It’s a pretty good sign when there’s a queue backed up to the door for the carvery.
Formerly the Outside Inn, Plum Tree Farm is part of the Farmhouse Inns group.
It’s based on Whitehills Business Park, off Hallam Way, on the outskirts of Blackpool so isn’t in the most idyllic of locations – but this doesn’t seem to deter diners.
We arrived at 4pm on Sunday and it was already bustling with the queue coming later at about 5.30pm, obviously a more popular teatime.
It’s great to see a venue so busy but napkins, morsels of food and crayons strewn across the floor is far from a pleasant welcome.
Of course this isn’t the pub’s fault – rather that of the previous diners – but a few more extra staff to help speed up the clean up process would make a difference.
It’s a sensory overload with colourful signs everywhere pointing guests to different treats from towering homemade cakes to pigs in blankets.
(There’s even a piggy bank by the carvery to pop in a £1 if you forget to order this Sunday roast staple.)
The noise from large groups was quite overwhelming at first.
Nevertheless we found a window table tucked in a corner which seemed far enough away from most of the din.
It’s no wonder the pub is popular with families.
Not only is there a play area to keep youngsters entertained, there is a great selection of dishes for ‘little ones’ and ‘not so little ones’.
There’s a ‘swap shop’ so they can change their side dishes to something of their choice and all children’s meals include a scoop of ice cream.
Our four-year-old son chose his favourite cod fish fingers, chips and corn on the cob.
He ate it contentedly and you can’t grumble at that for £2.99.
One of his sisters went for the Chicken Wrapper (£4.29) – tortillas and slices of chicken breast to wrap up with veggie sticks, grated cheese, tomato ketchup and sour cream.
It went down a treat and was a fresh and fun way to eat.
Our teenage diner enjoyed tucking into the Chicken Tikka Masala (£8.99) which was served with naan bread, a poppadom, mango chutney, yoghurt and mint dip, salsa and pilau rice (although you can choose seasoned chips or half and half). There were plenty of pieces of chunky chicken and the sauce was rich and tasty.
I chose the standard carvery (£7.99 at weekends) with gammon, beef and a huge pile of vegetables including parsnips, carrots, red cabbage, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.
I avoided my usual favourite of cauliflower cheese which looked overcooked for my liking but everything else was enjoyable.
The hubby plucked for the Farmhouse Mixed Grill (£14.49) – a huge plate filled with 5oz rump steak, pork loin, gammon steak, two sausages and black pudding.
Served with chips, fried free-range egg, button mushrooms, onion rings, grilled tomato and garden peas, it was certainly a hefty portion and well worth the money.
With drinks, our bill came to £50.70.
It’s not really a calm dining experience but if you’re looking for reasonably priced pub grub for the whole family then you can’t go far wrong.
Gazette rating: 7 out of 10