The Priory, Loughborough

It’s been a long time coming.

The Priory has been “in flux” for the last few years. Changing tenants more often than some people change their shirts, it was hard to keep up with who was in charge, and what would be available. There was some good food from time to time, but it was often deserted. The owners (Star Pubs and Bars) didn’t seem to know what they were going to do with the place. Eventually they managed to find someone who would know what to do with it, in the form of the new lessees, local pub company Distinctive Inns, who have 2 other pubs in Nottinghamshire.

Between them, they have apparently  spent £650,000 on refurbishing the place,  transforming the function room, bar and dining areas, and installing a new kitchen. They have also worked on the exterior, installing new signage and putting additional seating outside.

The first sign that this was working was the car park. On some previous visits, you could pick any space, or park across about 6 because there was no-one else there. Now there are cars here, and they belong to customers, as opposed to builders working on adjacent properties.

And then there were customers inside, and plenty of evidence of that investment. The bar has been reshaped, removing the old one that stuck out into the room, and everything has been refreshed.

There’s an extensive new menu, loads to choose from, including tapas, burgers, sandwiches, fish’n’chips, pies and salads as well as puddings. There’s also a breakfast menu, and a Sunday roast menu.

As today was the first visit (I’m suspecting of many), I opted for one of my yardsticks when trying out a new venue – a burger.

And very tasty it was too, with good chips and a small pot of slaw, although they have fallen into that modern trap of not using plates, serving food on boards and in tin cups. It’s not the worst offender in this regard, but we want plates! It’s hard to get a good covering of salt and vinegar on chips when they are served in a narrow copper cup.

The other thing missing is a local ale. We have several very local breweries, but none are represented here, with an unchanging selection of Abbot, Old Speckled Hen and Deuchars. There are some interesting craft ales in the fridge from further afield, so that’s the place to look if you want something different.

It’s good to have the Priory back, and it is MOFAD approved.