A great ale house; NOT a great restaurant.
This is a great place to go for a beer -- and possibly a burger. The list of beers on tap is impressive and the place has a nice feel to it. Lots of exposed brick and a nice fireplace. Would be great in the Winter. Service in the bar, with one waiter, was excellent and menus were available. (If we'd had more table space, we'd have stayed here rather than request a table for dinner). Service in the restaurant part of the establishment, however was just not that good. No shortage of sweetly tanned staff, but they were far from attentive. After being ignored for quite some time, we flagged down a waitress, who then grabbed another to discuss which would take our table ... and then both left us largely alone ... even when we had empty beer glasses in full view. (Frustrating as our table wasn't far from the bar or the waitress station)
As to the food, my impression is that the kitchen is trying too hard to be "interesting." The crab/brie tasted more of cream cheese than of brie (not bad, but not exciting), the calimari was good, but over-salted and the pesto/garlic sauce that came with it would have benefited from more pesto and more garlic. The FOTB ribs were very good, although the flavoring wasn't quite to my taste. But they were well-prepared and very tender. Not at all dry. They were served with onion rings ... nice thick slices of onions, battered and fried ... and spiced (presumably to make them "interesting"), but I experienced the seasoning as a distraction rather than an enhancement. A real pity. Normally, I LOVE onion rings. The Fish & Chips were way too salty, although the fish itself was plentiful and of good quality. The friend who had the Trio liked it very very much. The cheesy potato lasagne and crabcakes were both excellent (and completely free of shells) and the squash was very good (although the "smoked tomatoe coulis" was missing from the plate).
I'll go back for beer and pub food.
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