One thing I love about going on holiday is having a nice meal out or a takeaway. We don’t do it too often on a regular basis so holidays are a big treat for us. Haven is a self-catering holiday and the caravans have everything you could possibly need to cook yourself. However, we wanted to go for a bit of a mix of eating out and cooking so we chose to stay on site and try the three options available to us.
Mash and Barrel
We ate at the Mash and Barrel on our first evening at Haven because we were pretty much there anyway and we didn’t want to have to go back to the caravan and then make Erin something to eat. She was already super tired and wasn’t going to last much longer.
I think we arrived at about 4:45 which I know is really early for a ‘normal’ dinner and the restaurant was pretty empty. There was maybe a maximum of 10 other tables being sat at but there was someone walking around with a cleaning cart making sure everything was as clean as possible which was great to see! Menus were on the table, which included separates for main meals, children and drinks. I was really quite impressed with the menu. The prices were not unreasonable and food included everything from burgers to pasta and salads. There was a lot of choice and I found something I wanted easily.
We ordered and paid at the bar and because it was so quiet, we weren’t waiting at all. I ordered ‘ham egg and chips’ for John and ‘hunter’s chicken’ for myself. I knew Erin wouldn’t eat a meal so I got her some crisps (didn’t really touch them either) and 2 cokes. This came to around £25 so the price was really very reasonable.
Our food came out quickly and we were pleasantly surprised to see how much we got. I think we were both expecting much smaller meals.
Our meals were what you can expect from any average pub meal. They were nice enough and neither of us left much at all but it wasn’t really anything special. However, the service was great and the food was hot and edible.
We actually went back to the Mash and Barrel for another meal on the evening before we checked out. This time, John had Malaysian noodles and I had a cheeseburger with chips. These, along with a coke and tea cost £22 as the meals were on the cheaper end of the menu.
These 2 meals were much nicer than our first meals at the Mash and Barrel so maybe the quality really just depends on what you order. Even Erin want to try both of our meals and normally she doesn’t bother at all when we’re out.
If you arrive early on check in day then this is a great place to get a meal before being able to get to your caravan. The Mash and Barrel has a small outdoor sandpit and is also connected to the main entertainment complex.
I love pizza and due to where we live we can’t order from chain takeaways and because of this, I have never had a Papa John’s pizza. I think I was more excited than I should have been about trying this on our holiday. I like to try to plan our meals before we go away but I could’t do this for Papa John’s because I had no idea what anything cost. Finding an up to date menu online seemed next to impossible so here is a copy from Haven Caister-on-Sea from June 2018. I hope someone finds it and finds it useful!
John and I hadn’t planned to but we ordered on an evening where Erin was already in bed! As long as you spend over £10 you can get delivery to your caravan which I thought was pretty great. It would have been cold by the time we got it back if we’d had to go and get it ourselves!
Papa John’s has pizza, sides, chicken and desserts to order and they also offer various different offers. John and I didn’t want too much for just us so we ordered a large stuffed crust cheese and tomato pizza. I know it’s not very exciting but I like what I like and I knew this wouldn’t be too much for us. The pizza cost £11 and we had to pay £2.50 extra for the stuffed crust. After ordering on the phone, we were told it would be about 30 minutes (we ordered at about 5:45 on a Tuesday evening).
The pizza was delivered in about 20 minutes and was piping hot. We paid cash and it wasn’t an issue that we didn’t have the right money as the driver had change!
We’d been told how nice this pizza was and now I know why. It really was delicious. I think the stuffed crust added something extra to quite a plain pizza and I was glad we got it. The only thing that bothered me slightly was that it had a lot of sauce but this really is a minor niggle! I think the pizza was really good value and if there are more of you, the deals are even better value and you can get a lot for your money!
Cook’s Seaside Fish and Chips
On the Wednesday of our holiday we had been swimming in the afternoon and then to the park which meant we were right near the main entertainment complex. Instead of going back to the caravan to cook we decided to head to Cook’s which is the chippy on site. We had already received a menu in our welcome pack which was really handy. You can phone in orders but only for collection as they do not deliver.
Back home we never get separate meals because we can never eat it all so we decided to share a large chips and a large battered sausage, which cost £5 altogether. There are picnic benches outside so you can eat there but we took ours back to the caravan. As the food had been freshly cooked while we waited we knew it would last the 5-10 minute walk back to the caravan.
Unfortunately, none of us were really impressed with the food. The sausage was okay enough and what you would expect from any chip shop but the chips were pretty bad. From a chip shop I expect proper cut chips and these tasted similar to what we had at the Mash and Barrel earlier in the week, only fried in a chippy fryer.
It’s such a shame that this meal was such a disappointment as we had both been looking forward to it and Erin also wanted to eat with us for a change.
Overall, there are a couple of good options for eating out at Haven Caister-on-Sea but if we were to come back, we certainly wouldn’t eat at Cook’s again. Luckily, the shop sells quite a lot and there are other options nearby if you want to leave the site.