Keyworth Tavern, January 2019

A winter wander today. We’ve not been to Keyworth for a good few years, but a walking event brought us here to explore with friends. First things first though, lunch. Eventually.

We found a table, had some menus delivered and ordered some drinks. I was pleasantly surprised to see an Adnams Sloe Storm on the bar so I opted for that.

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I’m not certain that it has been well looked after, as it was a bit meh. Important note – don’t believe all of the beers that have been checked in here on Untappd – you won’t find any Patrons Project, Het Uiltje or Evil Twin here, despite what someone is trying to convince you. Back to lunch…

One of our party was running a bit late due to sat nav issues, so we waited until they had arrived to order food. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. The first half of West Ham v Arsenal had been and gone. Eventually our lunches turned up, but how long should it take for a few sandwiches and jacket potatoes? Not as long as it did.

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It was lovely when it did arrive, a pulled pork melt on a Spanish baguette (lovely and crisp), and some token salad. Just a shame that it took so long, as that had a knock on effect on the rest of our day.

A nice village pub, in a village full of pubs. We’d definitely go back, just as long as we weren’t in a hurry.

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Thornton Nurseries, December 2018

What do you do when you go to the pub, only to find that it has shut down and is going to be turned into flats? We went to The Reservoir Inn in April, and had a lovely lunch. We had a pre-Christmas stroll around Thornton Reservoir this morning, with crisp winter skies presenting some good photo opportunities along the way.

As we knew the lovely pub was only a few minutes away, we decided to pop in for some lunch. Only to be greeted by a pub in darkness, and a planning application on the door. Another village pub that will no longer be a pub, just even more accommodation to attempt to satisfy a never ending demand.

So we needed emergency lunch. Just a few hundred yards back in the direction we came from sits Thornton Nurseries, a bit of a back to basics garden centre in a world of Dobbies and Wyevale who are hoovering up independent places faster than you can blink.

The cafe inside (just a small paved area with a counter and a few seats and tables) is very much along the lines of back to basics, with the simplest of menus from a bygone era. No superfood salads, smashed avocados or sriracha chicken wings here. Ham, cheese, tuna, bacon, sausage and not much else in a roll. Keep it simple is definitely the theme.

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Sausage bap, brown sauce. Can’t get much simpler than that, or much cheaper. Did the job for me today, along with a good old fashioned can of ginger beer. Mrs MOFAD was less impressed with her lunch, but as an emergency food stop it was ok by me.

The Royal Redgate, December 2018

The pub is in Warwickshire, the pub car park is in Leicestershire (according to the boundary signts outside at least). It describes itself as the most central pub in England, and was awarded the “Country pub of the year” award by the “Living in the Shires” magazine.

It was our destination for Sunday lunch today, as we had taken some plants over to Mrs MOFAD’s sister’s new house, after her recent stay with us. It was also a chance to say hello to our former feline house guest Holly, who is adjusting to her third house in as many months.

As the pub is only a mile and a half away, it was the ideal choice for lunch. They serve the full menu on a Sunday lunchime alongside a choice of roasts (beef or chicken today). Between us we chose pies and a chicken burger, from the rather mucky menus (they really need a clean folks).

Five beer engines available, although only two populated, with Hobgoblin, and a Ringwood beer. This tells you that this is a Marston’s pub, which tells you that the beer will be meh. Lime and soda it was then, although this turned out to be £3 a pint – ouch!

The food arrived, and it was very nice. All of the pies came on plates, with chips and veg. My chicken burger came on a silly bread board. Maybe they only had 3 plates, so didn’t have one for me. It was very tasty, as were the pies that everyone else had (although they all left their greens!) Proper good pub chips too.

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We decided to have pudding, and as ever, the chocolate torte was the right choice, which Mrs MOFAD and I shared. Rich and dense, with a nice blob of pistachio ice cream, a hazelnut tuille sort of thing, and some crushed nuts too. And some saucy cheffy squiggles.

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A pleasant Sunday lunch, but clean up those menus please, and check your lime and soda pricing 🙂

Perks coffee, Hyatt Regency, Denver, November 2018

A hotel coffee shop. Not the usual thing that you find featured here, but it’s where my lunch came from on my last day in Denver. A sandwich isn’t the most exciting of subjects, but this was a massive unit of a sandwich, stuffed with turkey and cheese and some token salad, with a pot of mustard garlic mayo for you to apply liberally across it.

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If you’re paying five quid for a sandwich, make sure you’re getting value for money. This was definitely value for money.

Renaissance Hotel, Denver, October 2018

Another quick post from Denver. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m here with the day job, which is in full flow today, with four different meetings in three different places downtown. Most of the day will be spent at the Renaissance, a Denver hotel that was built inside the former Colorado National Bank. During the renovation, they added two new floors to the building, whilst retaining most of its features, including the three-story atrium with classical marble colonnades and 16 large murals depicting the life of Native Americans on the plains. Three of the bank’s massive vaults were also retained, including the basement meeting room where we are spending some of the day. The thought of doing some kind of Ocean’s 11 re-enactment did cross our mind.

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The coffee was a bit ropey, but the buffet lunch (chicken legs, vol au vents, cheesecake) was not too bad, with some nice pizza (still warm from the oven), braised chicken breast and some salad and other bits.

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A nice hotel for a meeting, and it’s cool to explore all of the old bank vault bits and pieces. Oh, and they also had small TV screens inset into the mirrors in the toilets so you could watch ESPN Sports News (or whatever the equivalent of Sky Sports News is) whilst you wash your hands. Yes, they really did have those.

The Catherine Wheel, Henley-on-Thames, June 2018

Is this the worst Wetherspoon’s in the country? In my experience so far, yes. We arrived on a Saturday lunchtime, and it was reasonably busy, but not totally packed out, a bit of a surprise as the World Cup is on and they were showing it on their various long in the tooth TVs with BBC News idents burnt into the screens.

It’s a massive pub/hotel, big enough to have two separate bar areas. They serve mostly different beers too, save for the flavourless big lager company “lagers” which appear on both bars. That looked like a good sign.

It was not. At the right hand bar (as you enter), three pints were ordered. First one looked like chicken soup (and wasn’t a NEIPA), so it was rejected. The next one was full of nasty floating lumps. No thanks. The third one was at least clear, but very musty.

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My pint came from the left hand bar. JDW Devils Backbone Four Point Blanc, a session IPA hopped with Hallertau Blanc Hops brewed exclusively for JD Wetherspoon at Hook Norton Brewery. Again, it was not the greatest, this pub really need to go on a course to learn how to look after cask beer.

Food wise, well, it’s a Spoons, so it’s the same food that you get in every one. Ham and cheese panino with a smattering of chips. Fodder, nothing more.

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There are so many great looking pubs in Henley. We opted for the tried and tested Spoons, because they are usually reliable. Today that was not the case. Next time we will research in advance, and choose before we go, so we don’t make the same mistake.

Normally I would tag in a venue on Twitter when posting, but since they rather bizarrely shut down all of their social media accounts in April (definitely something dodgy behind it rather than their lame excuses), I can’t do that. So I think I’ll tag it with #avoidthisspoons, because that’s what you should do. According to TripAdvisor reports, the attached hotel is pretty awful too.

Reservoir Inn (formerly The Jolly Fisherman), Thornton, April 2018

Another springtime stroll. I’ve said this before enough times, but when we plan walks on Sundays, it’s very hard to find ones with pubs on that don’t just serve up full plates of roast dinner. If you run a pub, there’s a very easy way to rectify this. Do what the Reservoir Inn do. Offer baguettes with roast meat in, a small bowl of roast veg (lovely crisp parsnips and potatoes in this case), and if you’re really doing it properly, a little jug of gravy. Like this:-

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This was a fantastic lunch, the veg were lovely, the gravy was thick and meaty, the beef was nice and the horseradish was delightfully piquant. The baguette was slighty under baked (this phrase is always spoken in Paul Hollywood’s voice now) and probably didn’t need any butter, but apart from this, the perfect Sunday lunch time meal.

The Reservoir Inn is a cracking little village pub. It’s slightly confusing, as everywhere you look there seems to be some Steamin’ Billy Brewing Co branding (a local pub chain who don’t actually brew despite their name). Indeed, my beer choice today was Sky Diver by Steamin’ Billy (great lacing, a touch of malt, but not much more).

However, it’s not a Steamin’ Billy pub, just a great pub that we will come back to again. Walkers are welcome with muddy(ish) boots and/or wet dogs in the bar area on the left hand side. Recommended.