Thursday, 7 November 2013

Dining at Deans

If I was a restaurant critic I could dine out every week for the rest of the year in Bicester, as the openings in the new shopping centre are coming thick and fast.

Well I'm not a restaurant critic - well not yet anyway, however I feel duty bound to you my readers who have come to expect some food related anecdote in every entry to visit each new eaterie that opens in town. Even if it doesn't involve sausages!

Today's venue does in fact offer sausages in a hot dog format, but I am all "sausaged out" after yesterday (see previous entry), so did not sample them today. I was at Deans Diner, an exciting new restaurant that opened yesterday in Bicester's new town centre development.

Deans Diner is a small chain (this is only their fifth outlet) of restaurants that promise to help you "Live The American Dream!". Think of those old 50s style American diners of the style Marty McFly visited in Back To The Future and you'll get an idea of what to expect.

Inside Deans Diner
The decor, lighting, menus, and even the Wurlitzer Jukebox playing classic hits from the era all help to set the mood. My initial impressions were good - bright, clean and friendly. The staff were very welcoming and we were soon sat happily at the corner table perusing the menus. There were four of us today, spanning the generations from my Mother, old enough to remember the 50s, myself and Claire, plus Jamie, aged just 3. But the menu was more than sufficient to fulfil our needs. As you would expect of such a joint, the menu was packed out with burgers, ribs, chicken, hot dogs and more. My mum isn't really into any of that sort of thing, but likes a good chicken caesar salad so was more than happy. In fact she said it was the best one she had had for a while. Claire and I both went for the burger special - basically burger, fries and bottomless drinks for £8.95. I noticed a very tempting range of milkshakes as well, and must try them next time.

There is of course a children's menu which suited Jamie nicely and came with crayons and a free hat.

You can find the full menu here: Deans Diner Menu

A well deserved drink after a hard
morning's work at the Courtyard!

Daddy! Look at my new hat!

The food all round was excellent, and the service from the waitresses very friendly, they couldn't do enough. My only slight criticisms would be that the service seemed a little slow for lunchtime, but then I can forgive that as it was only the second day. There was also a mistake with the bill - we were charged individually for the burger, chips and drinks which added a few quid on - quickly corrected when I pointed it out. Again, possibly teething troubles, so I can forgive that. I always check my receipts with a fine tooth comb as you will recall from my many past run ins with Tesco over "special offers" that didn't show up at the till.

If I can make one suggestion it is this - and this applies not just to Deans but establishments everywhere. Offer free Wi-fi. In the future, if not already, I see it as a big a necessity as electricity and running water. Now some would disagree - and say, "if you are having a meal, you shouldn't be fiddling around with your phone", but the fact is, in this modern era, people need it and expect it - particularly for the "working lunch" crowd. Now in Deans I checked and sure enough there was a Deans Wi-fi network. Unfortunately it was password protected and the waitress didn't know the password. Now whether this was because it was one of those networks that was for "staff only" or it is intended for customers but the staff hadn't been told, I don't know, but I am sure I speak for most people that it's frustrating to discover a network and then find you can't use it.

So to summarise, great food, great atmosphere, friendly staff all great positives and this is just the sort of place we need in Bicester. I can't give full marks because of the few minor niggles I mentioned, but I am more than happy to go there again, and recommend it to others - so Bicester Blogger's rating is 8 out of 10.

I should briefly point out another new opening today, not food related, but a clothes shop, "Peacocks". Now I am aware they have been around for years, but I have never been in one before and was pleasantly surprised. A lot of good clothes, especially for kids, which Bicester has been sadly lacking. It's also very cheap, which parents will welcome I am sure, as certain other shops in Bicester that sell kids clothes are not! If I had to categorise it somewhere, I would say it is a kind of upmarket Primark. Definitely worth a look!

Still to open before Christmas we've got Nandos and Prezzo - and you can of course count on me to give you the lowdown!

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  1. Well I am pleased that you enjoyed your visit because we didn't ! A good 20 minute wait to be seated, all bunched up around the bar. Eventually sat down and ordered 2 burgers and when I asked do they come with fries I was told no, so had to order them separately and our third diner just had a bowl of chips, cheese and bacon bits. With a bottomless coffee and 2 shakes and one order of pancakes the total bill came to over £41 !! For a burger lunch I would expect chips with everything, not a small basket costing £2.95 ! Also I appreciate they were busy, but our original server must have gone on a break once he had seated us and we were left waving arms to get someone to take the order. Not very impressed so will not be visiting again.

  2. I took my family there to have a meal and was so unhappy with the food i had a all day breakfast which the egg was not cooked and the rest of the food was burnt. I did point this out and was told the would tell the cook and then just left us to it. We was so unhappy that we paid the bill and walked out. I will not be taking my family there again