Review: Preston’ Spoons food – enough horrible knife or fork?


You might assume this is a two person tent after a tragic midnight bear attack, but you’d be wrong. It’s a meat feast cracker

See you next in Preston’s Blog series on best and worst rated restaurants is The Twelve Tellers in Church Street in Preston City Center.


Part of the JD Wetherspoon chain, The Twelve Tellers takes its name from when the Baroque-style building it occupies was a bank, and inside was a 65-foot-long counter with 12 tellers behind .

I invited my daughter Zero point to accompany me to Rise for breakfast as it was on the list of top rated restaurants I had to visit. Unfortunately for her, we hadn’t booked and people were queuing outside the door, so since The Twelve Tellers was on the corner of Rise and was on the worst review list, we decided to go there instead.

Previous guests have called it a ‘stinky dump and a rip off’ and mentioned the cold food and rude staff, while others have praised it for being ‘not as bad an experience as Wetherspoons’.

Most know ‘Spoons as a cheap and cheerful place where beer and real ales can be served from 9am with food. A place frequented by students, football fans, creepy old men with muscle eyes and policemen.

Upon entering we were hit by a wall of noise as the place was packed even though it was only 11:30am. After hearing a large group of young gentlemen loudly and melodiously explain how someone manages to be their own cousin, we understood that PNE was playing a game.

Read more: Preston North End bans fans for life from tweeting about the Queen

The building itself is large and spacious, with the added bonus of windows that were far too high for anyone to pass through.

We had a look at the full menu, then ordered from the bar, which was quick to serve us despite the crowd, and after a wait of about 15 minutes, our food started to arrive.

I had ordered in the three small plates for £12.95 and Ground Zero had ordered a jacket potato with side dish, salad and soft drink for £5.69. She had also requested two extra toppings – beans and tuna mayonnaise – for an extra 95p each.

Ok, so before the Saturday night purse begins, I’m just going to preemptively answer some of the questions and statements that are going to pop up in the comments:

Why even go there?

I have to because I visit the best and worst customer reviewed restaurants in Preston and The Twelve Storytellers is one of these.

What did you expect, it’s a Wetherspoons?

I was expecting pre-prepared, pre-cooked food that was cheap and decent enough to be good value. There are Wetherspoons there where that’s what you’d get, but they’re not in the city center.

Your name is Karen… Are you going to talk to the director?

No, Leonardo. I’m going to talk to your brother George about it’s time for you and him to have a special talk about rabbits and alfalfa.

So let’s go…

There was a potato and she was wearing a jacket, but judging by the quality of the rest of the food, it was less about flavor and more about convenience. Customers might consider themselves lucky that the bean no longer carries its box and the cheese no longer carries its cow.

The Twelve Tellers potato jacket
But there are three beans in this picture! No. Enlarge

The chicken strips were unremarkable but no worse than any other fried, breaded, deli chicken breast, making it the safest option for anyone cooped up. The chipotle dip that came with it had protective skin like it had been hurt too many times, and under the skin it was a different color, so after a dip I hid the pot behind my bag to not have to look at him, and he could begin his healing process with dignity.

The Twelve Tellers Chicken Strips
After a dunk, I ghosted the dive and I’m not even sorry

An eight inch meat feast pizza looked good, although the topping seemed to be on some sort of cracker. The pepperoni tasted like spam and the whole thing was bland and droopy but not inedible. Oddly enough, it’s priced at £5.95 on its own or £4.65 with a soft drink as a Deli Deal.

The last of the three plates I ordered was a curry sauce over chips, which cost £4.85 when purchased individually. A small amount of standard Chinese chip shop style curry sauce was placed on the middle section of the fries, to ensure the item tasted as good as it looked.

The Twelve Tellers curry sauce on fries

The bill for the food, including a small Coke, came to £20.54 but as we only ate about a quarter of it it was a lot less of a bargain than it was initially appeared. It’s possible we were unlucky with our choice of food or took the kitchen on a bad day, although according to a member of staff the portion of curry sauce comes out of an individual sachet, it is therefore unlikely that this will change.

From my experience that day, The Twelve Tellers belongs firmly to the bottom of places to eat in Preston. He moved there, decorated his house, and started an epic feud with the neighbors (The Pavilion Cafe and The Brown Hare) over who stole Nan’s rings. It’s not going anywhere, mate.

That said, the soft drinks were good and I’m glad we managed to keep at least two away from the hard liquor; they had to go through hell on the reservation.

I realize this is an extremely harsh criticism. But even a cheap meal in a chain pub should be enjoyable and of a quality consistent with that of its other branches, especially since much of the population currently has no money to spend. I’ve been to a few Wetherspoons that have been way better than The Twelve Tellers so I know they’re there.

What Wetherspoons does best is offer cheap drinks and cocktails, a lively atmosphere and long opening hours.

The staff on the pitch were friendly and hard working, including the bouncers who spoke politely to the few football fans who got too rowdy.

Credit should go to the wait staff in particular. As bearers of bad culinary news, they are often the ones to bear the brunt of customers being served mediocre food, which must be exhausting, while the owners of chains like Wetherspoons and Greene King are comfortably removed from the complaints of anger of the disappointed and sometimes inebriated diners.

Luckily for those who want a cheap meal in a highly rated restaurant, the independent bar and restaurant Smashed Preston is literally around the corner from The Twelve Tellers, and offers Monday to Friday for lunch a fresh homemade burger, a bunch of chips and a soft drink for £7. That’s 59 pence cheaper than the price of grim microwaved potato and coke at Ground Zero.

You will soon be able to read our review of Smashed Preston.

Are you a Stoke City FC fan? And if so, can you confirm or deny the rumor that your mother is your father and your father is your mother? Let us know in the comments.

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