Wednesday, 17 February 2016

THE OLD HOUSE AT HOME - Cot lane, Chidham





This is a pub we visited years ago, and to be honest, I couldn't remember it, so when Dad suggested we make a return trip, I was happy to go back and see what they were doing.

It's a little bit out the way and is in every sense a traditional old pub. I think traditional is the word here, much overused, but in this case it is perfect. You can feel the decades of history which have taken place within the walls, creating an atmosphere that no design can replicate or equal. We had a good feeling about The Old House at Home, it's a rare moment when you just know everything will be alright.

We were greeted warmly, served drinks and offered menus, as well as being pointed in the direction of a specials board. There is a set lunch menu which offers excellent value at two courses for £12 or three for £16. The main menu is a little more expensive, but as we shall discover, sometimes it's worth it. Steak pie and a selection of burgers are on offer at just over £10, where as other options can be up to £13. It was a wonderful sounding menu, making it clear that the chef knows what he's doing, and just as importantly has a passion and imagination when it comes to his food.

Our orders were taken at the table, which is always a nice way to start. Dad was drawn to the pie, which he chose to have new potatoes with. After my usual prolonged indecision, I eventually opted for parmesan crusted cod on a bed of sun blushed mash. Sounds good doesn't it?

The pub was nice and warm and slowly filled with other lunchtime punters as we spoke over a side of garlic bread. As mentioned in several previous reviews, there are certain things which make a pub a good place to be, one of which being background music. This is where the mould was broken. I noticed immediately that there was no music and was worried that the atmosphere would suffer, but strangely it didn't matter. Other pubs have become frigid boxes of solitude due to their lack of sound, but here it wasn't an issue. The feel of the place negated any such concerns.

I told Dad, I knew the food was going to be good, and bless my buttons if I wasn't right and then some. It smelt good, it looked good, and it tasted even better. Dad was blown away by his pie, not literally of course, much better than several, "Award winning pies", he has tried at other pubs. My cod was amazing, the texture and flavour from the parmesan crust lifting it to a whole new level. The mash was also a wondrous thing, rippled with sun blushed tomatoes and seasoned by some mystic power. This is in a nut shell what we've been saying for so long now. The difference a bit of love and imagination can make is immeasurable, not only to the customer, but to the profits of the landlord/lady.

In our post-meal discussion, we were both in no doubt that The Old House at Home is a five star pub. More than that, it is one of the best we've found. The service was friendly and sincere and the food was immaculate. The main meals may cost a touch more than some other pubs, but it really is worth it, and if you want more for your money, the lunch menu is an absolute bargain.

Atmosphere                     9
Service                              10
Food                                  10
Value                                 9
Verdict                              5*

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