The menu here is extensive and the website divides it into miniplates, burgers and grills, fish and chip shop, pub favourites, pie shop and sharing plates. We generally are wary of anywhere that tries to do too much and it certainly suggests a big bought in component. Now, the POW is a Taylor-Walker pub, and when I bring up the TW website, it reveals 112 locations for their pubs. The first pub on that list is the Leicester Arms, Piccadilly, and they show an identical menu to the POW. Next up is the Rose & Crown, Stratford upon Avon, and they show an identical menu also. Indeed, the menu is the same at all 112 Taylor-Walker pubs as far as I can see from my web research.
There's nothing wrong with this of course, it ensures a consistent quality and ensures nothing goes too wrong in any of the pubs. The downside is obviously that you'll never find a hidden gem (when it comes to the food) and it is closer to re-heating than cooking. The corporate centralisation was evident in my meal despite choosing the least risky options: a prawn cocktail to start, ham egg and chips for my main. The food wasn't too bad because centralisation ensures minimum standards, but it is very much a place where you eat because it's local or because you like drinking there, which of course I do.
What was really great to see however was the attitude of the staff, who demonstrably cared about me as a customer and still cared about the food (staff were unaware that I was a blogger, just in case you're thinking). Peter, one of managers there and who looked after me on my visit was friendly, courteous and thoughtful enough to even ask if my eggs were cooked okay (they were). The pub then may not have options on the food, but the environment they create is their choice and the friendly tones they set left me loving the Prospect of Whitby as much as ever when I left that day.
The food here is what it is, a consistent standard set across all Taylor-Walker pubs, but the Prospect of Whitby itself is unique, a pub with a heritage that has been enjoyed by generations of drinkers (including Pepys and Dickens) and is without doubt a fine place to spend a few hours drinking whatever day of the week, whatever month of the year. You might not make a special journey to eat there, but hand on heart, we can fully recommend you make a special journey to drink there. It's simply the best pub in the world.