All change at Yates, ReadingBy Phil Creighton
May 21, 2009
Normally, telling people that you’ve been seen on TV is something to be proud of. Not so for town centre party pub Yates: it had a no-star role in last year’s Rogue Restaurants series.
Viewers watched in horror as undercover reporters revealed a filthy kitchen, rotten food and dodgy tums – all reasons why it had received zero stars in the Scores on the Doors scheme.
But, Yates were swift to act.
The day before the programme transmitted last July, Graeme Evans (pictured inset) was installed as new manager. The kitchens were thoroughly steam cleaned and new systems were brought in to ensure that food hygiene was top notch.
The management of Yates told the Evening Post at the time: “Customers can be assured that we will not tolerate poor hygiene standards in any of our bars.”
So, 10 months on, have they kept their promises?
It was a busy footballing Tuesday when Fenton and I turned up to find out. The very first thing we did was to ask Graeme to show us the kitchen – that way we could be sure the promised improvements had been carried out.
Graeme didn’t even flinch, letting us walk into the kitchen to see what was happening ourselves.
Surfaces were spotless, the food charts were all up-to-date and paperwork was clearly being adhered to. We were impressed.
So, the food? Let’s not beat about the bush: it’s a chain restaurant and, with a large menu, dishes are made to order using stocks from chilled cabinets. It’s pub grub that’s perfectly acceptable when you want a quick and easy meal.
Fenton tried the British steak and ale pie (£5.95) which came with chips, peas and gravy.
He was full of praise for the deep pastry, meaty chunks of beef and the texture. The peas were so-so, but perfectly edible.
The portion was huge and, even with my help, he was unable to finish everything.
I tried the Mighty Stack Burger (£6.75), which features a large burger loaded with chicken breast, bacon, cheese, onion rings and barbecue sauce. In a bun. Towering on the plate, it was a mountain of a burger and again, a huge portion, possibly too big.
The burger meat was succulent, the bacon tasty but the chicken was a little dry, and I had to deconstruct the burger to get it into my mouth, but it was enjoyable and perfectly acceptable if you’re out with your mates.
Sadly, Yates range of beers is limited to the big names, no real ale here, but I did enjoy a couple of pints of Kronenberg Blanc.
Fenton said afterwards that he’d be happy to take his parents to Yates for a quick meal when they visit. And that sums up the revitalised pub nicely. Of course, at weekends it’s part of Reading’s nightlife and a very different place.
The pub now has two stars in the Scores on the Doors. If it continues to keep it clean, it should go higher still.
The 8oz rump steak (£7.95), served with chips, corn-on-the-cob and peas is on the menu at Yates in Reading
- Telephone: (0118) 959 7090
- Email: www.weareyates.co.uk
- Address: Yates
7-9 Friar St