Tag Archives: food

The Church

Hockley:


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I’m not often in church, but…

Just down the road from The Lord Clifden, another pleasant surprise. If you read the website:

Come and kneel at the high altar of culinary decadence. Nestled in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, sits a pub with a twist

You might start to think, that along with the location (Hockley is a bit too hipster, really) that you’re in for full-on wankery. but it’s actually very pleasant. Odd decoration- a mix of modern, 50′s Americana, and traditional, but here it works. Everards beer, in good condition, and, so I’m informed, decent wine too. Food looks interesting too, and the staff were pleasant. I’d argue about “heart of the jewellery quarter”, if I’m being picky, as that’s Vyse St for me, but it’s a nice pub.

The Fradley Arms

Near Fradley, Lichfield


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Just a few hours after whinging about them, I find myself in a chain-pub “restaurant”. In my defence, it was on the way home; an awkwardly-timed appointment in Burton-upon-Trent saw us heading south back home without having eaten, so we called in. I was last here over 10 years ago, and I think I recall a traditional pub. The old building still looks attractive, but it shares its site with a Premier Inn, has become a behemoth collection of buildings, and is part of the Fayre & Square chain, itself a brand of the Spirit Pub Company. See what they did there? It sells Fayre, at a fair and square price, and *giggle* some of the food is square (the burgers). How very whimsical, I do believe my sides have split.

It was OK, as a better alternative than McDonalds or the chippy, and it was pretty cheap (£17 for 2 meals, a soft drink, and a large wine). There was cask ale, and a good choice of other stuff. There’s a wacky warehouse for kids to run about in, though that didn’t stop some parents letting theirs run about the place (fortunately, as it’s a big place, we went to the other end and escaped them). The food was serviceable, rather than exceptional, and the menu standard family feedbag stuff (PDF, 11MB). Staff were nice enough, but a bit corporate training manual:

“Pint of lime & soda please”

“Is that a large or a small?”

[facepalm]

Overall, you could do worse, but you’re not going to get atmosphere or haute cuisine.

The Lord Clifden

Hockley, Birmingham:


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I was ready to hate this, but thought one of my companions might like it, as she has a less grotty taste in pubs than I do. Hockley can be a bit of a game these days, what with The Rose Villa Tavern, and the increasing ‘cool’ of the area, so with that and the company that owns this (and its sister pub, The Red Lion, making a chain of 2) calling itself Urban Art Bar Group [shudder], I was ready for it to be replete with bell end hipsters (is there any other sort?).

Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. Inside, it looks like a pub. An actual pub. OK, there’s art on the walls, but it actually looks OK. The staff were friendly, efficient, and normal. The food was good, the ale was excellent (as per the reputation), and the music wasn’t some dreadful shite no-one would ever listen to for pleasure, and not so loud we couldn’t talk. The prices weren’t too bad either. There’s a big outside smoking shelter for those of you that might want it- with a TV (so we can get the two objectionable things in one place! (edit: there’s a TV in the bar too, but not the lounge)).

Best of all, the customers were normal too.

The Craster Arms

Beadnell, Northumberland:


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Just up the coast from Seahouses. I think the weather helped- warm and sunny. This is an inn, again, and a good amount of the inside is dining space, but it feels very pub-like, tidy and fresh but not devoid of character, and sat outside in the lovely beer garden, it felt almost like the perfect country pub. Landlord and staff were friendly, the food and beer was great, and generally this made for a lovely afternoon.

The Wynding Inn (Lord Crewe Hotel)

Bamburgh, Northumberland:


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This is a hotel, but the bar and (pleasant) beer garden feel pub-like, and the bar markets itself in that way, so it’s in.

We stopped here for lunch after a walk up from Seahouses. Pleasant staff, decent beer, good food, and not too expensive, though our entire Northumberland trip was a bit pricey beer-wise. It’s very modern gastropub inside, clean, bright and stripped wood, but not unpleasant- and the nice man filled our water bottle for the journey back.