Harvester Nottingham Castle Marina – A Review

When we were asked to review the Harvester in Nottingham, Castle Marina, I was quite excited, I have been there before but not for quite a while and always loved the salad bar! I discovered the restaurant menu was online so I could have a good look before we went. As we all follow Slimming World as a family I was pleased to find the syn values of many items on the Slimming World app however we decided to enjoy our meal and have it off plan.

Initial Thoughts on Arrival

The outside of the restaurant had a reasonable amount of parking which was welcomed after I had got lost numerous times on the way there! The maps app on my phone kept directing me the wrong way but hey I made it in the end after a bit of a tour of Nottinghamshire! The Harvester website has the full address on and even a way you can find directions so it really is no fault of Harvester and purely my poor sense of direction that caused this! There was outside seating which looked clean and welcoming but personally I am not a fan of eating outside unless it is really really hot so we went straight inside!


When we arrived at 5.10pm (a miracle given my driving!) on a Saturday evening for a table booked at 5.15pm there was around 10 tables occupied so it wasn’t too busy. There was music on low at the perfect level for a nice atmosphere for the family. Despite there being some families with young children it was a relaxed atmosphere and the staff were all smiling and friendly.

The Table and D├ęcor

As soon as we arrived we were welcomed at the door and shown to our table. We were seated in  booth. I usually like to sit in booth type seats because I find them much more comfortable and intimate. There was plenty of space in the booth for the three of us and it was comfortable however I was disappointed to see that the seats were very worn and not in a good condition at all. They were comfortable but aesthetically not so nice. This really was a shame as the rest of the restaurant was so stylish and well kept. Everywhere was clean and we were given our menus and orders taken in good time.

The Menu Choices

The choices on the menu were great as you can see yourself online here. Everything we asked for was available and I was very impressed at the flexibility of the menu. Stuart swapped his chips for a jacket potato to make it healthier and there were various other changes that were available and clearly shown on the menu.

The Salad Bar

With unlimited salad from the salad bar we had plenty of option to eat fully on Slimming World but chose not to. On our first trip up to the salad bar a couple of the items were low or messy (eg having the item next to it dropped into it) however soon after I noticed the staff replacing and tidying up the area which was well stocked for the remainder of our visit so I think it was just poor timing when we first went up to the salad bar, maybe someone messy had been up just before us! The selection available was great and a staff member told me all is vegetarian and nut free. Unfortunately there were no labels to say what the items were but the staff member knew which dressings were which and the descriptions for the pasta salad etc. They said that it isn’t company policy to have them labeled though as a restaurant they were looking at doing so which was good. We all enjoyed everything we had from the salad bar it all tasted fresh and full of flavour.

The Starters

We ordered cheesy garlic bread, Nachos and Buttermilk-fried chicken. Ben had the chicken and Stuart and I shared the nachos and cheesy garlic bread. All the starters were thoroughly enjoyed the only point I guess I would make is the small bowl for the nachos made it rather messy to eat and I wonder if a flatter bowl or plate would have been more suited. The starters were of perfect size and definitely lived up to their descriptions. Ben even noted that he preferred the chicken to any other chicken he has ever had!

The Main Course

Ben excitedly ordered the ultimate burger which consisted of a beef burger, a grilled chicken breast topped with Monterey Jack cheese and served with chips and a half rack of ribs. Ben had been so undecided about ribs or a burger so this was a perfect combination for him and he really enjoyed it.

I had the stuffed red pepper, the pepper was stuffed with a sweet potato, quinoa and black bean chilli which was lovely and just spicy enough for me as I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to spices! It was served with a spicy tomato and black bean rice and sweet potato fries. I was so impressed to have a truly nice vegetarian meal (this was also actually vegan). I ordered some corn on the cob to accompany my meal.

Stuart had the Southern fried chicken bun, he chose to swap his chips for a jacket potato and noted that the potato was cooked evenly throughout and very tasty. He also really enjoyed his meal.

The Desserts and Drinks

As much as we had intended on eating “off plan” we also had planned to be reasonably good but this really went out of the window when we saw the dessert menu! It was such a tough decision for all of us because they all sounded amazing but we all opted for ice-cream sundaes! Stuart had the Baileys Mississippi mud pie sundae and topped it with extra Munchies! I had the Rocky Horror sundae and topped it with extra Munchies too. Ben chose the Millionaire’s sundae and topped it with extra Oreo crumb. I would love to tell you that it was hard work eating them but it really wasn’t! They were all thoroughly enjoyed as we were all well and truly stuffed afterwards! The sundaes were huge and we could so easily have shared one if we had realised the size! All three of us drank Pepsi Max throughout the visit with refills available from a machine as in many places nowadays. All flavour choices were available and the drinks area every time we went to replenish our drinks was clean and tidy.

The Toilets

I wouldn’t normally write a whole separate section of the review about these but they were so clean and fresh I thought it would be wrong not to mention them. I was also very impressed that they are all separate self contained cubicles so I could send Ben in on his own. Ben is 11 but due to his autism it is difficult as I don’t like sending him in the male toilets on his own and it seems unfair for him to have to be taken as he likes his independence so this was perfect as I knew he was safe and he retained his independence.

The Service and Presentation

We were really pleased with the service throughout our visit. We were served by the same waiter throughout who I believe was called Jack but I didn’t write it down thinking I would remember and I didn’t, a bit like the route and Sat Nav issues – maybe I need to accept my memory can be shocking! He was always about if we needed anything but equally not intrusive whilst we were eating. All the other staff we encountered on our visit were equally helpful, for example when I asked a member of staff about the salad bar and if items were vegetarian. We were there just over 2 hours in total and throughout all the staff were professional and we didn’t see any standing in corners chatting like you do some places when you go out. All food was well presented as you can see on my photos.

Value for Money

The prices of all the food on the menu was very comparable to other similar establishments. The meals were of a good size and in our opinions as a family the value for money was great. We would definitely visit again.

Overall Experience

We all really enjoyed our visit to the Harvester at Castle Marina in Nottingham and will definitely look to go again. As someone who usually tries to eat healthily the choice was brilliant and I just chose not to stick to my usual plan on our visit. There really is something for everyone whether you want a really nice meal out for a celebration or a last minute grill because the weather is not as you hoped for a BBQ and lets face it that is all too often in the UK!

Please note our meals and drinks were given to us in return for this review however the opinions shared are the genuine opinions of myself and my family.

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