Where?: The Inn On The Green, Paignton
What?: The Cowboy Classic Burger - Bacon, Monterey Jack Cheese, Token Salad.
How much?: £10 something
The Inn on The Green in Paignton hasn't done much for me in the past. The last time we went there, it ended up with us making a complaint to the manager about some terrible tasting fish that they had served us as part of their fish and chips meal. Marstons also own the Waterloo Cross in Uffculme which was terrible as well so frankly my expectations were dragging up the steps of the pub as we had decided that our day out in Paignton needed some fuel.
Given we were on a budget and not really feeling particularly adventurous we decided to give The Inn On The Green another go, but maybe avoid the fish this time?
The Inn On The Green is a family pub which means that there is generally more tolerance to the Callums and Chardonnays of this world running around screaming at the top of their voices whilst the rest of the pub quietly judge their parenting skills. They won't get kicked out as fast, and there is a holding cell for the small ones (I think its called a play area?). So bring your ear protectors.
Interestingly a sign at the front says that Cambra members are welcome, not that you would find anything worth them coming in for. Like all Marstons their only main redeeming feature in terms of ale was the fact that they do have Hobgoblin on draught but this had a big sign on it saying 'coming soon'... So yes, even before I had sat down I had judged and made up my mind. Bad habit when you're writing a blog about places you eat in.
I would at this stage like to change the course of this post, because despite the surroundings there were a number of things that had improved since our last visit and the first thing was certainly the service. The staff were friendly and personable, on the whole. There were no miserable expressionless drones (as the Cafe Tutto around the corner had provided us with earlier in the afternoon), everyone seemed happy to smile and to express their basic humanity.
Secondly the food had improved as well. Even though this is a burger blog, it was nice to see that they hadn't gone overboard with Gourmet Burgers. There were three burgers to choose from (The Cowboy Classic, Macaroni Cheese Burger and a Piri Piri Chicken Burger) and they were not labeled proudly as 'Gourmet Burgers' which has become quite tiresome now, they were just Brilliant Burgers. The Cowboy Classic seemed like a sure bet, so I went for that with baited breathe.
With some Heinz Burger sauce for dipping and a good load of chips, this was actually a nice burger. Yes, it was stuffed with filler and binding, the origin of the meat was not given and it was beyond medium rare but it was definitely not the worst burger I have ever had. A soft bap and a pot of catering standard coleslaw accompanied it, and although for what you got and compared to the price of better burgers that I have had in better places, it was much more than it should have been, the burger was a good size and the taste was meaty enough to keep me happy.
Washed down with a pint of Cumberland from Jennings (bought by Marstons in 2005) which frankly tasted of watered down nats piss, it was a fair meal which I would have again. But with Hobgoblin.