The Three John Scotts, City Exchange, Alfred Gelder Street, Lowgate, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 1XW.
Mon-Sun 8am to 11pm
The Three John Scotts is a J.D. Wetherspoon’s venue in the City Exchange, the former Post Office building, in Hull’s Old Town. Parking near to the pub is either pay and display on street or in a multi-story car park.
The venue was Visited on a Thursday lunchtime and was busy with almost every table at least partially occupied. Wetherspoons do not have music playing in their pubs. The table chosen had a plate on it initially, but this was removed during the visit to the bar to place the order. Wetherspoons venues have a number of food clubs on during the week, when certain specific additional and regular items are available more cheaply; on Thursdays this is the Curry Club. Many of the meals come with an included drink from a wide range, although some of the meals require an additional charge for alcoholic drinks.
To order food, you must select a table, make a note of the table number, then go to the bar to order and pay for your food. Cutlery is brought to the table wrapped in paper napkins, and a basket of bottled condiments is available if wanted. Additional food and drink items require more visits to the bar.
The bar was busy when visited and it took some time to get served on both the first and second visits.
The food was ordered from the Curry Club menu. Two drinks were ordered, a Pepsi, which was included with the meal, as were various other hot and cold soft and alcoholic drinks, although 19p extra was paid to increase the size to a pint and a can of San Pellegrino Lemon. The Pepsi was as good as can be expected from a draught soft drink; the San Pellegrino was chilled and fizzy, with a strong lemon taste to it, stronger than you would get from most lemonades.
The starter was Poppadums and Dips, which was four poppadums accompanied by four different toppings in separate containers. These were mango chutney, onion, tomato and coriander salad, lime pickle and yoghurt and mint dip. The mango chutney had pieces of presumably mango in it – mango chutney is frequently blended smooth. The salad was made from red onion and all the ingredients were chopped finely. The lime pickle had some fairly large pieces of lime in it, but was not as strong as it often is.
There were no napkins or cutlery provided with this dish, and both would have been useful. A small spoon would have helped to get the toppings out of the containers, especially the lime pickle and salad, as neither of these really worked as a dip. The poppadums were also slightly oily and, given that these are picked up with the hands, this made your hands slightly oily too with nothing available to wipe them on.
There was quite a lot in this starter, of both the poppadums and dips. It would have quite possibly been enough for two people, and was reasonably priced.
The main course was Chicken Jalfrezi which came with two poppadums, pilau rice, a triangular piece of naan bread and a container of mango chutney. This was initially brought out whilst the starter was still being eaten, despite it being stated when the meal was ordered that it was supposed to be served separately.
When it was brought out a second time it seemed that it had been kept warm in the interim as there was a skin on top of the curry and the top side of the naan bread was hard. The curry was in a separate dish on the plate and was not as spicy as jalfrezi can be. There was quite a bit of chicken in it, as well as onion and red and green peppers.
This was an okay dish. The naan bread was not too good, thanks to being hard, which made it both difficult to cut and to eat. The curry could, as mentioned, have been spicier, but so often curries in venues like this are not as hot as they are elsewhere.
The curry could have been made large by adding a vegetable samosa and a large onion bhaji.
The dessert ordered was American-style Pancakes with Ice Cream and Maple-Flavour Syrup, which could have been ordered with strawberry & blueberry compote instead of the maple-flavour syrup. This has a normal price of £3.85 but when ordered as part of the Curry Club it is reduced to £2.25, as are all of the desserts that are normally more expensive than that. The dish comprises of two scoops of vanilla ice cream, three warm American-style pancakes, which are thicker than normal ones and similar to drop scones or Scotch pancakes, and maple syrup.
The dessert, despite being a mostly cold dish, took over half an hour to be served. When it finally arrived it was clear that at least some of it had been waiting for long enough that it should all have been thrown away and a new dish made. The pancakes were warm, but the ice cream was half melted making a rather unpleasant slurry in the bottom of the dish, especially as the maple flavour syrup was not served separately (in a jug as has been the case in other Wetherspoons venues visited) but was instead underneath both the half melted ice cream and pancakes and mixed in with the ice cream slurry. This was definitely a dish that was not worth waiting for.
The cost of the meal came to £11.08 which would not have been too bad if the food had been better. The various problems with the food were due to there being insufficient staff to deal with the level of custom. There was one person devoted to bringing food out and two regularly serving at the bar. In particular, there was one large party whose food took a substantial amount of time to bring out which was probably why the dessert took so long to arrive and was in such a poor state when it did.
The starter was the best dish by far, the main course was okay but the dessert was appalling. The starter was brought out fairly quickly, as was the main course, the latter probably because it had been ready for some time and had been kept hot, which caused other problems with the dish.
The lack of table service is inconvenient when dining by yourself. This was shown on this visit when, on the second trip to the bar to order the dessert, on coming back to the table the large party on the nearby tables had taken the table itself, requiring it to be retrieved in order to have somewhere to eat, due to how long the wait at the bar to get served was.
This visit to The Three John Scotts was not a good one, with both the food and the service being substandard.