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Author Topic: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion  (Read 294540 times)
inspector_blakey
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« on: October 15, 2009, 08:27:12 PM »

Barry Doe has published his annual "subjective catering survey" (based on his own travel experiences, I believe) in the most recent edition of RAIL, and FGW come out of it pretty well. He has certainly been critical of the catering offered in the past, but in the current article has rated Travelling Chef, Travelling Chef Select and Pullman dining with an overall score of 8.3/10, including 10/10 for food quality and value for money, the best scores of any franchised operator.

This certainly seems to reflect my experience - since that start of the year Travelling Chefs seem to have been much more reliable in terms of appearing on the advertised services, and as I've said elsewhere before I really like the current menu.

Anyone else have any thoughts?
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John R
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 08:39:41 PM »

I certainly rate the Travelling Chef option, though I hope his highlighting what good value the omelettes are doesn't encourage FGW to first the price up.

It was interesting how Hull Trains were slated. It would appear that like everything else about their service, since First took a grip on the operation it's been downhill all the way.

 
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devon_metro
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 09:15:03 PM »

Should be a new chef menu soon.
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inspector_blakey
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2009, 11:30:22 PM »

Here's hoping they don't mess with the breakfast platter or the breakfast club sandwiches... two of the finest concoctions known to man IMHO.
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Mookiemoo
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2009, 11:45:01 PM »

I only ever see a breakfast TC and I'm not impressed.

Apart from fresh fruit there is little that suits if one is on a diet.

Bagel and jam would be a nice option - they have bagels how much would it cost to have some jam/marmalade portions.

99% certain the omlettes are cooked in oil/butter and not a no stick pan

I know, I know - ita aimed at occasional travel and not daily commute but I would be happy to have brekkie every day if the above were possible. Even if I bring my own jam it an be quite a chore explaining to the new breed of CH (mainly eastern europeans) that you wan JUST THE BAGEL and nothing else
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willc
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2009, 12:16:36 AM »

I certainly rate the Travelling Chef option, though I hope his highlighting what good value the omelettes are doesn't encourage FGW to first the price up.

It was interesting how Hull Trains were slated. It would appear that like everything else about their service, since First took a grip on the operation it's been downhill all the way.

 

I think that's what's called a cheap shot. The problems are, yet again, Adelante-related. HT's catering offer had to change because an Adelante only has a buffet, whereas the Pioneers have a small kitchen in the first class driving coach. HT's refurbishment plans for the 180s include moving first class into one of the driving coaches and fitting kitchen gear as part of this work so they can serve hot meals again.

I hardly think that First Group, which Mr Doe describes as now having the best catering offer of a franchise operator in the shape of FGW and which also scores well for the Scotrail sleepers' meals, wants to let its other long-haul operation be the worst of the bunch, especially when HT was usually highly rated in the survey when Mr Doe travelled on Pioneer services.
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inspector_blakey
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2009, 12:20:10 AM »

I only ever see a breakfast TC and I'm not impressed.

Apart from fresh fruit there is little that suits if one is on a diet.

There's also a yogurt and granola pot for GBP2.25. or porridge (not sure if that strictly counts as healthy) for GBP2.75. For a healthy option, the yogurt and granola actually looks quite edible...
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2009, 12:33:02 AM »

... or the Vegetarian blaguette, as it's rather interestingly described, on the FGW website:

Quote
Vegetarian blaguette (v)
(Halloumi cheese, mushroom, 2 eggs scrambled and tomato)                                                 ^6.25

Sorry, that was probably another cheap shot.  Roll Eyes
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Mookiemoo
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2009, 12:33:23 AM »

I only ever see a breakfast TC and I'm not impressed.

Apart from fresh fruit there is little that suits if one is on a diet.

There's also a yogurt and granola pot for GBP2.25. or porridge (not sure if that strictly counts as healthy) for GBP2.75. For a healthy option, the yogurt and granola actually looks quite edible...

Porridge = grits (been to the south recently?),  And we'll know you gone to the dark side when you like biscuits and gravy (for the non US aware think fluffy scones with white sauce over them)

Yeah - but do you know 200ml of non fat free yoghurt (about the size of  muller light pots) is about 250 calories alone - add in the granola for another 250 and you have over 1/3 of my daily allowance for something  that fills for about 2 hours.  A bagel and jam clocks in at about 270 calories in comparison.

What is healthy is not always low in calories and I do think FGW should - like I think al restaurants should - publish calorie content on heir menus

I am not a nanny state person but eating on the run is a night mare
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Mookiemoo
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2009, 12:46:01 AM »

I only ever see a breakfast TC and I'm not impressed.

Apart from fresh fruit there is little that suits if one is on a diet.

There's also a yogurt and granola pot for GBP2.25. or porridge (not sure if that strictly counts as healthy) for GBP2.75. For a healthy option, the yogurt and granola actually looks quite edible...

Porridge (or grits) would be healthy if made with skimmed milk - but I bet its one size fit all at best semi skim
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"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love"
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2009, 01:13:38 AM »

I am not a nanny state person ...

Eh ??  Shocked Roll Eyes Shocked Grin
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Mookiemoo
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2009, 01:15:22 AM »

I am not a nanny state person ...

Eh ??  Shocked Roll Eyes Shocked Grin

The nanny state wants lettuce meals available always
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bignosemac
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2009, 02:04:24 AM »

I am not a nanny state person ...

Eh ??  Shocked Roll Eyes Shocked Grin

The nanny state wants lettuce meals available always

and free diet coke for all!  Grin
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broadgage
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2009, 10:09:50 PM »

Although I would agree that the pullman service is excellent, it is only available on four trains a day, and two of those are liable to be withdrawn in the next timetable change.

The travelling chef service has its good points, but is largely what used to be called a hot buffet.
The advertised table service in First seldom appears, and the extensive sounding menu is often in practice downgraded to toasted sandwiches only.

The hull trains catering has certainly been badly downgraded since the introduction of new trains, but that is to be expected.
New trains normally have worse catering than old ones, and also less legroom and reduced luggage space, this is known as progress !
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inspector_blakey
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2009, 11:12:21 PM »

The travelling chef service has its good points, but is largely what used to be called a hot buffet.
The advertised table service in First seldom appears, and the extensive sounding menu is often in practice downgraded to toasted sandwiches only.

The hull trains catering has certainly been badly downgraded since the introduction of new trains, but that is to be expected.
New trains normally have worse catering than old ones, and also less legroom and reduced luggage space, this is known as progress !

Whilst I've experienced the problems you describe with the travelling chef in the past, my more recent experience has been far superior with first class table service operating reliably and a full menu consistently available.

And you can't generalize about all new trains having less room than old ones; the Adelantes were very generous in this respect and the FGW HST refurbishment has better legroom than the BR interior (this isn't a subject for debate, it's factually correct). Yes there have been horrors like the Voyagers introduced but the same body shell with a different interior specification gave us the Meridians as used by EMT which are very pleasant trains to travel in.
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