The Apple Pie, Ambleside, June 2017

An Ambleside institution.

We have been visiting the Apple Pie on and off ever since we’ve been visiting Ambleside. If there’s ever a day when we’re not out on the fells (usually due to inclement weather), you’ll find us having lunch at The Apple Pie. Named after their famous apple pie, they also do sandwiches, pies, quiches, salads and other items, as well as various hot drinks and soft drinks, and a few local beers.

There are many great places to eat in Ambleside, but this is usually the only place where you see people queuing out of the door on a weekday lunchtime. That was the case today, with a 5-10 minute wait for tables, but everyone in the queue happy to wait for their table. Once seated, service was quick and food arrived swiftly.

Inside the pie things have changed around a lot over the years. The front entrance and counter are still pretty much unchanged (you can still get your takeaway and bakery items from the main counter). There are no tables in the front area any more, and no more seating upstairs. Things have changed out the back too, with tables moving around and new seating areas created, as well as kitchen areas where toilets used to be and various other changes. They are not ones for standing still. You can also stay at the Pie if you want to.

Like the premises, the filled roll (sandwich) line up has changed over the years. The Thai chicken used to be one of our favouries, today that is replaced by the “spicy chicken” which has mayo, mango chutney, cream and various spices to make a nice sandwich filling, along with a good filling of salad (including beetroot which so many places shy away from).

As we’ve walked plenty of miles this week, we treated ourselves to the famous apple pie (although the mixed spice and sultana version had sold out) with ice cream.

Delicious, and a lovely Friday lunchtime treat. The ice cream to remind us it is summer (we’ve had some scorching days this week) and the warm pie to combat the cool drizzle of today.

The Apple Pie is a must visit if you are in Ambleside.

The Lazy Trout, Meerbrook, April 2017 #2

The second of our three visits. We had booked in for each night, as this was the best pub that was close to our camp site. We had wondered if this was a bit of a gamble, but the food and drink were great last night so it was looking very much like a winning bet.

Tonight I started out with a Wojtek from Beartown Brewery, a beer named after a bear who was officially drafted into the Polish army during World War 2. A very interesting story (Google it) and a very easy drinking golden ale.

My turn for pie tonight. It was a cracking pie again, simply served with chips and veg. Delicious.

Mrs MOFAD also had another tasty dinner, topped off with a nice crisp piece of bacon.

I accompanied my dinner with this Corke’s IPA, which was a decent ale but absolutely not an IPA.

After a good day of walking, we treated ourself to this rather tasty meringue nest. A bit early in the season for English strawberries, but this was a sweet and tasty pudding.

Another lovely visit to The Lazy Trout – very happy that we’re coming back again tomorrow night!

Church Inn, Chelmorton, April 2017

We’ve enjoyed a lovely lazy Saturday with Kerrie, Andy, Hazel, Matt, Janette and Steve. We’ve already taken in Beer District and the Buxton Brewery Tap, as well as chilling out in the sunshine and a stroll along the Monsal Trail. We had no particular evening plans, but as we strolled back along the Monsal Trail a plan to go to the pub formed, and we phoned the Church Inn to book a table. They were reluctant to reserve a table for 8 at first, but we managed to convince them that it was a perfectly rational thing to do.

We drove over and settled in by the roaring fire (it’s April so it’s still cold!) We perused menus and the bar and ordered up some food and drink.

A Thornbridge Wild Swan for me, which I last had at the 2014 Thornbridge beer festival (the one before it got too big for its location). A good summer time light ale with enough flavour to keep you interested.

Mrs MOFAD had a Westons’ Rosie’s Pig, a nice light cider.

My dinner was something that I never usually have when out and about, fish pie. I love fish pie and make it at home a lot, but rarely have it in pubs or restaurants because they can get it so wrong.

This one was a good fish pie, good sauce, nice chunks of fish and a good cheese and crumble topping with some standard veg. A hearty pub meal in a lovely village pub.

Centro Lounge, December 2016

Another night out at the cinema for us, it’s becoming a lovely regular thing. Another “based on a true story” film tonight, Sully, the story of the pilot who landed his Airbus A320 on the Hudson River in January 2009, saving all 155 passengers and crew after both engines were disabled by  bird strike.

We were with regular MOFAD companions (and now cinema companions) Karon & John, and opted for an early evening showing so that we could have something to eat straight after. We decided to come back to the Centro Lounge after a pleasant visit last month. It was much busier tonight, with at least a couple of Xmas parties in (spotted quite a few people who I know).

A table became free just after we arrived so we grabbed it, studied the menus and then toddled off to the bar to order.

Another pint of the Loungers Cruiser for me, refreshing with some hints of hoppiness and bitterness. John had the Bath Ales Dark Side which is always reliable.

Food next, and a festive special, turkey and bacon pie, which was crammed full of turkey with a few bits of bacon. Served with champ mash (not enough spring onions to call it champ) and seasonal vegetables. Sadly, at this time of the year, the prhase “seasonal vegetables” means running the gauntlet of the evil sprout. The devil’s vegetable. Sprouts arrived. Sprouts were duly segregated away from the real food.

A very tasty pie, decent mash, good carrots and gravy. But boo to sprouts.

Mrs MOFAD opted for a fishy Friday, sea bass with prawn and prosecco risotto. I was very tempted, but I had sea bass with tomato and pineapple salsa on Wednesday night, and I’m not all about that bass, about that bass, about that bass. It was very good, and certainly deserving of a place on the specials board. There’s not enough good fish in pubs.

Karon had bang bang chicken noodles, sweet chilli noodles with panko-crumbed chicken breast, pak choi, tenderstem broccoli, sugar snap peas and cashew nuts in a sesame, peanut & coconut sauce (with a few slices of fresh red chilli for the brave). John had beef chilli, chunky beef served with basmati rice, sour cream and mature cheddar. Very mild, but pleasant.

We finished our drinks and headed off to The Needle & Pin for another ale or two… Another pleasant night at Centro Lounge, it will probably be our regular post-film dining option…

Church House pub, Sutton, September 2016 visit #2

As promised just a few weeks ago, we are back. The forecast for this weekend looks reasonable, with rain only likely to visit during the nights. As mentioned last time, Suzy the Ninja Hound is with us this weekend (now that Mark has returned from dancing on the sand in Rio), so we have to limit our pub options to dog friendly pubs…

If that dancing on the sand reference is too 80s for you…

So, how do you communicate a specials board to a room of 7 people and a dog? Take a photo and pass your phone round. Here’s what was on tonight…

Beer first, and a pint of Concept #14 from Mobberley Brewhouse, a fruity red ale, heavy on the malt and very tasty.

Much to catch up on, particularly Mark’s Rio adventures and brushes with royalty whilst working for the BBC at the Olympics and Paralympics. Whilst all that catching up was happening, food arrived. For me it was fish pie, something I make loads at home, but rarely have when out and about (for just that reason). This one was a good effort, served simply with peas and a few straggly bits of rocket.

This fish pie also contained boiled egg, which is a very classic addition, although it seems I was the only one who was aware of this. You can catch a glimpse of this, as well as other dinners in the next photo. There’s also a pint of Bosley Cloud in the foreground, a good pale ale that went well with the fish pie.

There was still more catching up to do, so time for another pint, this time Robinsons Unicorn, an ever reliable dark golden ale

As we had the Ninja Hound in tow, we were squeezed into a little side room, but she was as well behaved as ever, and made a good impression on everyone, particularly the friendly staff. We finished up our drinks and then booked our table for tomorrow night. We will be back once more. A lovely and friendly village pub.

Talbot Arms, Settle, April 2016

A return visit to a favourite pub, the pub of the month from August 2015, when plans formed for a fairly swift return visit to Settle. Eight months have passed and we are true to our word. So it was only right and proper that we return on our first night.

A packed house tonight, as you would probably expect for a sunny Saturday night in springtime. Almost standing room only, but we squeezed in to a tiny table by the pool table, directed by the ever-friendly landlord. We perused the menu, and just a few minutes later another table was vacated, and that lovely landlord diverted us across to it.

Off to the bar to order, a lamb burger with tzatziki for me and a pork, cranberry and tarragon pie for Mrs MOFAD, both from the specials board. Some refreshment too, a pint of Moorhouse’s White Mist, an interesting wheat beer with biscuit, orange and coriander notes. Light and easy drinking. The on tap cider option was one that Mrs MOFAD had not enjoyed when she last had it (thanks Untappd!), so it was Bulmers Pear instead.

A quick reminisce about our previous visit, and then, as if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared. Ok, he didn’t. But another friendly member of staff did, bringing our dinner over. We swiftly tucked in, and it was just as lovely as our last visit. A tasty pie, and a very nice lamb burger indeed.

Another pint to wash it down with, Rooster’s Ragged Point, an American style stout, with complex hop and floral notes to complement the usual roasty toastiness you expect in a stout.

Another lovely meal at the Talbot, still the best pub in Settle with the best landlord and great beers available. We’re coming back on Wednesday when “My Pointless Friend Richard” will be riding again for the pub quiz…

Friend at Hand, Herbrand Street, Bloomsbury

A busy Friday night in Central London. As already noted, we hadn’t really accounted for all those post-work drinkers when we were wandering around earlier on. We had popped our heads in here about an hour previously, and it was absolutely packed. Upon our return, we managed to find ourselves a table, the last one available.

I’ve been to this pub before. It was before MOFAD records began, before Untappd records began and I can’t find a check in on Facebook. So I don’t know when it was exactly. Let’s say 2012. Anyway, I remembered that it was ok, so we settled ourselves in for dinner at this cosy little pub, just a very short stroll from Russell Square tube station.

Lots of food to choose from on the menu, various sharing platters that are popular in so many pubs nowadays, a selection of burgers (no pulled pork option though!), fish’n’chips, a vegetarian version (halloumi replacing the fish) as well as pub classics like steak, hunters chicken, sausage & mash, and several pies.

It was the “Big Ben burger” for me, a 6oz beef burger, topped with crispy bacon, Cheddar cheese, a fried free range egg and crispy onion rings, served with a burger sauce (BBQ sauce). Looking at this, it appears my onion rings were missing! I was too hungry to notice this on the night, obviously! It was a very tasty (and messy, which is a good sign) burger.

Mrs MOFAD had wanted hunters chicken, but it had been hunted to extinction tonight, so opted for second choice, chicken & chorizo pie, with chips, fresh seasonal vegetables and a jug of gravy.

Mrs MOFAD accompanied this with some Aspall cider (served in the lovely Aspall half pint “wine glass”). Mine was washed down with some Portobello VPA, which stands for very pale ale. It was not a very pale ale, but was sweet and pleasant enough. Quite pricey though and not value for money.

The final members of our party had arrived at this point, so as Chris & Caroline were tucking into dinner, we ordered some more drinks. This time the Taylor Walker 1730 Special Pale Ale. What a big name to live up to. And what an utter disappointment. My Untappd review simply says “meh”. It was just so “nothing”. A shame really, but I’d rather explore new beers than stick with the usual.

The Friend at Hand is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the area. They could do with sorting out the toilets though, they are a bit scabby.