Review: Route 303

I had heard great things about Route 303, an American Diner that boasts an extensive menu of burgers, steaks, grills and even some Mexican options. We went for a big family meal of 16 of us, and while the company was great, unfortunately the food was not.

Nick and I chose a sharing platter to start.  A selection of deep fried goodies including chicken strips, chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, potato skins and a salad to make you feel less guilty in the middle.   It did the job, but you can't really go far wrong with deep frying ready made foods. At £10.50 it was reasonably priced, especially considering my parents each had the chicken strips; a total of 6 chicken strips came to £11!

Between starters and mains we ordered some lemonade, and it tasted very chemically and disgusting with a nasty aftertaste.  When we brought this to the waitress' attention and mentioned maybe there was a problem with the tap, she said "I know it sounds bad but that's just how it tastes, I don't like it here either!" and swapped our drinks for a Pepsi.

For my main I wanted to try some Mexican and went for chicken Enchiladas.  I was really looking forward to this as it is one of my favourite dishes, but sadly I was really disappointed.  The tortillas used were clearly stale and hardened all the way through. A cheap cheese had been plastered on top which also tasted horrible. Once I'd managed to break through the stale tortilla the chicken was very dry and flavourless. The wedges were crisp and tasty though, best part of the dish. It wasn't really an enchilada, more a fajita with some cheese and sauce dumped on top.  I got my Mum to try some to make sure it wasn't just me and she didn't like it either.  We told the waitress and she was very apologetic, and said that she doesn't like the vegetarian enchiladas either, and then offered me every other option on the menu but at this point I want feeling hungry any more. She kindly said she would take it off the bill as I wasn't going to eat it, and you can't really ask for any more than that.

Nick had a rodeo burger, which was a cheese and bacon burger with onion rings and BBQ sauce. He said it was ok, but the chips were undercooked, and the rind on the bacon and massive wedge of cheap cheese let the meal down.

I hadn't planned on having a pudding but after seeing my Aunty tuck into waffles and maple syrup, I couldn't resist getting some myself.  This was the best part of the meal, although it got a little sickly towards the end, but putting some ice cream on some ready made waffles isn't rocket science, but then again nor are enchiladas.

The staff were very helpful and seemed to be genuinely apologetic, although it was worrying that they agreed with all of our complaints!  It is quite a way to travel out to eat unless it was a special occasion, and I definitely have no intentions of going there again and time soon.   I feel that giving them 2 stars for the food is being generous, and only gets 2 because I enjoyed the pudding and starter.  The atmosphere was a little dead for me, but then again it is what it is, an American diner on the side of the road.

Ultimately I think their extensive menu is their downfall, a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Food **    Service ****   Atmosphere **

L x
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