JOHANNA HAMILTON visits a north Swindon restaurant all geared up to serve residents... once they finally move in

I HAVE driven past Robins Farm, along the A419 plenty. However, it wasn’t until tasked to do a food review, that I actually searched for the way in.

And as you ask, it’s by the Aldi on the Orbital road, past the David Lloyd fitness centre and on until you reach a dead end with huge steel gates, heavily chained and padlocked. There, on the left, looking pristine, is the pub.

Like the Waitrose at Wichelstowe, Robins Farm has been built way ahead of the community it has been created to serve. A pub where there aren’t any locals, because there aren’t any houses, yet. That said, when they do move in, they’re in for a bit of a treat.

The car park is large, free and nicely laid out. A row of disabled spaces along the front and flat access to wide double doors make it ideal for anyone with mobility issues.

Outside, there is a very nice, wrap-around sun terrace with tables nestled under large new parasols.

Although tempted, we headed inside and were taken straight to our reserved table next to the children’s play area. The back of the pub is a toddler to infant school playground with lots of Wendy houses, climbing toys and puzzles. Next to this area is a place filled with computer games, an Xbox and other delights older children will enjoy – and for us older children, there’s free wi-fi too.

There are a lot of menus - for children, senior citizens, breakfast, plus a huge main menu. As it was a Sunday, the adults opted for the carvery. Playing my usual trixy vegetarian card, I was assured that I too can have the carvery – but not the stuffing – and that there would be a roasted mushroom pie with my name on.

We ordered three standard sized carveries – there are four sizes, Small, Standard, Go Large and Ultimate, ranging from £4.99 to £11.99. There is also a carvery option for children from £4.79, but my children opted for the double hot dog, chips and beans or sweetcorn. This also came with a free ice cream all for a very reasonable £4.29.

By the time we’d ordered our drinks and sat down, my shortcrust mushroom pie had arrived at the table. All systems go.

My parents, being of a carnivorous nature, opted for huge slabs of beef and gammon. Unlike many carveries, where the meat is sliced so thinly you can almost see through it, Robins Farm opts for nice thick cuts of meat, with Yorkshire puddings and heated dish after heated dish of vegetables piled high.

As we went for an early sitting, the vegetables were al dente. I don’t mind a bit of crunch, but should you like a softer offering, perhaps a later sitting would give it time to cook still further?

I opted for a big helping of cauliflower cheese, more roast potatoes than was strictly polite, broccoli, carrots and sprouts.

It was an excellent meal, especially with the mushroom pie with crisp shortcrust pastry on the outside and a doughy moistness inside mixed with cream sauce and sauted mushrooms. Very good, very well-seasoned and a delight.

I have to say, the staff were also a delight. A lovely, hospitable, welcoming bunch up for a chat at the bar, but also fast enough to give excellent service. Nothing was too much trouble.

There were no surly teenagers, no people huddled away chatting amongst themselves, they were really on the ball and went out of their way to make us feel at home. A rare and wonderful experience.

And so, to pudding. Robins Farm is famous for its “cakeaway” and well they might be. Each cake looks like something the Queen of Hearts would wear on her head in Alice in Wonderland. Huge elaborate creations, filled with cream, chocolate, fruit, biscuits, sweets and more, take centre stage at the heart of the pub. They call to you from the chiller cabinet saying, “eat me, eat me NOW!”

My father had a rather sedate ice cream. My mother had a HUGE knickerbocker glory which we all said she wouldn’t finish – she did.

I had an indecently large slab of Oreo cake, three quarters of which is still in my fridge as it was gorgeous, but boy was it BIG.

My older daughter wanted the chocolate brownie ice cream, which, of course, wasn’t included in her meal deal. We looked at the mountains of ice cream, sauce and sprinkles and I marvelled to the barman that it must take ages for it to be newly built in the display cabinet every day.

He smiled a little pityingly at me: “It’s all fake, it’s for display purposes only. We get yours from the kitchen.” Oh dear. I wiped egg off my face and pointed out that the ice cream from the kitchen didn’t have sauce and sprinkles. No sooner was it said, than it was whisked away and it soon did.

For three adults, two children, two courses, five drinks, the bill came to £60. Now that’s value.

If you’re looking for quail’s eggs and moules marinières, it’s probably not going to be up your street (especially if your street is not yet built!). But, if you’re looking for a good, down to earth family pub, with a well-kept bar, good British pub food (with an everyday carvery), in big portions, served by friendly staff with entertainments on tap for children and a decent bottle of house wine for under a tenner well, my friends, I can recommend Robins Farm.


Robins Farm

Latham Road, Blunsdon St Andrew, Swindon SN25 4DL

Tel: 01793 726424

Parking: Yes, including disabled

Disabled access: Yes

Our ratings:

Food: 9.5/10

Choice: 10/10

Décor: 8/10

Customer Service: 10/10

Trip Advisor rating: 3/5