The King’s Arms, Hathern, November 2017

A second visit to The King’s Arms in the MOFAD era, although somewhere that we’ve been to a few times, usually for get togethers with walking friends. The same applied tonight, although we didn’t find out about tonight’s gathering until Saturday, as it had somehow slipped under our collective radar.

When you’ve got 30 odd people descending on a pub, you need a certain type of pub that can cope with such things. The posher chain pub wants everyone to be eating, the micropub doesn’t have quite enough room. So this is the level you settle for, a Marston’s chain pub, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. A range of different food options and several beers from the Marston’s empire, including Ringwood and Jennings and a few others that look like they are not from the empire, but they are. With a permanent 2-4-1 deal on food, you need to go with a friend if you don’t want to pay twice as much as everyone else.

Tonight’s beer choice was this month’s seasonal offering from Jennings, Pie in the Sky. It is alleged to be “a robust full bodied beer with pale ale malt and the finest roasted malts combined with whole cone English Fuggle hops to deliver a robust flavour”.

It was just so bland. Before they were owned by the evil empire, I liked Jennings. Hops? Malts? Where? I’m not looking for Cloudwater levels of hoppiness in every pint, but just a decent pint of cask ale would do. It was just so meh.

The food was standard chain pub fodder, I opted for the pulled pork burger, which matched the beer because it was also surprisingly bland. The pulled pork was naked, no sauce, no flavourings, just nude pork (that will get some odd hits for this blog post). It was all ok, but just that. And look at that cheese, it hasn’t even melted in the slightest.

Mrs MOFAD opted for the curry (she does like a pub curry), which was more interesting, although the naan bread was more like a tiny saddle cover for a bicycle seat. Her cider was more interesting, which is not something I thought I would ever say about Bulmer’s.

This does come across as a bit snobby, and it’s not meant to, but this was another of those nights when the company was more important than the food and drink. Again, there was nothing bad, it was just fairly non-descript.

Advertisements

Out of India (takeaway), Shepshed, November 2017

A new curry house for us, yet one that we have passed countless times. The M1 seems to have created some kind of psychological barrier, since we’ve never been here for a curry or ordered a takeaway. Yet as the crow flies, it’s pretty much the same distance as many of the curry houses in town that we normally use.

Tonight we’d been out at a fireworks display, and due to some closed venue exits we decided to change our takeaway plans and nipped across the M1 to Out of India. There’s a big car park out the back, and plenty of room inside, as they are licensed for up to 70 people.

Just takeway tonight because as ever my beer selection is far better than their beer selection. Yes, that’s a humblebrag, but it is true. Do they have Geordie Pagoda II by Brinkburn Street brewery in Byker? No. Or Above the Clouds by Electric Bear from Bath? No. I had both of those beers tonight. Maybe they’ve got some beers from a local brewery? No, none of those either.

Anyway, enough moaning about beers in curry houses, that’s what takeaway is for. We ordeded our food and we were soon back home tucking in to tasty curry, with regular dining companions Karon & John.

My choice tonight was chicken shatkara (also spelt shatkora), a chicken curry with small pieces of a citrus fruit known sometimes as a wild orange. I love the sourness of this fruit with the richness of the curry sauce, and it was accompanied by a lovely naan bread.

Based on tonight alone, Out of India has become our new go to curry house for takeaways. We’ve even thrown out all of our other takeaway menus!

Dog and Duck, Shardlow, July 2017

Another pub trip where the company was more important than the food and drink. Just as well really, as this was another classic poor chain pub effort. A Marstons pub, the usual below average selection of beers from the empire, a few bottles, and some rubbish “ciders” like Strongbow and Old Mout. So, another night on the lime and soda. No biggie, I have great beers at home for another night.

Maybe the food could make up for this disappointment. Although “two for one, all day every day” doesn’t always insipre confidence. Mrs MOFAD opted for curry again, she does enjoy a pub curry. Chicken tikka masala is an easy pub option, and pubs always chuck in the full works, rice, naan, popadom and alleged mango chutney (it’s never any good).

My choice was the BBQ chicken burger, which sounded nice.  Crispy buttermilk chicken goujons topped with Monterey Jack cheese and BBQ sauce, served with chips and coleslaw.

The best word you could find to describe this would be fodder. That’s all that it was. Very average damp pub chips (lots of seasoning required), a pointless little dish of alleged coleslaw (way too much onion), and an awful bread roll that had probably been hanging around all day, and. It disintegrated a little bit more every time you picked it up. Processed cheese added insult to injury, and a pitiful amount of alleged BBQ sauce didn’t help. No additional sauces available to help out either.

Chain pub eating at its lowest ebb. Meh food, no decent drinks. Luckily there were plenty of laughs to be had with friends.

Cafe Le Raj, Chipping Norton, July 2017

Much like yesterday, this is another placeholder, because we’ve been here before and need documented evidence of our visit! We were slightly (a lot) more sober than when we had a curry from here last year, after the bit of a let down which was the Hook Norton beer festival. So this year we organised our own. There are two other posts about that.

Tonight, we ordered our curry before we started drinking, phoning our order in and then popping out to collect it. They do offer free delivery within a 3 mile radius (we were within 1.5 miles) but it was going to take an extra 40 minutes, so we decided to collect.

Everyone enjoyed their curries. My dhansak was nicely spicy and sour, and even Hazel’s korma had a little warmth to it. Mrs MOFAD enjoyed her chicken tikka rogan josh and we shared rice and a naan (I would have liked a little more of both).

So, future selves, this is the curry house to come to when camping in Chipping Norton.

Sara’s Indian, Coniston, June 2017

As you will know if you’ve ever read any post tagged #curry, Friday night is curry night. When we’re on holiday, that usually means finding the nearest Indian restaurant. Whenever we’ve stayed in Coniston previously, that has proved to be a problem, because there wasn’t one. The first time we stayed, it would probably have meant an hour’s round trip to Tagore in Ambleside (since closed). In fact, if we’d been stuck behind some of the tourists that have plagued our journeys this week, it could have been closer to two hours!

Thankfully, things have changed with the opening of Sara’s Indian in 2015. An Indian restaurant and takeway, which doesn’t have an alcohol licence so you can take your own alcohol (there’s a brewery literally across the road if you’re stuck for ideas). Menus are available outside all day long, so you can pick one up and take it back to your holiday cottage for later use. We did that last weekend, and tonight we were perusing and ordering our dinner.

A really interesting selection of dishes to choose from, a lot more variety than just some tikka masalas, bhunas and kormas. Plenty of things that I’ve never seen before (and we’ve been to our fair share of curry houses).

For me it was chicken podina piaza with mint, ginger, onions and mango chutney all mixed in. This was delicious, nice warmth and good flavours coming through from the mint. I like mint in a curry.

Mrs MOFAD had her usual chicken tikka rogan josh, and we both had a very tasty coriander naan.

If you are looking for somewhere that serves food in Coniston after 9 (since most of the pubs stop then), or you are just looking for a good curry, this will do nicely. At last a curry house in Coniston!

Walkers’ Bar, The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, June 2017

For the rest of this post, The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel will be referred to as the ODG.

An unexpected pub visit! Today’s walk started out here at the ODG (in a very full National Trust car park) and involved a trip up The Band, to White Stones, along Earing Crag up to Bow Fell, down to Ore Gap, down again to Angle Tarn, back up a bit to Rossett Pike, then down Rossett Gill and Mickleden Beck and back to the ODG. That took us about 9 hours in total, so we arrived back at the ODG at about 8pm. We needed food.

Thankfully, the ODG isn’t one of those places that doesn’t do food on Sundays, or stops serving at 7pm or something ridiculous. They know their market. Their market is people who parked up in the car park 9 hours ago, walked 12 miles, ascended England’s 6th highest mountain (and some others) and now want something to eat. Food is served from 12-9pm every day.

On the most glorious day of the year so far, the beer garden was busy with walkers, and there were more in the bar too. There was a reasonable queue at the bar, food and drink orders were flying in thick and fast. The menu is full of simple home made dishes, like curry, a proper home made burger, and various things of the day, such as a chicken burger, fish of the day (salmon today), a vegetable lasagne, steak of the day (ribeye) and a pie of the day (steak and onion).

I needed some good protein, so it was the home made burger to me. A proper burger, more of a cricket ball in a bun, and way better than some grease-laden patty you find in your local grim burger van. Proper skin-on chips and a touch of coleslaw on the side.

For Mrs MOFAD, it was curry. She does love a curry. This was a proper home made pub curry too, plenty of chicken, rice and a popadom. And an odd bit of salad on the side.

There was also a pint of Bar Steward by Handsome brewery, which was a classic session pale ale, cool and refreshing after a long hot day. We also had some pints of lime and soda to rehydrate.

This was the perfect end to our walk. Inside, the ODG bar looks like it hasn’t changed in 50 years. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

Recommended.