FOR whatever reason, Pub Spy elected to visit the Crown on Broad Street this week, which, as everyone knows, is a J D Wetherspoon pub.

I well remember an occasion several years ago, when I and few colleagues visited a Spoons not a million miles from Worcester in search of a hearty breakfast before a hill-walking expedition in Wales, and ordered the Full English all round.

A few minutes later, we were approached by a young waiter who told us we could not have fried eggs, as all of us had specified, with our breakfasts, “because the the fried egg machine has broken”. We looked at each other, dumbfounded.

Ever since than, I have always been a little worried about eating in a Wetherspoons; would the Crown change my mind?

The Crown is one of Worcester’s most historic buildings, and on this sunny June lunchtime, various groups had already staked claims to the outdoor tables flanking the establishment’s Broad Street entrance.

Inside was cooler, and I had no difficulty in finding a table for one in the Crown’s rambling, almost labyrinthine interior.

Had I wanted, I could have had a table both outdoors and undercover in the adjacent Crown Passage.

Previous visits had established that there is even more accommodation upstairs, but I did not venture there on this visit.

Remembering how hot the day was, I ordered a soft drink, a ginger beer, which came with lime and ice.

Had I wanted beer, the options would have included Brewdog Punk IPA on draught, plus a decent selection of world beers in bottles.

Draught beers were £1.99 per pint, which is pretty good for 2018 in this part of the world.

Food-wise, I also bowed to the logic of the heat, and ordered the bacon, avocado and chicken salad.

There were plenty of other options, should I have wanted a hot lunch, including steaks, other grills, burgers and pub classics, all reasonably priced, and plenty of other diners were tucking in.

The salad came surprisingly quickly, with the balsamic dressing served in a dish on the side. The pulled chicken was ample in quantity, about the same amount of meat as a whole breast, and the bacon was not stinted on either.

The salad ingredients (tomatoes, lettuce, spinach leaves and cucumber) were all fresh and the dressing satisfyingly sharp.

But the avocado let it down: overripe and too soft. I know avocados can be tricky, going from rock-hard to mush in hours, but other establishments manage to get it right.

However, no-one at Wetherspoon claims the chain is a haute-cuisine operation, and overall, worse things could have happened. A mass-market operation like this wouldn’t have known its avocado from its elbow thirty years ago.

And with the bill coming to £7.15 for one course and a meal, it is clear that what Wetherspoon offers, and what its customers expect and get - is value for money.