This month the MA team review how different pubs approach st

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Related tags: Steak, Fast food

Brecks, Rose Street, Edinburgh, East Lothian Price: £4.99 (95p for optional pepper sauce) What's on offer: "Steak Special" ­ an 8oz rump steak with...

Brecks, Rose Street, Edinburgh, East Lothian Price: £4.99 (95p for optional pepper sauce) What's on offer: "Steak Special" ­ an 8oz rump steak with French fries, peas, onion rings, grilled tomato and optional peppercorn sauce. All served on oval "platter" with a sprinkling of parsley. Taste: Good chunk of steak which looked like the 8oz promised on the menu. Ordered rare and unusually, came that way. Meat was, on the whole, juicy and tender ­ but last third was stringy and chewy and I could have done with the proper steak knife that the pub failed to supply. Pepper sauce was ample, spicy and served on the steak ­ thankfully not in a nasty paper pot. Chips were crispy and like the peas, piping hot. Overall: Hard to fault, especially at that price. The Bay Horse, Fence, Lancashire Price: £11.50 What's on offer: Char-grilled 8oz fillet steak. "Plain and simple" was the description on the menu. The dish arrived minimally garnished with half a grilled tomato, three fried onion rings and a sprig of parsley. The home-made chips were available as one of the potato alternatives in the vegetables offering, which was included in the price and comprised courgettes, broccoli, carrots and red cabbage. Taste: The steak was medium rare and arrived exactly as ordered. It simply melted in the mouth and the quality was obvious. The chips were crisp and tasty and the vegetables, fresh and well-cooked. Overall: The meal was difficult to fault and consistent with the pub's reputation as a well-regarded catering house. The price also represented good value. The Royal Oak, Poynings, West Sussex Price: £13 What's on offer: A traditional dish. A good sized portion of char-grilled sirloin steak, served with a brandy-and-pepper cream sauce, chunky chips, sauté mushrooms and char-grilled tomatoes. Taste: The steak was succulent and medium as requested but the brandy and pepper cream sauce was rather thin and distinctly lacking in brandy. The chips were an appetising golden colour. The mushrooms were sautéed to perfection and the char-grilled tomatoes added a splash of colour. Overall: A very reasonable offering. The food was piping hot and well presented, if a little conventional. Worth the money. Three Magpies,Sells Green, Wiltshire Price: £8.95 What's on offer: 8oz sirloin steak, fries, peas, grilled tomato, mushrooms and salad garnish. Taste: Where's my tomato? And what about that salad? OK, it's only supposed to be a garnish, but what purpose are two tiny bits of yellow pepper and three pieces of celery? It smacks of just using whatever's left in the fridge. There's a fair helping of crisp, golden chips and a big chunk of meat, which was tender and juicy, but alas cooked well on the rare side of the requested medium. The onions (which weren't on the menu description) were a peculiar mixture of well-fried and almost raw. Overall: Despite the difference of opinion over the degree of cooking, the steak was a good cut and very tasty. As for the rest, not wholly unpleasant, but not actually what we expected, and really not that difficult to get right. Reasonable value for money in the steak stakes. The Coach & Horses,Winterbourne Abbas, Dorset Price: £11.50 What's on offer: A sizeable rump steak. Never mind that the waitress hadn't a clue as to the meat's origin. She "suspected it was local," and since I had spotted some healthy looking beasts in adjoining Dorset pastures, I went for it. But I would have welcomed a brief line on the menu saying where the meat was from. Taste: The chef was nothing, if not generous. The medium rare 12oz steak was a cut of sizzling perfection, and covered half a giant dining plate. Add glistening peas, three well-cooked onion rings and a goodly portion of tasty, chunky-cut chips of the non-greasy variety, and this would have satisfied any weary traveller. Overall: 9/10 despite the presence of a sad pile of shredded lettuce. Why do they bother? A good plate of steak and chips surely doesn't always need a salad garnish?

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