Pubs, Pubs, Pubs

18th May 2015 0 Comments


For many, the humble Public House is one of the last bastions of British history, a place of nostalgia, familiar smells and sounds, comfort, warmth and friendship.

There is an irreparable satisfaction of sitting down with perfect company after a long day, pint in hand and exhaling deeply as the worries and weariness of the day dissipates leaving simple but sublime contentment.

Over the past 25 years, the humble pub has come (in my uneducated opinion) full circle. The 1990’s bought us a flurry of gastropubs, replacing the innocent pies and pasties of old with the excitement of Italian, French and Mediterranean influences, bringing such delights as snails, scallops, beurre blanc and samphire.

THe Havelock Tavern

The Havelock Tavern – Brook Green 

One of our very own, The Havelock was quick to set the scene along with The Eagle, Hope and Anchor and The Well. In my opinion this diversification lead to what some may call a gastronomic melt down in the pub industry. Suddenly pies weren’t proper, stews weren’t sellable and ploughman’s weren’t profitable. Don’t get me wrong, the operators above have all stuck by their original brief admirably and still deliver some of the best eating experiences in the Capital. However, where others have followed the results have, at times been less successful.

The Victoria Inn (20)

Chorizo scotch egg at the Victoria Inn 

This leads me neatly to Scotched egg’s. These once innocent handfuls of pork, egg and crumb have moved from being a cold disappointment to an exhibition of cheffing excellence. Chorizo, black pudding, venison, duck, rabbit and lobster have all formed the comforting surround for the humble egg. But why? A recession, a New Labour government, boredom, chance?

Whatever the reason, in the last 10 years, pubs have had to evolve and diversify to include flock wall paper, industrial chairs, lamps suited to factories and scaffolding. Food and drinks are now served religiously in baked bean tins, on boards, in flower pots or my personal bête noire, drinks in jam jars.

Where does this all end? I can honestly say that 3 weeks ago I saw bread served in a slipper and vegetables served on gardening trowel. This is one slipper(y) step too far

There is one salvation, however, in the last 2 years, the pub industry as a whole seems to be reverting back to the old ways. These tried and tested methods, which have stood the battering of 1000 years in this Country have not only survived but prospered.

What I mean by ‘these methods’ is ale and food crafted by people that care, served properly, with a smile and welcome and not too much fuss. The pubs that don’t try and be too hip, but instead embrace their quirky history and focus on product and service will enjoy success for the right reasons: Great beer, wine and food served in surroundings that make people feel comfortable, content and genuinely

Robin Belither – Operations Manager

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