Tuesday, October 28, 2008

4. U.S.A.: Smith and Western

Smith and Western
Station Approach
Chichester, PO19
01243 788886

Continuing our stay in the charming town of Chichester we visited Smith and Western, just north of the train station. We were greeted warmly, ushered to our table and told our waitress’ name. Smith and Western is based on the American mid-west in the 1800s. The former train station had been transformed into a saloon, complete with cartwheel chandeliers and a jail room. The décor in fun, interesting and well thought out and is reinforced by touches such as the cactus-shaped drinks menu and the cowboy hats and sheriff’s badges for sale, but somehow does not become too clichéd.

The varied, extensive menu has something to suit all tastes and appetites from caesar salads for £7.95, chilli beef taco salad for £11.85, salmon fillet for £11.25 to 100% beef burgers priced £8.65- £11.95. At first glance the prices may look a little high- but the portions are enormous!
We shared the loaded potato skins with chilli, cheese and sour cream (£5.95) and the shell-on king prawns (£8.25) pictures right. The skins were perfectly cooked, lovely and moist. The chilli tasted home-made and was flavoursome but not too hot; the cheese was all beautifully melted and the salad was crisp and well garnished. This dish alone would be a very adequate lunch choice. The five, massive prawns, served cold with a warm ciabatta and thousand island dressing, lived up to their ‘giant’ title. They were succulent and tender and again, came with plenty of salad. Packets of ‘Hoof Wipes’, thin flannels for tidying up fingers and faces, were thoughtfully provided.

We gasped when the Combo Feast for Two (pictured) arrived! ‘Feast’ is an accurate way to describe this huge platter of hickory smoked ribs, chicken wings, spicy onion rings, corn on the cob, mushroom boats, creamy coleslaw and spicy curly fries served with your choice of two dips all for £22.55. The meaty ribs were well basted in plenty of good, not too sweet, smoky sauce and the chicken wings were excellent. All the other items on the platter were tasty and cooked well except for Badgerman’s corn which was soft and overdone.
Foolishly, we ordered a side of stuffed jallapenos. They were great, well presented with a spicy and flavoursome sauce- but greedy us- it really was too much food. We ate more than our fill and thought ourselves lucky that we had not ordered the Belly Buster dessert- a veritable goldfish bowl of chocolate brownies, ice cream, marshmallows, hot fudge sauce, M&M’s and whipped cream. Parties order this for the birthday boy or girl for £11.95 complete with a hat and balloons. It did look really good though.

Had we left enough room for dessert, we could have chosen from a superbly tempting assortment that included good old Banoffee Pie, correctly credited to have been invented in Sussex, Cherry ‘O’- a handmade waffle topped with cherries and vanilla ice cream for £4.95 and even Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. We perused the lunchtime ‘Boot Skootin’ menu with its “finger licking” bites served between 12 and 4 p.m. Again, a very good selection was on offer with a particularly good “meal and a drink” deal for £7.50.

There were a variety of party sizes from our modest table for two, to families and work colleagues to larger birthday parties for all ages. Smith and Western has been skilfully designed so that dinners have plenty of room but the restaurant, with its well placed décor, feels cosy and comfortably.

Rare for me, I had a Cactus Juice, a large tumbler of vodka, Midori, Malibu and pineapple juice (£4.50) from the impressive cocktail list. The cocktails range form £4.50 to $5.50 and with pitchers priced £17.95 for two pints and £29.50 for four pints.

Smith and Westerns is a well above average themed restaurant. It’s a family business and you can feel they are hands-on management who work as a team with their competent staff who, in turn, clearly understand the ethos and direction of the business. It was a real pleasure to eat at Smith and Westerns and chat with their staff.

Our bill for too much food- even for us big eaters, drinks, coffee and hot chocolate came to £60.25 excluding tip.

Ambiance: 4
Service: 3
Food Presentation: 4
Food Quality: 3
Value for Money:4

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