15 Bath Road, Hounslow, Middlesex TW6 2AB
Dinner for two with wine and service: around £50
Your intrepid food blogger has covered a lot of ground during his sojourn to London, but an hour on the slow as treacle Piccadilly line (trying to avoid eye contact with the Aussie traveller who seemed to be striking up conversations with tired commuters at every opportunity), with the sole aim of dinner at the Premier Inn seemed like a stretch beyond my capabilities. However, I had a good reason to be heading west, I was going to meet my parents for a quick bite before they flew out on holiday early the next morning. The hotel is actually in Hounslow and is about a 2 minute bus ride from Hounslow west tube (although I am not recommending a special trip!). This was my first visit to a Premier Inn and whilst the exterior was boxy with sticking plaster PVC windows, the lobby was not disgraceful (looking past the Easyjet style self check-in counters).
The hotel restaurant was already packed when we arrived at around 7pm, an eclectic mix of languages peppering the air – the atmosphere was actually pretty congenial and certainly better than my imaginings of TV screens, crying babies and piped musac. The service was very fussy, along American lines, the waiting staff had plastered on smiles and constantly asked if we were happy with everything. The menu was generic with no dishes standing out in particular – it consisted of a mishmash of Italian, British and French dishes, set out in no particular order. They offer some meal deals (a device that separates the very thrifty from the already thrifty), including 3 courses for £22 including a glass of wine and breakfast the following morning.
I don’t think that the duck spring rolls that I had to start were made on the premises (!) and they seemed to have come straight from the freezer, but the quality of meat was reasonable and they were not overcooked. The wine that came with our meal deal was a perfectly quaffable unoaked Chardonnay. My main course was supposed to be rump steak and chips – when it arrived it looked very appetising, but the meat was as tough as an old brogue.
Dessert consisted of defrosted profiteroles which tasted like balls of squirty cream with an old evening standard wrapped around them (but at least they were cheered up by a pretty decent toffee sauce).
The Premier Inn experience was marginally better than I was expecting: the staff tried very hard and the quality of cooking wasn’t terrible, but the ingredients were.