Last rated: 16/01/2017
Wetherspoon does well in many ways when it comes to seafood sourcing but falls down, in our opinion, with its king prawns. It’s not an uncommon issue. Farming tropical prawns can be damaging to the marine environment, not least through the use of feed derived from overfished stocks of fish. Certified supplies are an assurance that the prawns are farmed in an environmentally responsible way. It is possible the prawns at Wetherspoon are responsibly produced , it’s just that without certification it’s very difficult to be certain. Wetherspoon tells us it plans to find a suitable certified source - we hope they succeed. ASC, Global GAP, and 2-star or higher GAA BAP certifications are among those we look for.
Wetherspoon is to be commended for avoiding the use of any other seafood on the Marine Conservation Society’s red list of “fish to avoid”.
We are committed to sourcing the best-quality ingredients, from responsibly sourced fish to free-range eggs. We are working with all of our fish suppliers to support sustainable fishing practices.
Wetherspoon pubs (each cleverly retaining their original names) were early converts to the real ale movement and hosted their first festival in 1990. From a choice of six beers they are now involved in the twice-yearly beer festival, offering up to 50 selections. Craft beers are now a major draw and include interesting brews such as Hogstar, BrewDog Punk IPA and Meantime London Lager.
They say provenance is equally important when it comes to sourcing food ingredients and the website includes a commendably detailed breakdown of produce and suppliers. This is, of course, only half the battle: how the produce is used is just as important and the broad-based Wetherspoon menus make the most of them with a menu as extensive as the size of the chain. Concept and execution are, of course, on the palate of the beholder but given the chain’s popularity and vast number of outlets there clearly are plenty of happy takers.
Pub classics are at the heart, ranging from Lincolnshire sausages, mash and peas to Wiltshire cured ham, eggs and chips. Beef steaks are served with chips, peas, tomato and flat mushroom. More international choices include peri-peri chicken skewers, mac and cheese, BBQ pulled pork sandwich and chilli dogs.
There are small plates - lentil and bacon soup or grilled halloumi with sweet chilli sauce - as well as ‘sharers’: the Wetherspoon Sharer is a blow-out combo of wings, king prawns, southern-fried chicken strips, onion rings, chips and dips.
Many of their pubs have a hotel attached - ideal to stumble down the stairs for a restorative breakfast of eggs Benedict and Lavazza coffee.