Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.

Photo

Pubs - the topic


  • Please log in to reply
126 replies to this topic

#1 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 19 January 2009 - 03:02 AM

http://www.thecowdray.co.uk/ Had a deliciuos sunday lunch here yesterday after visiting friends in the area. The Pub is minimalist in style, wooden floors and comfy banquette seating with smart leather covered chairs. The walls show photos of local vineyards, following through with their use of local ingreadients wherever possible.The menu lists all their main suppliers on the back which is a nice touch. We had home made carrot and cumin soup and a terrine of leek, parma ham, chicken and wild mushrooms to start and followed that with roast pheasant with truffled mash and creamed leeks and a huge sirloin steak with chips and bearnaise. For dessert we shared a 1/2 portion of local cheese choosing 2 of the 5 on offer, a great sussex blue and a "brie" with quince jelly and homemade chutney. With a bloody mary, glass of champagne, 2 glasses of the most expensive wine by the glass, 2 coffees and a bottle of water our bill came to under £70. The bill had a 10% discount added to it as they are celebrating their first year of business by doinga discount throughout jan and feb and had little notices around the bar thanking everyone for their business which i thought was a nice touch, and one taht is obviously working as it was packed. You get the sense that the owners really care about what they are doing and everything is done with a very personal touch with Alex working the floor and Andy manning the stoves. This is what Great English Pubs are all about and i wish them continued success.
Where else would egulletters recommend for a great local pub in the truest tradition?
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#2 SaladFingers

SaladFingers
  • participating member
  • 209 posts

Posted 19 January 2009 - 03:32 AM

The Highwayman Inn, owned by Nigel Howarth is excellent and they are also proud of their suppliers. See the long list here:
http://www.highwayma...oes-gallery.htm

My favouite pub will always be the Bay Horse in Ulverston, however. Think they recently won small hotel of the year, or something. It's somewhere I visit after a long, hard day's walk in the Lake District. It's absoultely fantastic, wonderfully traditional, cosy, there's always an good atmosphere and you wouldn't feel out of place taking your shoes off. The modern conservatory, acting as the main restaurant in the evenings is utterly stunning, on the ocean edge and with a mountainous backdrop. They serve traditional food made to a much higher than average standard.

Edited by SaladFingers, 19 January 2009 - 03:34 AM.


#3 PhilD

PhilD
  • participating member
  • 706 posts
  • Location:Hong Kong

Posted 19 January 2009 - 05:47 AM

I assume we are discussing "everyday pubs" rather than the gastro superstars like The Star, The Sportsman, The Walnut Tree etc.

By coincidence we tried a new pub for Sunday lunch The Pony and Trap, which is just south of Bristol. It was recomended by the chefs at The White Hart in Bath (also a good everyday food pub but best for drinks in the summer when the garden is open and so a better ratio of drinking to dining space). The food at the P&T was good, although it being a Sunday the menu "roast" heavy for the meat selection, the cheese plate was especially good with some Somerset Brie in perfect runny condition with no hint or ammonia. What I really liked is that it is a real pub, serving decent food cooked with care, no sign of a "Farrow & Ball" designer makeover, lots of locals, and lots of muddy wellies left by the door.

#4 PhilD

PhilD
  • participating member
  • 706 posts
  • Location:Hong Kong

Posted 19 January 2009 - 05:51 AM

The Highwayman Inn, owned by Nigel Howarth is excellent and they are also proud of their suppliers. See the long list here:
http://www.highwayma...oes-gallery.htm

My favouite pub will always be the Bay Horse in Ulverston, however. Think they recently won small hotel of the year, or something. It's somewhere I visit after a long, hard day's walk in the Lake District. It's absoultely fantastic, wonderfully traditional, cosy, there's always an good atmosphere and you wouldn't feel out of place taking your shoes off. The modern conservatory, acting as the main restaurant in the evenings is utterly stunning, on the ocean edge and with a mountainous backdrop. They serve traditional food made to a much higher than average standard.

View Post


Is the "General Burgoyne" still going - it used to be really basic (as pubs should be) with a great pie and peas, and a really good Hartleys.

#5 SaladFingers

SaladFingers
  • participating member
  • 209 posts

Posted 19 January 2009 - 06:38 AM

I have a feeling it was taken over by Lucy's and I haven't been since then. It is always busy whenever I walk past, so I imagine it's still worth a visit.

#6 spanielking

spanielking
  • participating member
  • 115 posts

Posted 19 January 2009 - 07:13 AM

Was at George and Dragon, Clifton, just south of Penrith on Sunday. Had a good Ham Hock and chick pea curry, then I spied rice oudding and thought it rude not to give it a try. It might fall under the farrow and ball catogory, its was busy with lots of locals in. Meal for 2 £60 including 2 glasses of prosecco and a bottle of wine.

Funnily enough, never rated either Highwayman of 3 Fishes, never had good experiences at either.

Brown Horse at Winster (Lake district) is always excellent, so is Strickland Arms near Kendal.

Must give bay horse a try, I hear lots of good things about it.

#7 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 19 January 2009 - 08:46 AM

I assume we are discussing "everyday pubs" rather than the gastro superstars like The Star, The Sportsman, The Walnut Tree etc.

By coincidence we tried a new pub for Sunday lunch The Pony and Trap, which is just south of Bristol. It was recomended by the chefs at The White Hart in Bath (also a good everyday food pub but best for drinks in the summer when the garden is open and so a better ratio of drinking to dining space). The food at the P&T was good, although it being a Sunday the menu "roast" heavy for the meat selection, the cheese plate was especially good with some Somerset Brie in perfect runny condition with no hint or ammonia. What I really liked is that it is a real pub, serving decent food cooked with care, no sign of a "Farrow & Ball" designer makeover, lots of locals, and lots of muddy wellies left by the door.

View Post


yes - there is lots of talk of the superstars like the sportsman etc, i was thinking more about unsung locals, thanks for this
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#8 Pam Brunning

Pam Brunning
  • participating member
  • 259 posts

Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:30 AM

The Highwayman Inn, owned by Nigel Howarth is excellent and they are also proud of their suppliers. See the long list here:
http://www.highwayma...oes-gallery.htm

My favouite pub will always be the Bay Horse in Ulverston, however. Think they recently won small hotel of the year, or something. It's somewhere I visit after a long, hard day's walk in the Lake District. It's absoultely fantastic, wonderfully traditional, cosy, there's always an good atmosphere and you wouldn't feel out of place taking your shoes off. The modern conservatory, acting as the main restaurant in the evenings is utterly stunning, on the ocean edge and with a mountainous backdrop. They serve traditional food made to a much higher than average standard.

View Post


:shock: Oh dear this is my first post and it has got to be negative. We did the Bay Horse last year after being recomended. It was awful, the area is horrible, a mill pond of dirty rushing sea water, a tumble down lock at the back end of a trading estate. As for the 'hotel', it smelt like a pub and that is not a compliment. We stayed overnight, dinner was regemented, the food was just like 'cling & ping' and the staff disapeared altogether after the pud was served. Next morning there was a lovely view over mud flats Ugh
Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society
My link

#9 SaladFingers

SaladFingers
  • participating member
  • 209 posts

Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:40 AM

I'm bewildered by your experience.

Did Jeremy Beadle appear at the end?

Edited by SaladFingers, 19 January 2009 - 09:53 AM.


#10 Harters

Harters
  • participating member
  • 1,089 posts
  • Location:North Cheshire, UK

Posted 19 January 2009 - 10:57 AM

and a really good Hartleys.

You can't go wrong with a Hartley :wink:

Now owned by Robinson's (Stockport's finest)
John Hartley

#11 Harters

Harters
  • participating member
  • 1,089 posts
  • Location:North Cheshire, UK

Posted 19 January 2009 - 11:04 AM

Two in Cheshire:

Boot Inn @ Kelsall

Duke of Portland @ Lach Dennis

Both "dining pubs" rather than your full "gastro", if you see what I mean. The Boot is very much a proper pub; the Duke a bit more restauranty.

In Manchester - Mr Thomas' Chop House in the city centre (the pubby cousin of the more restauranty Sam's Chop House) and, in the southern suburb of Didsbury, the Royal Oak.

The Oak is locally famous for its extremely substantial cheese, pate or pork pie lunches. Nothing else is served. They offer doggy bags for lightweights who can't manage the quantity.
John Hartley

#12 PhilD

PhilD
  • participating member
  • 706 posts
  • Location:Hong Kong

Posted 19 January 2009 - 11:43 AM

The Bell is just south of Stratford-upon-Avon in the village of Alderminster. I understand the local Lady of the Manor (The Alscot Estate) recently purchased the pub to keep it open, and is has been refurbished (lots of Farrow and Ball) however it is still OK. Many of the staff are ex the Howard Arms in Ilmington which was once good but has now really gone down hill.

The kitchen is good, a nice terrine to start, slightly tough "Venison Wellington", but an excellent Poussin and vegetables. Desserts are a weakness and are firmly aimed at the <10's. The area around (and in) Stratford can be tricky for reasonable food pubs, and IMO this is the best in the area.

#13 Bapi

Bapi
  • participating member
  • 1,028 posts

Posted 19 January 2009 - 11:51 AM

and a really good Hartleys.

You can't go wrong with a Hartley :wink:

Now owned by Robinson's (Stockport's finest)

View Post


Aaah, Robbies beer- I haven't had a pint of that for years. Damm fine stuff I seem to remember.

#14 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 20 January 2009 - 03:41 AM

Any ideas for Hertfordshire?
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#15 malcolmwilliamson

malcolmwilliamson
  • participating member
  • 148 posts

Posted 20 January 2009 - 06:31 AM

Any ideas for Hertfordshire?

View Post


Haven't been for some time (not deliberate avoidance ) but the http://www.foxandhou....uk/default.asp served restaurant quality food and small Hertford brewery Red Squirrel ales when I was last there.

#16 Harters

Harters
  • participating member
  • 1,089 posts
  • Location:North Cheshire, UK

Posted 20 January 2009 - 08:42 AM

Granville Arms, Barford, Warwicks (a couple of minutes off Junction 15, M40).

Stopped here a couple of times for lunch (found it on www.fiveminutesaway.co.uk). Newish owners trying to make food a "significant thing". Roasts on a Sunday; wider bistro-ish menu through the week.

Next time I'm having the "doorstep sandwich" that the next table was eating. Big pieces of bread, crammed with what looked like very nice ham, bit of salad on the side; came with a separate bowl of chips that I wanted to thieve.
John Hartley

#17 Harters

Harters
  • participating member
  • 1,089 posts
  • Location:North Cheshire, UK

Posted 24 January 2009 - 02:15 PM

Lunch at the Highwayman today (somewhat stuffed after the "full English" L'Enclume brekkie).

Is it a gastropub or just a pub that does really good food? Well, with Nigel Haworth as owner, it’s probably somewhere in between. What it certainly is, is a pub that celebrates local produce and then cooks it well.

We started with a couple of the “nibbles” on the menu. A plate of sausages – two each of Old Spot, Cumberland and black pudding, with a mustard dip. This was good. Very good. The other nibble was a selection of Highwayman dips – black pea, marrowfat pea and preserved cherry tomatoes, and some good bread. Tomatoes were very good (and with a lot of leftover thyme flavoured olive oil to dip into as well); the two pea dips not so good being a bit underflavoured.

One main was Bowland Lamb Hotpot with red cabbage, of course. A plentiful portion of long cooked very lamby lamb with a good crispy potato topping. The pickled red cabbage appeared home made.

The other main was a veal rump steak supplied by local “food hero” Farmer Sharp. It’s not often you see veal steak on a menu – it should be there more often if this was anything to go by. It came with a grilled field mushroom and a few sprigs of watercress. And a bowl of excellent chips (cooked in dripping, of course). And, to show this place has no pretensions but a commitment to quality, when I asked for vinegar for the chips, it came in the Sarsons bottle! I’d also got a side order of cauliflower cheese which went well – the cheese sauce baked on the cauli a little but the cauli still retaining a little bite.

Good lunch all round.
John Hartley

#18 Harters

Harters
  • participating member
  • 1,089 posts
  • Location:North Cheshire, UK

Posted 25 January 2009 - 08:37 AM

Forgot to ask yesterday - has anyone been to Nigel Howarth's latest pub venture (Clog & Billycock at Pleasington)?
John Hartley

#19 Matthew Grant

Matthew Grant
  • participating member
  • 2,261 posts

Posted 16 March 2009 - 06:15 AM

http://www.thecowdray.co.uk/ Had a deliciuos sunday lunch here yesterday after visiting friends in the area. The Pub is minimalist in style, wooden floors and comfy banquette seating with smart leather covered chairs. The walls show photos of local vineyards, following through with their use of local ingreadients wherever possible.The menu lists all their main suppliers on the back which is a nice touch. We had home made carrot and cumin soup and a terrine of leek, parma ham, chicken and wild mushrooms to start and followed that with roast pheasant with truffled mash and creamed leeks and a huge sirloin steak with chips and bearnaise. For dessert we shared a 1/2 portion of local cheese choosing 2 of the 5 on offer, a great sussex blue and a "brie" with quince jelly and homemade chutney. With a bloody mary, glass of champagne, 2 glasses of the most expensive wine by the glass, 2 coffees and a bottle of water our bill came to under £70. The bill had a 10% discount added to it as they are celebrating their first year of business by doinga  discount throughout jan and feb and had little notices around the bar thanking everyone for their business which i thought was a nice touch, and one taht is obviously working as it was packed. You get the sense that the owners really care about what they are doing and everything is done with a very personal touch with Alex working the floor and Andy manning the stoves. This is what Great English Pubs are all about and i wish them continued success.
Where else would egulletters recommend for a great local pub in the truest tradition?

View Post


Had a quick main course here yesterday for Lunch. Slow cooked Pork Belly came with honey roast vegetables and creamed potato. The potato which was pretty awful, it had a strange and very pronounced flavour which I wondered was caused by some rancid butter or cream but the waiter told me it may have been the truffle oil. It certainly wasn't truffle oil, maybe they picked up the vinegar by mistake? :hmmm: The pork and veg were very satisfactory.

A Roast Chicken dinner was also very nice indeed, good potatoes and a very good chicken.

Recommended for a reasonably priced lunch!
"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

#20 Matthew Grant

Matthew Grant
  • participating member
  • 2,261 posts

Posted 16 March 2009 - 06:21 AM

I wish I could add the Trusted Servant in Minstead to the list of great dining pubs, unfortunately its lovely location was let down by poor food. A homemade steak, ale and mushroom pie wasn't actually a pie, It was steak and ale (I couldn't find any mushrooms) and a seperately baked undercooked puff pastry lid (not homemade and certainly not made with butter) which was balanced on top for serving. Good chinky chips though.

The same chunky chips were served with the Fish and chips. The bar staff weren't sure whether it was haddock or cod but it was "definitely one or the other". I'm still not sure what it was even after trying it. The batter was heavy and once again undercooked, the fish was more than likely frozen. :hmmm: :sad:
"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

#21 Harters

Harters
  • participating member
  • 1,089 posts
  • Location:North Cheshire, UK

Posted 16 March 2009 - 10:02 AM

Another Cheshire pub - this one doing pretty reasonable fish & chips:

Pheasant Inn at Higher Burwardsley (near Chester).

Not as good, IMO, as the two I mention upthread. Ham hock terrine was good, but fridge cold. Fish & chips much better. Mushy peas were just mush. Tarrate sauce was good.

Great views over the Cheshire plain towards Liverpool. It'd be a grand place to have lunch outside on a nice day.
John Hartley

#22 codheadred

codheadred
  • participating member
  • 71 posts
  • Location:Liverpool

Posted 24 March 2009 - 03:24 AM

Morning All

for my two pennorth worth

Manchester - The Angel - it not just the food, the beer is great.

Penrith - The Queens Head at Tyrril - micro brewery beers great and the inglenook fieplace is good for drying/thawing in.

Forton near Lancaster - The Bayhorse - has Thwaites and its great to sit out if the sun is shining, you can drive to that farm that sells ice cream afterwards just in case you have any room left..

Liverpool- I am tempted to say just and sit in the Philarmonic and make do with crisps but if you must eat go to the Monroe, however if you want to get see lifes rich pageant get to "Ye Olde Cracke".

#23 david goodfellow

david goodfellow
  • participating member
  • 1,352 posts
  • Location:midlands

Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:48 AM

Had a very tasty Lancashire hot pot with pickled red cabbage at The Dysart Arms in Bunbury,a very pretty Cheshire village close to Tarporley.
Mrs G chose Braised Lamb shoulder (on the bone) dauphinoise potato,minted gravy (excellent choice).

We eat here fairly frequently,as we do at two others in the group http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/
The Grosvenor Arms Aldford, just out of Chester,and in Chester proper The Old Harkers Arms.

The food is consistently good, certainly at the ones we have tried,
Combermere Arms,Pen-Y-Bryn, Pant-Yr-Ochrain and Hand and Trumpet.

They have a highly successful formula,of quality food,good service,excellent locations,and very comfortable interiors.

We are big fans!

#24 Mrs Woman

Mrs Woman
  • participating member
  • 330 posts

Posted 24 March 2009 - 06:05 AM

David, I used to be a big fan of B&P mini-chain but I have seen quality slip in the past couple of years. Only two weeks ago we visited the Alford place and had three very overcooked ducks and a bone dry piece of pork. A visit to the Pant Yr Ochain last year has similar results with tough, chewy, overcooked steaks. Not happy, not at the prices they charge. Harkers is ok, far too busy for anything other than bar food though. The chain sold out to a huge pub co last year so it looks like the rot may be setting in unfortunately.

Now if you want simply cooked but great tasting food at a pub near Chester, head to Stuarts Table at the Farmer's Arms in Huxley for one of the best Sunday dinners around! Stuart himself is a bit eccentric but the guy in the kitchen knows what he's doing.

#25 Gary Marshall

Gary Marshall
  • participating member
  • 2,334 posts

Posted 24 March 2009 - 06:33 AM

brunning and price is now owned by restaurant group plc
you don't win friends with salad

#26 codheadred

codheadred
  • participating member
  • 71 posts
  • Location:Liverpool

Posted 24 March 2009 - 06:49 AM

Talking of eccentric you've reminded me of another one- the THREE STAGS HEAD, DARLEY BRIDGE (copy and paste) in the peak district back through Stockport somewhere.

Had sunday lunch there last year a really good game pie, abbeydale brewery beers and a lurcher sat next to me. No ice no draught lager - not sure if there was any electricity but there was a petrified cat. Kids loved it.

Edited by codheadred, 24 March 2009 - 06:51 AM.


#27 david goodfellow

david goodfellow
  • participating member
  • 1,352 posts
  • Location:midlands

Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:33 AM

David, I used to be a big fan of B&P mini-chain but I have seen quality slip in the past couple of years. Only two weeks ago we visited the Alford place and had three very overcooked ducks and a bone dry piece of pork. A visit to the Pant Yr Ochain last year has similar results with tough, chewy, overcooked steaks. Not happy, not at the prices they charge. Harkers is ok, far too busy for anything other than bar food though. The chain sold out to a huge pub co last year so it looks like the rot may be setting in unfortunately.

Now if you want simply cooked but great tasting food at a pub near Chester, head to Stuarts Table at the Farmer's Arms in Huxley for one of the best Sunday dinners around! Stuart himself is a bit eccentric but the guy in the kitchen knows what he's doing.

View Post


Hi, Mrs Woman,
Thats a real shame.
The front of house at the Dysart are the same as always, obviously I don't know about the kitchen.
The last time we went to The Aldford it was really busy and I must admit I did'n't notice any drop in quality.
That said, if the quality drops noticeably,customers will no doubt vote with their feet.
I for one hope that the owners sort this lapse out.

Thanks for the heads up on Stuarts Table.We will give it a whirl.

Happy Dining!

#28 david goodfellow

david goodfellow
  • participating member
  • 1,352 posts
  • Location:midlands

Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:45 AM

David, I used to be a big fan of B&P mini-chain but I have seen quality slip in the past couple of years. Only two weeks ago we visited the Alford place and had three very overcooked ducks and a bone dry piece of pork. A visit to the Pant Yr Ochain last year has similar results with tough, chewy, overcooked steaks. Not happy, not at the prices they charge. Harkers is ok, far too busy for anything other than bar food though. The chain sold out to a huge pub co last year so it looks like the rot may be setting in unfortunately.

Now if you want simply cooked but great tasting food at a pub near Chester, head to Stuarts Table at the Farmer's Arms in Huxley for one of the best Sunday dinners around! Stuart himself is a bit eccentric but the guy in the kitchen knows what he's doing.

View Post

Mrs Woman,
The other Mrs Woman has just reminded me of our slight disappointment at our last meal at Pant-yr-Ochain
It was below par
Must be about ten months ago though,so thats not recent.

I may offer my services to them as a mystery shopper!!

#29 Harters

Harters
  • participating member
  • 1,089 posts
  • Location:North Cheshire, UK

Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:47 AM

Another one just off the M40 (junction 12).

Malt Shovel @ Gaydon. Proper village pub - folk in just having a pint. But also some good pub food. Nothing fancy.

Locally made Brixworth pate. Thick granary toast, chutney and some leaves.

Steak & kidney pie. Proper pie, mind you. Good shortcrust pastry, portion cut from a real pie. Nice flavour but I prefer my meat a bit chunkier. Boiled spuds and some veg.

Not the finest pub lunch you'll ever find, but not bad. And a damn sight better than M40 Warwick Services.
John Hartley

#30 Harters

Harters
  • participating member
  • 1,089 posts
  • Location:North Cheshire, UK

Posted 02 April 2009 - 02:52 PM

The Chequers, Weston on the Green, Bicester, Oxfordshire.

Another “find” from www.5minutesaway.co.uk. This time just off Junction 9, M40.

A nice country pub with thatched roof, wooden beams and rickety furniture. And a menu that, on first glance, didn’t look too promising. Just bog standard pub grub. But a “specials” board almost exclusively consisting of fish & shellfish dishes made me think this might be interesting.

Then I spotted the little poster which boasted of the quality of meat they used. They sourced it all from “Dave the butcher” in the next village. Dave always tried to source local meat and, in fact, all of the beef came from a single farm, two miles away. Dave then hung it for 28 days.

I was immediately tempted by the sight of this 28 day beef being carried past in the form of an enormous burger. It looked “the business” and I nearly ordered one but, in the end, went for the home made steak & kidney pudding.

Good suet pudding and the excellent flavour of the beef brought out by long cooking. It came with mash – not pomme puree. This was just potatoes, er, mashed. A separate bowl of carrot and cauli. This was just a great lunch, even if the extra gravy had a somewhat industrial quality to it. I just needed a long nap or a brisk walk to work it off.
John Hartley