Saturday, 30 January 2016

THE BIRD IN HAND - 269 Lovedean lane, Lovedean

Before we begin, I must confess this is one of my favourite pubs. We've both been here plenty of times, but never in a reviewing capacity. Knowing that the food is of a high standard, we just hoped that today wouldn't be the exception.

On a cold blustery day, you need a warm and welcoming pub, and thankfully that's what we found. When we ordered drinks, the barman was very friendly and chatty, and upon choosing a table, we were told that menus would be brought to us, which was a nice change. One of the reasons we like this pub, is that it serves two purposes very well. On the one hand there is a restaurant section for more formal eating, but if you just want a drink, the bar feels like a proper pub, complete with open fire. You have several options when ordering food, including the main menu and a lighter version. Dad plucked his choice from the lighter menu, his attention grabbed by the pork belly. I ordered roast chicken with gnocchi. Another perk of eating at The Bird in Hand, is that you are given a bread board after ordering. The homemade bread is kept company by a flavoured butter, in this case, olive.

This was one of the busier pubs that we had visited in recent months, which certainly helps the atmosphere, but wasn't detrimental to service. It didn't take long for the food to come out and when it did you could tell it was going to be good. The food at The Bird in Hand is in a different league to many of its fellow pubs. Dad was very impressed with his pork belly and considering it was from the lighter menu, the size of the portion was more like that of a standard meal. On the other hand, my chicken which was ordered from the main menu, was smaller than Dad's meal. There was enough gnocchi, but the chicken breast was a touch on the small side, although it was cooked perfectly with beautiful crisp skin, something you don't see too often. The food was of the highest order at The Bird in Hand and couldn't be faulted. We were left wondering about the discrepancy in size and price of meals though. Dad's lighter pork belly cost about £8.50 and was an absolute bargain, where as my meal was nearer £15 and left me wishing there was a bit more chicken. Some of the main meals here are a touch on the pricy side, but this is one of the few exceptions we have found on our travels. It's worth paying the few extra quid because it really does make a difference here. I'd rather pay £13 or £14 for something stunning than pay £10 for something forgettable. If the penny's are an issue, you can simply order from the lighter menu and the odds are, it won't be too much different from the main menu anyway.

Atmosphere          8
Service                 9
Food                    9
Value                   8
Verdict                 5*

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