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BITE user profile - xaventaner

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Biotechnologist and student of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis.
Particularly critical of the effect that changes in the pub world are having on social exclusion and class divides.

Username: xaventaner

Age: 36

Sex: male

Latest comments by xaventaner

Well and Bucket, Shoreditch

A mixed bag really. I’ve visited the Well and Bucket half a dozen times or so over the last two years and the experience is generally the same, conforming to many of the positive and negative reviews of other users. The music is often way too loud even in the late afternoon / early evening period and the staff can sometimes behave in a borderline contemptuous way towards customers. If you happen not to come from the trendier demographics of East London that attitude is especially acute. The staff downstairs are a lot more attentive, but then again given the “showmanship” aspect of cocktail making that’s not surprising. Upstairs however the level of service declines sharply as the place fills up and it’s not for being rushed of their feet.

The beer is good but then this is the neighbourhood for good beer. They have a good list of London brewers and a spread of interesting and lesser heard beers from across Central and Northern Europe. I’m not a fan of sliders. It seems like a quick and easy way to charge people £12 for three very small rolls containing three very small, perhaps vaguely interesting fillings. Blackened Catfish is certainly not as interesting as it might sound on paper. The other seafood on the menu does look enticing however I’ve yet to try.

In a way this place is somewhat undone by its location in one of the more vapidly hip parts of town. Put it a little more to the East or West, somewhere off the main streets and I think they could perhaps have something really great. As it is however it imbibes too much of the locale and too little of the quality and degree of service that would justify their prices.

4 Aug 2016 15:55

The White Swan, Richmond

The two best pubs along the river in Richmond are The White Cross and this one. It’s slightly tucked back from the riverside compared to the Cross, the benefit of this being that you don’t have to purchase a tide clock in order to guarantee entry and exit! Also, not being in eyeshot of the Thames path means that the tourists are fewer in numbers. The pub consists of two main rooms, the front one being the original and the back room an extension. There is also an upstairs dining area which I’ve not seen in use and maybe for hire only. It has a lovely homely atmosphere in the winter affected in no small part by the fire (high end imitation, not real coal or log unfortunately) and the lack of music. It’s a lot smaller than the Cross and can get crowded in the evenings.

Beers include Tim Taylors Landlord but not a great selection in all honesty. There are always a couple of real ales although nothing adventurous, the usual selection of high-street ciders, and not a great deal else. I’ve only eaten there once but had a very well prepared poached Atlantic salmon with sweet potato and goats cheese mash. The staff are generally very polite and helpful although I will say they tend to be a bit over zealous at putting the reserve signs on the tables in the main room; they seem to be moving more and more towards treating the whole place as a restaurant in the evenings which leaves little room for the drinkers. It’s a shame but I imagine being tucked away as it is it needs to attract a good number of patrons for more than just a couple of pints.

In summer I’d always stick to the White Cross, but as the afternoons darken in the winter I think this place really comes into its own and is well worth a visit particularly late afternoon.

20 Dec 2012 11:31

The Bulls Head, Chiswick

Nooooooooo! Its been ruined. The rustic dcor and olde world artefacts that adorned the walls are all gone. The original tiling on the floor has been removed and replaced by some synthetic material. Crass spot lighting is now used everywhere giving it the illumination of a STD clinic. Not a cosy corner or candlelit nook has been left unspoiled. Even the prints from old copies of Vanity Fair have gone from the toilets. All charm and individuality has been ripped out and replaced by dull formulaic dullness. This used to be a place I would bring people from outside the area as an example of a quality well run pub with a special unreformed atmosphere. Not anymore. Whoever signed off on this should be sent to Hague for crimes against humanity.

8 Apr 2011 09:29

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xaventaner has been registered on this site since 14th November 2009