The Grayling is a Pub/Restaurant which is part of the Marstons chains across the country, this one is located in Great Yarmouth and they can often in vary, in design, selection, standards and choice.
They can all be pretty different with Marstons restaurants, we have tried a selection over the years, based on where we are at the time and what we were doing, but I was keen to try and review it, looking at the decor, the feel of it, the food, and whether its good for kids, including Fussy ones. We decided to attend at lunchtime and sample some food, and investigate the kid parts.
The building is situated just off a retail part near a Tescos, thus the entry is pretty straight forward and car parking is easy, it’s still relatively new only just a handful of years so it does still seem in good condition, as I said early these can vary and can look a little rough and worst for wear (polite way of saying it), but this looks inviting with a small outdoor kid area and a wooden path leading around to the entrance. Inside this was a choose a seat service, these can differ depending on the day, some times it table service sometimes it chooses a table and order at a bar. The bar is central with the layout split almost into three sections, the right side feels more like a bar, the middle area feels like the central part and restaurant with the Carvery station, and the left side has the toilets and small indoor kiddies area (leading to the outside).
The food selection houses a couple of main parts alongside the menu, the Carvery area is on almost the whole time, and is included in there offers like 2 for £11, and when we were there was heavily bought. There is a selection of meats and veg etc.. and seems very popular, I’ve had a carvery before in another Marstons, I didn’t want it today, but it’s fine, a good standard and an affordable choice.
Something that Boo and I have talked about many times before is the dessert options, many places leave this as an afterthought, I just different icecreams and sundaes, but Marstons do make it a big thing, and thus are very popular. They have a whole cabinet of there Large cakes, these change throughout the year and really are those extravagant option, however, the price on these are very similar to those in many other Restaurants which would be half the choice and size, they do have more options on the menu, but personally, this is an area would be looking at.
For starters we actually opted for 3 for £10 on, there was an offer for 2 for £11 as I said earlier and a further option to add starters and desserts for a further a price, this was a good offer but for me and Boo, the options on there were a little limited. However, on the main menu, there was a few different items and some a little different So with the 3 starters, we choose…
Brie Dippers, I love Brie and I ate all of these, melted cheese is one of my favourites and this was very pleasant. The coating was a little thick, to potentially keep the cheese inside, it was a little crunchy to bite into but still nice, it came with a lovely but simple caramelised onion chutney.
Buttermilk Chicken Goujons, there were about 4 mini fillet sized ones in a lovely buttermilk coating, they definitely had a flavour to them which put Boo off slightly, but for me, they were fine and very nice, we choose a Garlic Mayo with these.
Homemade Yorkshire Puddings, this was an unusual choice but for Boo, an easy one she loves Gravy, Beef and Yorkshire pudding, and actually as a starter, worked really well, it wasn’t too much and a great taste of beef running through the gravy also.
For main as I said earlier the main course offer was a little limited for us, though a burger, carvery, salad, gammon steak, Lasagna, Fish and chips would be plenty for others. But on the main menu, there is a variety including grill, sharers, salads (lighter options), classics and daily offers like Taco Tuesday, Wednesday curry night, Steak night Saturday and Sunday. Our mains though…
Classic Burger but with added Bacon and cheese, Boo fancied a burger, she didn’t want the XL one, which to be honest we were not sure what this was? other than being more? she opted with chips as her side. The portion was a good size, and the burger was actually big, her first thoughts were it was a meaty burger, I tried some and it taste and felt very meaty, which was great, but as Boo raised, she would have prefered a wider but shallow burger, easier to eat, for example, I understood as so some this is a lot to out in your mouth lol.
Chick and Mix, this was a selection style offer, with 3 steps. The half roast chicken could be either 4 styles, Hunters, Garlic, Gravy, and buffalo, then a choice of either Roast potatoes or chips, and then aside. I choose Hunters chicken, Chips and coleslaw. This was lovely and to be honest one of the nicer mains I’ve to have for a while with the smothering off BBQ sauce and cheese, but like the option, you could have a mini roast with the gravy, potato, and veg option. Generally, a half roast chicken option is often I menus, which is one of the reasons I choose it, but having these options made a refreshing change.
Desserts I would have said was a hard choice, but it wasn’t, Boo had already eyed up hers as we walked through the door with that cabinet I mentioned earlier. With me I am also swayed by what was in there, a visible sight is far better than the menu words lol. But there is a selection on the menu should you wish, one thing caught my eye was the melt in the middle chocolate pudding but not this time
The Chocolate Eclair cake was Boo choice, it was as tall as a chocolate cake, which tells you the size of it, it had a marshmallow style filling with a soft chocolate sponge inside, this came with icecream, IT was very big and very tasty, and very much an indulgent style dessert.
Flake Cheesecake was my choice, this was a cheesecake with Flake pieces on top, again served with icecream. The cheesecake was nice and felt more like New York cheesecake, the taste was pretty simple and the base was soft. I’m not complaining at the taste as the simpleness of it was nice, the base can be hard and to biscuity but this was buttery and soft. Perhaps more flake would have been better but actually it was all light.
The kid’s menu was split into two, little kids and big kids. The little kids had a main meal option and meal deal option, which to be honest most people would choose, this allowed you to add a start, dessert and Quash to your main. The mains were 3 steps, as many places nowadays but this is always a good way of doing it, Step 1 was the main which included Sausages, Fish, Burger, Chicken Dippers, Veg melts and Quorn bites. The second part was the side like Chips, Mashed potato, Jacket, mini waffles, new potatoes. Lastly was the veg option which includes Carrots, Sweetcorn, Beans, Peas, Cucumber sticks. This is a really good choice and you can even choose to have a mini carvery plate, I was surprised by the variation and also includes vegetarian options. The starter and dessert options for the meal deal are also more of the same with veg and normal options, though I’m surprised there aren’t healthier options on the dessert, this is a small criticism of quite a good selection
The big Kids options are more of the same with a meal or meal deal option, just a little more money and then the meal size is bigger. Again there is a carvery option should you wish, but these sizes are more 6 -12-year-olds and has meals like a main meal option, I like that there is a Tortilla factory option with this which adds something a little different again. But overall the choice is not as varied as perhaps the little kid’s version but does have Pasta, Gammon steak, Fishburger, Veg Lasagne, Toad in the hole and pizza pie. But the veg and healthier choice are a little less than I would expect to compare to the little, there’s only four desserts and 4 starters so you could be limited if you have a fussy child, which we do.
I think it’s still down to a certain location and area that could influence whether there would be a place for kids, it’s not the first choice for young kids, in my opinion, our whole time we were there there were no kids. Actually, if I think about it, the other places I’ve been has been very limited kids, this could be a shame as some of the menu choices are really good. The facilities are mixed, the changing option was poor, and there isn’t a big area for kids to hang out, but on the flip, many places don’t give you that at all. Tigger being a fussy eater would really struggle in the Big kids option, him being 9 you would have thought this is for him, but then on the little kids menu, the choice is so varied that he has a couple of options and in reality several for all three of our kids, but 3 age groups might struggle.
Adult selection though is good, and there are several variations on some classic which actually makes it a good place to ear, there are the classics, there is offers as a special cheap night for a certain meals like curry, there is an option of carvery almost all day, and then there’s the 2 for £11, so lots and lots of options. The desserts were fantastic from a choice, and well worth a look at, you could easily just come here for a drink and a cake lol, the service was fine and visiting the bar and ordering works a lot of the time, this can often speed up your service if you are on a tight schedule but on an evening out, I would expect the table service. I’d be even happier if they team up with things lie Meerkats or other offer type options but this isn’t essential as there are offers if you play that game, I’m on the edge whether I would bring my kids to this type of place, I didn’t get that kiddy feel type of place, but that’s because there want any around maybe, and the menu is difficult for us as I said above, one hand its good one hand it’s not, Marstons though do vary, and it would be interesting to compare others, but for this one, it was a good experience for Boo and me.