Last week, I was invited out on an impromptu afternoon out. This of course would involve food. It was decided that we would be heading in the direction of Denmead, and after some deliberation, we chose to visit The Chair makers. I have of course been there several times before, but it had been a while, so I was interested to see how things had moved on since my last trip.
This pub has a good sized car park, so that's one thing you don't have to worry about. As you would expect of a country pub, there is also a good sized garden. Whenever I enter this pub, my first thought is always, "What a nice pub". It's clean, light, and well maintained.
The three of us were greeted warmly by the landlady, and after collecting drinks, we made our way to a table. Martin had joined me for a review mission before, but Chris hadn't, and was keen to throw himself in to the world of foodie opinion. We collectively trawled through the menu, noticing very quickly that the average price of a main was between £11 and £12, which is bang on the magic button. As well as the standard range of pub food, there is now the option of ordering from a range of pizza's. These come in just under £10, with slight adjustments depending on the toppings.
Martin decided to go for the beef lasagne, I chose fish and chips, and Chris picked the steak and kidney suet pudding. This was of petty interest to me, as the menu stated that said pudding, and pies, all came on mash. It was the one bit that intrigued me. I was inexplicably curious to see if the pies and or pudding would indeed be sitting on the mash. During our time in The Chair makers, we got to see the landlady work. We all came away impressed. She was friendly, professional and helpful. That's always a big tick from me. I've lost count of the pubs I've visited where you are lucky to be treated with a smile.
When the food arrived, everything looked good. I was however slightly disappointed, and this is the foodie snob in me, that the chips were the standard frozen pub chip. They weren't bad by any means, I just maintain that a good quality chip can vastly improve the overall experience. Chris was very happy with his pudding. His mash was smooth and seasoned well. He even commented on the high standard of gravy. High praise from someone known to be a member of the anti-gravy brigade. Martin was happy enough with his lasagne, without being blown away. My fish was cooked well, but there was a most unexpected surprise. The fish hiding within its crispy batter jacket, was smoked. This wasn't really a problem as I do like smoked fish. In fact, not so long ago I had visited another pub that served the same thing. The only difference was, that was advertised as such. I do wonder if it was an accident, as there was also a smoked haddock dish on the menu.
To summarise... This is a lovely pub, and I would happily spend an evening or an afternoon here. It has a lovely feel about it. The landlady is brilliant, and the service is very good. If I had to be critical, and I suppose that's why I do this, I would say that the menu could be a bit more imaginative, and a chip upgrade would be great. I was particularly tickled by a sign pointed out by Martin. It said, "Any children left unattended will be given an espresso and a puppy". You can't beat a good pub sign.