Sunday lunch Pembrokeshire: The Wolfe Inn, Wolf's Castle, review (2.5/5)
Sunday roasts in Pembrokeshire should be brilliant. Thousands of tourists visit areas along the coast each week during the Summer and a good pub could thrive.
But having been to the Wolf Inn country pub in Wolf's Castle, it seems that this pub at least has failed to create even a half-decent Sunday roast.
From the outside the small country pub looks like everything you would hope for. It has thick stone walls and a low roof. The building is set among trees and a picturesque villagein a quiet part of the rolling Pembrokeshire countryside.
But for a start it’s clear that on a busy Sunday it’s car parks are too small to accommodate the number of people visiting. When we visited its main car park was full and we had to perch on a grass verge. Others would have had to spill out onto neighbouring roads. This in itself is not a major problem.
Immediately after stepping through the front door the Wolfe Inn did not live up to the most basic of expectations for a Sunday roast. The bar was hollow, utterly lacking any sort of atmosphere that normally comes with quaint country pubs.
There are a few bare wooden tables scattered around the tiny bar area and a widescreen TV crammed into one corner of the room, presumably for locals to watch games of Rugby.
The staff were young and inexperienced. Of the three assistants who served us, only one young man was mildly friendly while the other two girls struggled to even raise a smile. They were sullen at worst and indifferent at best.
Where the trip out for a Sunday roast really went downhill was when we were taken through to the dining area. Half-a-dozen tables were packed into a small and shabbily decorated conservatory. The oak tables themselves were sticky (the place mats couldn’t actually be lifted up) and there were bits of food left over on the tables. The carpet underneath our table was strewn with peas.
Despite all this, the one area where the Wolfe Inn still had a chance to redeem itself was its Sunday roast. The Inn had been recommended to us by a friend and the food, she said, was fairly nice. However, the pathetic attempt at creating a menu held out little hope.
The waiter gave us two sheets of A4 paper with the Sunday roast menu listed on them having been printed from Microsoft Word. The sheets of paper themselves were creased and dirty. The chef might as well of just scribbled down his meals with a biro on a sheet of notepaper.
Without mush hesitation I chose the leek and potato soup to start and the roast beef for the main course. My partner chose the roast beef for her main course and went for a lemon sponge for desert. The two main courses were only a choice between beef or lamb.
Now, moving onto the price. Two courses were £11.95, while three courses were £13.95. This is fairly expensive considering there are some very high-standard cavaries in London where you can get a Sunday roast for under £10. However, probably because the Wolfecastle Inn is in the middle of the Welsh countryside and tourists are more willing to pay for over-priced food they can charge a little bit more.
To their credit, the waiter acted without hesitation when I asked for a second roll for my soup. Although a bread roll is hardly a lot to ask.
The meal itself was mediocre - a notch above aeroplane food, on a par with a Weatherspoons Sunday roast but falling well short of a good, solid meal.
The beef was served on the plate with a Yorkshire pudding and roast turnip. Mashes carrots and Swedes, together with broccoli and cheese were brought out separately in a serving dish. That was followed by roast potatoes and mashed potatoes.
There is a genuine feeling with this kind of food that it has been mass-produced to merely fill plates. Those kind of standards are expected in chains such as Weatherspoons but not when you are paying the price that the Wolfe Inn charges.
The beef was very thin and had stringy fat still attached. It fell apart easily and was clearly ‘cheap’ meat. The potatoes were very dry while the Yorkshire pudding was thick and doughy. There was not enough gravy and initially when the gravy boat was brought out and my partner asked for more she was told ‘no’ because they had none left. It was only when I took the empty gravy boat to the bar and asked for more that the chef made another batch. We surely cannot be the only ones to have asked for more gravy and they could easily solve this by using bigger gravy boats.
My partner ordered from the very limited desert menu a lemon sponge. This was a small piece of sponge cake immersed in custard and a lemon source. Nothing interesting here, and it was about as tasty as a microwave desert.
Overall, the food did not offend. Nor did it excite. It was a plain, simple, quick, easy and bland meal that did the job of feeding the pair of us. But for the price of the Sunday roast, the food, the service and the surroundings fell well short of other establishments. We would not recommend the Wolfe Inn in Wolfecastle when looking for a Sunday roast in Pembrokeshire.