Last week we went for dinner at The Moorings, which is halfway between Leamington Spa and Warwick. It looks like it’s in a bit of an ugly spot, next to a retail park and a busy road heading to the motorway, but it’s actually nestled a bit further back than you’d realise from the road, and it’s right on the canal, with outdoor seating for sunny days. We’ve always overlooked it, but it underwent a big refurbishment recently, had a lot of money invested in it, and has good sister pubs as well as good reviews on TripAdvisor. A friend of mine also recommended it, so even though we were a bit… sceptical… so to say… about how good it could be, we decided to give it a go.
Walk in and it smells like an old pub. Not the greatest of smells.
We were sat at a table in the restaurant area and given menus and olives. As you can see, the menu is pretty basic, but fairly expensive I thought. £16.00 for a chicken breast with some mash? That’s steep, even for Warwickshire. Duck a l’orange, really? Is this the 1970s? No, it can’t be, because in the ’70s, you sure as hell wouldn’t be paying £17.95 for it. But, their steaks were Aubrey Allen. I struggled to find something I wanted. I don’t like liver, didn’t fancy paying £17 for a bit of fish either.
In the end, we got the charcuterie sharing plate which was £7.50 per person and then I got the cheapest item on the menu, sausage and mash, but cheekily replaced the mash with chips. (I make no apologies for that). Apologies for the dark photos, the lighting in the pub wasn’t the best for natural light photography.
So, the charcuterie plate. My thoughts were – delicious pâté, mostly great meats, the bread was lovely, and I enjoyed the roasted garlic with it (spot it there in the bowl nestled with the breads). Didn’t care for the parma ham or pickles, but I thought £15 for a bit of pâté, some bread, bit of salami and a roasted head of garlic was a lot. Then I thought maybe I was being harsh, but then I totted it up in my head – you can get a Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 200g slab of pâté for about £4. The amount of bread we got, maybe £1. Garlic 30p. 8 slices salami/2 slices parma ham, maybe £2. Pickles, 50p. And that’s all retail prices, not even the wholesale prices a pub would pay. So I only get up to about £7.80 absolute max as a consumer, and no prep would be involved potentially. So a fairly hefty profit being made here.
The sausage and ‘mash’ (i.e. chips) were nice. The sausages covered in caramelised onion and with a tasty gravy. Chips served really hot and with plenty of salt. To be honest, I only ate one sausage but I did eat all of my chips. Gave the other sausages to Adam, and he ate them with his chips and steak. I just thought the sausages were a bit too sweet with the caramelised onion. So all in all, the meal with 2 glasses of wine was over £60, and I think that’s steep for just classic pub grub. The food wasn’t good enough to warranty that high a price in my opinion. However, to give a balanced view, Adam loved his bavette (cheapest) steak with black truffle butter – but I really do think that that’s more of a recommendation for Aubrey Allen than it is for The Moorings. You can’t wreck Aubrey Allen food – I’ve tried. We might as well have picked up this low-key, super-easy food from Aubrey Allen and had dinner at home. Only other positive thing I can think to say is that I asked the waiter whether they actually get the tips when customers put the tip on card, and he was very quick to confirm that they do, and explained that they cash the tips through the till and put it in a large jar that gets shared around, so at least that seemed fair. Don’t like it when pubs take all tips as extra profit.
In summary – not worth the money, and there are better options for a meal in Leamington, whether you want a good cheap or a classy expensive meal. This was neither.