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BITE user profile - Harthill72

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Food and beverage retail consultant by trade (pubs, restaurants, QSRs, nightclubs, bars etc), pretty much the same as a person.

Username: Harthill72

Age: 47

Sex: male

Latest comments by Harthill72

The Marchmont Arms, Hemel Hempstead

Another Mitchells & Butler (Vintage Inns, Ember Inns etc) 'Project S' (they call it something else now but I forget what) conversion and a stunning building to put it in. You can't fault them for their attention to detail, the refits are generally of good build quality (if a little heavy handed with some of the original features) and they never do half a job, but when you've been to quite a few of them they do all start to look the same (albeit a fairly attractive 'same' if you like a bit of modern design in an old building and I do). If you want to see what I mean try The Royal Saracens in Beaconsfield, The Apple Tree in Gerrards Cross, The Wicked Lady in Wheathampstead et al, ad infinitum (no more Latin, I promise).
These are all branded outlets that want to appear un-branded but if un-branded is the look you want why not mix it up a bit more? It's a discussion for their board however, not a pub reviewer.
I digress.

The first Peronis we had came in the right glasses, the rest in a mixture of Amstel and Heineken. I understand the motivation to want to put the beer in a glass that looks most like the one it should have been in (in this case tall and slim) but in a site that must be turning over 20k+ a week, if you don't have enough - JUST. BUY. MORE.
(Itís an existing condition, I'm getting help)

The food was ok (just ok) but a worry was mains being mis-sold as 'rotisserie'. I had Peri-Peri chicken and it could very well have been spit-roasted and then jointed before it came out but the 'pork loin' was actually a thick pork chop. Either there's a medieval kitchen in the back with a serf turning whole pigs on a spit or, more likely, there was no pork loin and someone thought that because the loin runs through the eye of the chop that they could get away with it. Tenuous at best, more accurately deceitful, a grilled pork chop is not, nor ever will be 'spit loin pork'.
However, we were fed and they brought it out promptly.

The service was the high point, particularly the (I want to say Aussie but Iím not sure) chap behind the bar. He was pleasant, multi-tasking effectively and clearly understood what was important and what wasn't. If it hadn't been for the glassware error he would have got a 10.

All in, a decent place to catch up with a cold one and a great-looking garden for sunny days, you can take my word for that, however on the matter of M&B's branding you'll have to make up your own mind.
De gustibus non est disputandum.

27 Aug 2009 14:02

The Bricklayers Arms, Flaunden

Had a fair meal there last night and as against the average it was great however, expecting 'food pub of the year 2009' it was just ok.
Pints in the the wrong branded glasses (a pet hate) was a poor start (if you don't have the right one go unbranded surely?!) but all the staff were amiable and unassuming.
The foie gras starter was a plentiful ramakin-full but had discoloured in the fridge, not end-of-the-world but at £11.95 I was expecting better and the smoked fish was 3 decent pieces but being served only with a spoon of chutney and a cold round of herb butter I wasn't entirely sure was to do with it (eating forkfuls of fish is ok but I'm sure there was some sort of carbohydrate missing from the plate).
Mains were veal (a mouth-watering memory) and pork medallions (on the dry side unfortunately) finished with a very nice red at decent price.
Chatty barmen at the end glossed over a SECOND branded glass error (compounded by the fact that they did actually have the right glassware...) but overall a pleasant experience in what is a very nice part of the world.
Not 'food pub of the year' but there are much worse places to spend rare, balmy English summer evening.

20 Aug 2009 13:05

Plough, Hemel Hempstead

The new landlord has allowed families back in for dining in the restaurant at last (but still no kids in the bar) and there's a new fresh food/traditional pub menu.
Busy in the garden when we went and the food was good. I had cod & chips (made with fresh fish and you could tell) and the wife had a burger (it looked great but she wouldn't let me have any).
The Bombardier was an excellent pint and the missus was happy with her Pimms because it had a strawberry in it.
Keep it up and we'll be back...

2 Jul 2009 17:48

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Harthill72 has been registered on this site since 2nd July 2009