The next restaurant with outdoor seating Preston’s Blog summer review series is The Roper Hall in Preston city centre.
A longtime watering hole in Friargate near UCLan, it describes itself as an “energetic, student-focused hangout with drinks, TV sports, comfort food and a games room.”
My last visit to Roper Hall was about 25 years ago when it was an independent nightclub and the main interaction between patrons was trying to buy cigarettes. There was no trace of food available which was probably a blessing as it was like medieval England there and no one wants a side of dysentery with their burger.
I’m way too old to go anywhere cool and student these days without being mistaken for a cleaner, so I surrounded myself with my brood and snuck out like this.
It was raining so we ate inside but the outside looked acceptable with plenty of picnic benches and astroturf. Good enough for a few downtown beers and cheap food.
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We ordered an eclectic selection from the menu, which arrived quickly and was well presented. We chose three small plates for 9.50: Korean Karaage chicken, which tasted authentic, chicken gyoza with sweet chilli sauce which got a “good”, and calamari with “red spicy mayo” de Frank”, sweet and sour onions and arugula.
The arugula and mayo had missed the plate and the calamari was oddly in straight sticks as if the calamari was giving defiant jazz hands when it died, but it tasted pretty good and wasn’t overcooked or rubbery.
We shared a buttermilk chicken burger with hash browns and stilton for £8.50, upgrading our sweet and sour fries with pickled onion option for an extra £1.
The chicken burger was ok, but the fries portion was small and disappointing as the upgrade was plain fries with three chili strips.
We also shared a pepperoni pizza which wasn’t bad.
There was a bit of a theme that was becoming apparent. Nothing was bad, in fact everything was beautiful, good or decent, but nothing shook our worlds.
However, for 36.25 for the set, including three limes and soda, a large lemonade and a (nice) cookie dough dessert, it was great value and of a higher quality than the another popular local pub chain. It also had the added benefit of friendly, non-threatening customers instead of the old loner type who sits on the next sticky table with their pint, unblinkingly watching you eat for an hour.
I just realized that if my brood hadn’t come with me to Roper Hall that weirdo would have been me, I probably wouldn’t go back there to scare a kid off his nachos. However, for food, entertainment, price, and ambience, this is a great place for college students.
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