My husband's 35 Christmas lunch was a ready meal in a plastic bag: Wife's anger at pub's 'rubbish' dinnerChaplin family paid nearly 400 for dinner at The Cricketers pubNina Chaplin asked pub to wrap husband's meal as his car broke downSaid husband threw dinner in the bin, opting for a bacon sandwich
Family was 'disgusted' at turkey that looked like 'compressed meat'
02:01 GMT, 27 December 2012
After booking a table at their local pub for a traditional turkey lunch, the Chaplins thought they had taken all the stress out of Christmas.
Until, that is, one family member’s car broke down on the way to the meal.
Determined that husband Mark shouldn’t miss out on the 35 a head feast they had already paid for, Nina Chaplin asked pub staff to wrap up his meal so he could enjoy it later.
Disgusted: Nina Chaplin and her daughter Abigail Chaplin with the 35-a-head dinner from The Cricketers pub in Rainham, Kent
Takeaway: The family asked for a dinner to be packaged and brought home after Mark Chaplin missed the meal due to a broken down car
But when she got home and opened the containers, she was shocked to discover what looked like ‘a ready meal that had simply been heated up in some way’.
Inside one box, she described finding a sealed plastic bag with three pieces of soggy turkey that appeared to have been pre-packed.
‘It looked like something I could pick up from Iceland for 1.99,’ said the mother of four.
‘My husband was so upset he binned his meal and made himself a bacon sandwich instead – that was his Christmas dinner.’
Mrs Chaplin said she felt ripped off after paying almost 400 for the meal for 11 at The Cricketers in Rainham, Kent. She had decided to take her family out for Christmas lunch as a treat for her father, Bob Lander, 62.
‘This time of year is always hard for my dad because my mum died at Christmas some 13 years ago, so we always try to make it extra special for him,’ said Mrs Chaplin, 41.
She booked a table at The Cricketers – part of the Greene King chain and her late mother’s favourite pub – for a three-course lunch costing 35 each for adults and 17 each for children. But the dishes that were presented to the Chaplins were less than appetising.
Feeling empty: Mrs Chaplin described the dinner as 'something I could pick up from Iceland for 1.99' and said her husband threw it in the bin
Pub: A group of 11 went to The Cricketers in Rainham, Kent for Christmas dinner, costing nearly 400. Mrs Chaplin said the turkey looked like 'compressed meat'
‘I looked at the turkey and it looked like compressed meat,’ said Mrs Chaplin, an IT worker from Rochester, Kent. ‘We all stared at our plates and were disgusted. We all realised that it wasn’t proper turkey that had been carved off the bone. It was like something frozen.’
The main course was served with four Brussels sprouts and six slices of carrots – and the family said the rest of the meal was no better. ‘Our starter – prawns on a stick – tasted like it had been defrosted in the microwave. It was warm on the outside and freezing cold on the inside,’ said Mrs Chaplin.
‘And the Christmas pudding was horrible and rubbery. We were expecting turkey and all the trimmings and we were told that we would have all-that-you-can-eat vegetables.
‘But we ended up with rubbish. When you pay 35 for Christmas dinner, you rightfully expect more. It was pitiful.’
Unappetising: Menus at The Cricketers pub in Rainham, Kent, advertising their 35-a-head menu
She said she was most disappointed for her father, who suffers from emphysema and had saved up his pension money to pay for his meal.
‘My dad was upset because it cost so much money,’ she said. ‘I felt gutted. It ruined our family Christmas.’
A spokesman for Greene King said last night: ‘While not cut from the bone in the pub, unlike in our carveries, our meat is from quality British turkeys and all of our vegetables are fresh.
‘Usually we would not provide takeaway Christmas dinners but our team was keen that the customer’s husband did not completely miss out on his Christmas meal and did their level best to help.’