BIG chains always fall to the bottom of my list of choices when deciding which restaurant to visit.
In fact, my feelings for them sit on a par with how I feel about the MetroCentre – I try to avoid both at all costs.
But at least once a year, when my vow never to return has faded into a distant memory, I’ll take a trip to the mammoth maze of a shopping mall.
Inevitably, after burning off that week’s calories battling through the crowds and searching for that shop I need to go to but can never find, hunger strikes.
The MetroCentre’s food mall may well boast a range of restaurants but if you want to eat here, chains are pretty much unavoidable.
With that in mind, we decided to delve into what was on offer at Golden Gate Spur Steak and Grill, which became the sixth in the UK when it opened its doors in 2010.
Inside, Spur’s takes on a Red Indian theme, with brightly coloured walls, flamboyant headdresses, tepee lights, totem poles and bows and arrows and tomahawks making up the decor.
Pitching itself as family-friendly, there’s also a play area complete with a ball pit and games to prevent youngsters from slumping into boredom while they wait for their meal.
Deciding what to eat is a feat within itself and if you’re indecisive like me then the extensive menu can prove a problem as it covers everything from steaks, burgers and chicken to fajitas, enchiladas and mixed grills.
All meals are served with the option of chips, a baked potato or salad, and soft drinks are bottomless.
Eventually, I settled for the 6oz sirloin steak and chips (£10.95) and my husband went for the cheese and bacon burger with salad (£9.95).
Within about 15 minutes, our plates, which were full of food, were being placed in front of us by our friendly waitress.
My steak was cooked to perfection and tasted great. While it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, it was succulent and tasty and did the job.
My husband polished off his meal within minutes and while he also claimed he’s had better, he clearly enjoyed it.
The large portions meant there wasn’t room for pudding so we ordered the bill, which came to £25.40 including two cokes.
And to my delight, as we headed to the car park, I stumbled across that shop I’d spent most of the afternoon looking for.