Farmer’s Gastropub is just what Springfield needs for it’s changing demographics, but it's not very approachable. The immersion is easily shattered, the menu bounces around, and the most fundamental part of a pub is hidden away, just out of sight.
-Dark stain on every wood surface creates a pub like atmosphere
-Beautiful inlays in the woodwork brings out antique and seasoned feeling, like sitting in comfortable history
-A huge bright TV lights up the entire bar area, casts bright light off the insanely glossed tables
-Locked shadow boxes with posters of famous British songwriters, actors, persons, tacked to the wall
-Tables aren’t screwed or weighted down to floor; they move and shake with the slightest adjustment (see experience)
-Close seating means you listen to ALL the conversations happening near you, regardless of volume
Experience with Ambiance:
As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted with a warmly lit hostess podium. I chose a booth, and was taken to the bar area, which was barely lit except for a huge flat screen television mounted above a fireplace (?) in the corner. The deep stained woods made the entire area seem darker, but not seedy. We were seated at a booth and I knocked the table into my co-diner without any real effort on my side, nearly racking him. He slid the table back towards me, again with no real effort, and knocked me in the chest. We decided to put our feet on the table stand underneath us to keep it in place for the rest of our time there. It didn’t stop us from knocking our server in the hips with it trying to adjust in our seats.
I looked around to see more of the deco and wasn’t impressed. The shadow boxes were pretty neat, although it’s cliche to hang a picture of John Lennon in a pub. Especially since it was a paper poster of John Lennon, locked behind glass, but visibly tacked to the wall. A metal “Abbey Road” sign was hung above the box itself. If I had a dollar for every time a British themed restaurant in America hung a photo of John Lennon or made reference to The Beatles, I wouldn’t be writing these reviews for free.
-Easy to read with agreeably legible font & size
-Pricing is more than fair for product, although two items on the dinner menu are “payday plates”
-One sheet, printed both sides with accompanied wine & cocktail slip, doesn’t overcrowd your table with needless text, doesn’t overwhelm
-Plate descriptions range from depthy and descriptive to blurbs (see experience)
-Food ranges from typical pub fare to Thai, Indian and Spanish which leaves the diner confused to the target ambiance
-Long descriptive background on the restaurant's origin and list of local farmers that takes up most of one side of the menu
-No “bread and butter” beer list for diners wanting to ignore seasonal tastes and have a pint
Experience with Menu:
I was surprised by the amount of tasty selections, and excited to try some things I had never seen before. Having flipped the menu over and read the pub background with the list of farmers they get their ingredients from, I was floored by how many incredibly fresh options I could choose from!
Descriptions of some of the menu items were so enticing and had me geared up to stick it in my face, while others, such as the description of the Buffalo Pig Ear Taco, left me guessing. On the “Pub Snacks” section alone, you get detail ranges from “Scotch Egg” with “heritage ground pork, soft yolk, piccalilli, wholegrain mustard..” to “Buffalo Pig Ear Taco” with “blue cheese slaw”. I already had curiosity with the idea of pig’s ear, being as Spanish as I can remember, but the description didn’t tell me how it was prepared, what type of buffalo sauce, and where that slaw was going to be (on top? On the side?). I ordered it specifically to satisfy the questions, but that shouldn’t be a reason to order a menu item alone.
-Freshness you can taste
-Well thought out combinations on complementary flavors and textures on some items
-Appetizing plating with inviting portions
-House crafted condiments (except ketchup and mustard) that dazzle
-Fish n’ Chips were delicious
-Scotch Egg was delicious
-Lack of description on Buffalo Pig Ear Taco ended up being an exploration into misery (see experience)
-The tartar sauce was sulfuric, stunk up the table and carried the taste in anything else we bit into
-The ketchup was just tomato paste with sugar in it
-All the fried menu items we ordered came to us greasy, dripping in peanut oil
-The feta cheese on our salads and blue cheese that came with my taco were skunky with no balance of skunk to savory, leaving a stomach bile taste and gritty mouth feel
Experience with the Food:
While I did not have an entirely miserable time eating the food, I left Farmer’s Gastropub with no inclination to suggest it to friends or want to come back. My co-diner ordered the large ($18) portion of Fish n’ Chips and the Scotch Egg, while I ordered a Pig’s Ear Taco. I didn’t taste the Scotch Egg due to my egg intolerance, but I was told it was delicious and I believe him. I did have an opportunity to taste the mustard, which I liked very much, although it was not made in house. I could see it pairing well with the richness of the soft yolk. Good call there.
My Pig’s Ear Taco was another story entirely. It came to the table looking delicious, but that sentiment wasn’t meant to really stay. The tortilla was soggy from steam, picking it up was a nightmare. The slaw was piled high on the pig's ear, which was dripping with oil and buffalo sauce. I bit into it anyway. Big mistake. The putrid smell of the intense blue cheese wasn’t offset by the sour, salty taste of oil laden fibrous ear. I actually set it down and picked it apart to find out what I actually found disgusting and what actually was disgusting.
-The pig's ear was deep fried, which isn’t a horrible thing I guess, but it is when it’s leaking pools of sauce and oil all over the plate.
-Cabbage in a slaw is required; blunt, roughly chopped, bitter tasting chunks are not.
-Add to the bitterness of the slaw, and you get an even more bitter cheese. So bitter that the finish leaves the taste of vomit bile in your mouth and a grit on your tongue.
The only saving grace of the entire taco were the peppers. They were beautiful and flavorful. They are the only reason I didn’t send the taco back. When I say taco, I mean a greasy but somehow rubbery nip of a barnyard pig’s ear swimming in an abyss of sour salt that swathes your tongue in a confusing ballet of oily crunchy mucus. I could taste the barnyard. I could taste the bitter cabbage and putrid cheese. It was fighting like 300 spartans with my teeth and it was a fucking mess. The entire taco felt like a slap directly in the face of Spaniards, like it was conceptualized by someone’s brother who doesn’t know the difference between Mexico and Spain, while simultaneously proving that Americans are monkey-see type people. This taco made me check my own pride as a food lover and historian. I thought to myself, “Am I actually good at this, or am I just applying my vague knowledge of cultures to what i know of temperature and calling it ‘young determined genius?’” It was misery and if I DARE ever go back to taste the rest of the menu, I’m going to avoid that part of it like it abandoned me at school to go buy baggies of meth.
-Server came to our table
-Did not answer questions about the menu
-Did not offer to explain beers, wines, cocktails or specials
-Did not offer pricing
-Visited our table three times, once to pour us water, once to get our order, once to hand us a check without asking if it was together or separate
-Came off hostile, stressed, like we were annoying and shouldn’t be there
-Acted on her own/made decisions for the table without asking
-Handed us the check in the same breath she asked us if we wanted desert
-Became aggressive when I made a joke pertaining to beer and her level of customer service
Experience of Service:
While I was willing to completely ignore the taco misery, I couldn’t bring myself to really enjoy myself. Our server came to our table 2 minutes after we sat down. She swooped in, poured us water, and asked if we were ready. I said we weren’t. She moved along. I wanted to ask about the beer prices, or maybe what was on tap. Nothing. I looked around the table and at the menu a couple more times. Written very tiny, on the table, was a display that said “DOWNLOAD THE UNTAPPD APP TO SEE BEER LIST!!!!!!” Okay, so, I have to download the app, then? Alright. The menu states, “CHECK OUT OUR CHALKBOARD” which I look everywhere for and eventually find it placed on a back wall, over the heads of a loud party of 8, who saw me looking at them and rolled their eyes. I said, “No sorry, I’m trying to read the board.” and they rolled their eyes some more. Okay, not the best reception, but at least there’s something I can READ, right? No. The chalk was smeared illegibly on a dark board in fluorescent shades. If I COULD read it, I missed several letters from the sheen.
When our server came back I knew what beer I wanted, after looking at the app for 10 entire minutes. She took our order and asked if we wanted the apps out before the food. I said, “I’d like the beer first please.” with a smile, which I guess pissed her off? Because she rolled her eyes and said, “Obviously.”
Well I didn’t know it was fucking obvious princess, sorry; we’ve been sitting here with water for 10 minutes I wasn’t even sure you served beer here much less food at this point so settle down your little 5’2” server body.
So she bounds off. She comes back six minutes later will all of our food and beer. My co-diner ordered the “large” portion of Fish n’ Chips, which she took the initiative to split on two plates; while nice of her, she didn’t ask us if it was okay, so we spent the entire meal trying to flag her down and ask if we were charged twice as well. It took me a few minutes before I felt comfortable digging in, as I didn’t know if I was charged for it. We were both really uncomfortable eating while not knowing if we were charged twice or if there was going to be an issue.
We got our bill.
EIGHT DOLLARS A FUCKING PINT????
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.
I really wish I would have known they were $8 a PINT before I ordered them. I would have got a flight to taste a few at that price. Then again, no one explained shit to me.
Final Thoughts: D+
If that is the type of consistent service customers are used to, they must have low standards. I would love to taste more of the menu, but based on servers like that, there’s no way I’d go back in there. You get a D+ for introducing me to my limits and having a shitty server.
If you’re interested in visiting Farmer’s Gastropub, take a look at their menu here: http://www.farmersgastropub.com/menu/menu/