Forum, Preston

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It was the third Monday of the month, Sara and I were in town on the roam for pre-Preston Ukulele Strummers Society eats. I was a bit reluctant about going to Coco’s for food after our last visit which included fishy chicken, so after a bit of walking around we decided to give Forum a try. A lot of my friends from Preston have raved about Forum, so I was expecting good things.

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Forum is a very trendy place, definitely marketed towards the student crowds and pre-clubnight crowds to go for cocktails before raving or whatever it is that cool people do. It’s decorated nicely with fuzzy flocked wallpaper which I enjoyed stroking, and massive leather sofas to lounge out on whilst enjoying a cocktail.

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The choice of draught beers was a bit limited, so I opted for a cola and Sara had a coffee. Forum have recently tweeted that they have added Brooklyn Brewery Lager to their range of draught beers now, if they had that when I visited, I would have been all over that. They do have a lovely selection of bourbons, however. One thing you should know about me, is that I bloody love bourbon.

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We ordered a couple of burgers each, and waited quite some time for them to arrive. We were one of two occupied tables in Forum when we ordered, and the only one waiting for food, yet food took over half an hour to arrive. When food arrived, I was immediately disappointed.

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Lancastrian Burger

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Smoked Applewood Burger

Forum’s menu states that their “burgers are half a pound of 100% Aberdeen Angus prime beef served on a toasted sesame brioche bun.” This wasn’t on a brioche bun, which was one of the deciding factors in me ordering a burger. This was a standard sesame topped burger bun, the sort you would get your burger served in from a truck selling burgers at a funfair. The burgers were served on a cold slate, and as such the burgers were cold from the bottom, and this was unpleasant. The fries served in a basket may look smart, but it makes them impractical for adding salt and vinegar, and I couldn’t tip them from the basket onto the stone cold slate, as they would have gone cold even quicker. The basket was also placed on a saucer, and was wobbling about.

As for the taste of the burgers, credit where it is due, the quality of the meat showed through, and the burger patties tasted good, however on the Lancastrian, which is topped with molten creamy Lancashire cheese, the cheese had cooled down and congealed by the time it arrived, and it gave it an unusual texture. I could also barely taste the cheese in the burger. The Smoked Applewood tasted better, the cheese was still slightly gooey and molten, and tasted good, but Applewood cheese will always taste good. The fries were a bit floppy and undercooked, not crisp at all (this was before adding salt and vinegar.) The homemade coleslaw was horrible, the vegetables were cut into small chunks, not julienne or chiffonade vegetables, and tasted unpleasant. I can’t put my finger on it, all I know is that I left it after a couple of tastes.

I didn’t enjoy the food here, but it doesn’t mean I won’t return to Forum. The Ciccetti Board and Persian Mezze on their menu look good, and some of the cocktails look downright fantastic. Cocktails I am keen to try are the Bramble: Hayman’s Old Tom Dry Gin, lemon juice, gomme and creme de mure, the Spicy Mai Tai, Kraken Spiced Rum, Grand Marnier & Bitters with Ginger & Lemongrass Cordial, Lime Juice and Pineapple Juice, also the Ron Burgundy! How can I pass up on a drink named after Ron Burgundy?

It’s sad that I have to say I didn’t enjoy my meal at Forum, it really has potential. I think if you are going to say something is on the menu, it should either be there, or customers should be told it isn’t. However, when I asked the barman, he said that the buns we had on our burgers are the same as they always use. Another issue was that staff were sat at the bar throughout our visit, chatting quite loudly, and eating their food  there.

So, with a bit more attention paid to getting food out within an acceptable time, the menus being tweaked and staff being a bit more knowledgeable about what they’re serving, and quietening it down a bit when it’s not rammed, things would be decidedly better, instead of decidedly meh.

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