Harvester – Port Solent

After going home over the weekend to see my family it turned out my parents were out with friends for a meal, so me and my sisters had to entertain ourselves. We only had the evening to fill, and instead of making our own food (after a long day at work, who would want to?) we decided it would be nice to go out for a meal just us three.

Our plan was simple, after reading through countless menus (18 to be precise) we decided on the Harvester for several reasons.

Reason number 1: The Salad Bar – now this on it’s own is enough to make anyone want to eat there!

Reason number 2: It’s cheap and cheerful – you can get a meal (plus the salad bar) from £5, what’s there to complain about?

Reason number 3: It’s only a short drive away from our house (or so we thought…)

Reason number 4: There’s something for everyone – veggie, fussy, or just plain difficult, it’s guaranteed to sell something you’ll like!

So off we went to the Harvester in Bursledon. It’s always busy there (I was told it makes the most money out of all the Harvester restaurants in the country!?) but we thought we’d get away with it, but no. I told my sisters to be ready for quarter past seven. Quarter to eight appears and we’re leaving the house. We get to Bursledon to drive around their tiny car park 3 times because my sisters are determined we’ll find a space, but clearly not, no one was leaving, it was packed. Out comes my amazing idea to drive to Port Solent and go to the Harvester there. We’d never been to that restaurant before so figured, why not!?

Once arriving at the Harvester in Port Solent we realised it was probably worse a mistake than the last time! We got there at ten past eight to be told there was a thirty to forty minute waiting list, and after the journey there we decided to agree. In the mean time we say up stairs in the waiting room – which to be honest, we would have happily ate in there, it was the same as the restaurant! But after fifty minutes passed we realised we were the only one’s left so were praying for the waiter to arrive. At quarter past nine we were called to our seats.

Us being us, we had already decided what we wanted to eat so come half past we ordered and head for the salad bar. No matter what Harvester you visit the salad bar is the same, but yet it tastes so good! It’s all you can eat, help yourself, pile up your plate! It doesn’t add up in my mind how it can taste so good at the restaurant, but at home, it wouldn’t taste nearly as nice! I went for my usual salad bar bowl; don’t want to break a tradition!

Normally, when you sit down with your salad, your meal suddenly appears at the same time, but this didn’t happen. After slowly eating our salad (or as slow as we could) we waited on our food, watching people leave with bloated stomachs. It also didn’t help the number of puddings that were coming out; man they look good!

At twenty five past ten our food appeared. It looked as good as it normally does and as always went for our usuals; Chicken breast with bacon and cheese, or Veggie burger; both with chips and Jack Daniel Sauce (nothing can beat that sauce!)

The food from the Harvester is what you expect it to be; good for your money, but nothing extraordinary. Everything was cooked correctly, and was still warm when it arrived. The cheese in the burger has changed since last time. They’re definitely trying to take a step up in the world. It used to be ordinary cheese but this time it was white and blue, (I think it was called elemental cheese – but then I could be wrong!) We tried it on its own, and it didn’t taste great but figured it was worth a try with the burger! After a few mouthfuls it got a bit too much and had to be removed. All I can say is, I definitely prefer normal cheese in burgers; not one for the fancy stuff! The only other criticism I would say is about the chips. They class them as ‘seasoned fries’. Fries they were, but I would really class them as seasoned. They describe them in the menu as though they are coated in a spicy yet tasteful seasoning, but when they arrived, they were just fries. Being a student, I don’t think I could ever say no to fries, so I ate them, but would have liked them to be seasoned…

My only other criticism about the restaurant would be the allocated space. It’s beautiful inside. It has been designed as a boat, linking to the port, making it feel individual but it’s very cramped. Once seated, we realised we were in the middle of a walk through, meaning anyone and everyone was squeezing round us. It was also very cramped else where. Although it was obvious that they were very busy and needed to accommodate for everyone, it would have made sense for them to serve food in the waiting room as the level of clutter and noise from downstairs was quite disturbing.

Other than that I have no further criticism for the Harvester in Port Solent. All I do have to say that you can never go wrong with the place. The food is what you pay for plus a little bit more, and the salad bar is a pleaser for anyone! Definitely worth a visit! The views are beautiful too!

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