the beef was overdone and the rasher had the general consistency and flavor of a leathery slice of dried-out (pan-fried) corned beef. (What he said. Granted, I didn’t give them a chance to fix the mistake, either – so take my criticism for what its worth; I’m not speaking to their customer service, only their initial burger preparation).
My Banger and Mashed was acceptable, but not nearly as good as Friday’s; the banger sausage was just fine, if a little undercooked, but the vegetables on the side (zucchini, yellow squash, red and green peppers, onions, and green beans) were limp and greasy with the oil in which they were ostensibly sauteed, rather than flavorful but not greasy from cooking on the griddle in the kitchen. Adding to the insult, my mashed (potatoes), which on Friday were an excellent example of properly “smashed” spuds, were over-peppered and of a uniform consistency that can only be described as spackle-worthy. Needless to say, I left most of the peppery spackle-spuds on my plate.
This lunch was, on the whole, a disappointment, in no small part due to the heightened expectations I had from Friday’s lunch. At $45.63 plus tip, it bordered on cringe-inducing.
I can only assume that the inconsistency in food quality (and in the preparation and seasoning of a given entree; notably, the mashed in the bangers-and-mashed) can be attributed to different cooking staff working the weekends than weekdays.
Would we eat at D&F again? I certainly would, on a weekday. Would I do so on a weekend? Probably not.
If you’d like to go: Digger and Finch Pub, 6720 Riverside Drive, Dublin, 614.889.8585