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Wildfood.info • View topic - uk bar and pub foods.

uk bar and pub foods.

Out of the main bustle of the Coffee shop this is where people gather to share recipes and tips/tricks.

uk bar and pub foods.

Postby wargarden » February 3rd, 2020, 1:45 am

I was just curious after reading something about
uk pubs. what type of traditional foods are served
in UK pubs.
Last edited by wargarden on February 3rd, 2020, 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby karadekoolaid » February 3rd, 2020, 2:01 am

So what was it you read?
" Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like Hell!"
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby wargarden » February 3rd, 2020, 2:08 am

I was reading about how they are decorated.
the article did not mention the type of foods
served that is why I asked.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Gruney » February 3rd, 2020, 8:42 am

How are they decorated? I'm intrigued.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Herbidacious » February 3rd, 2020, 8:42 am

It's somewhat hard to defnitively answer this question. Tradititonally, pubs did not sell food, beyond a packet of crisps, some peanuts and maybe pork scratchings. I can't say without looking it up, but serving meals started, I imagine, at some point after the war, but didn't gain traction for some time. It was mostly a bit crappy. I didn't eat in pubs as a child, as parents couldn't afford it, but memories from the late 80s and 90s are of things like microwave lasagne. But I became a vegetarian when I left home, and this was what was on offer, if anything, for me. Then in 1996, the first gastro pub opened on Farringdon Road in London* and that changed everything really. More gastro pubs opened, and other pubs started to serve copy cat food that sounded gourmet, but was not of such a high standard. (This is in my opininon, of course.) Now, you can eat pretty much anything in a pub. Modern European, Thai, Mexican, Indian...
'Traditional (potentially quite stodgy) English food' is on offer in many pubs - roasts (especially on Sundays) fish and chips, bangers and mash, pies etc. At the moment slightly up market burgers are prevelant.
But what you can get will vary somewhat up and down the country.
I would suggest you try googling Mitchells and Butlers - a company that owns many chains including one under it's own name of pseudo gastro pubs - for an idea of what's on offer.

*The Eagle is still open and still good. And luckily for me, round the corner from work.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Suelle » February 3rd, 2020, 9:00 am

I think the changes in attitudes to (and the laws on) drinking and driving meant that if a country pub didn't serve food, thus becoming a destination for lunch or dinner, it couldn't survive on sales of alcohol alone. Because many of these pubs were in villages which might not have any sort of restaurant, all sorts of food outlets sprung up. Many in this part of East Anglia served Thai, Indian and Chinese food before the 'gastro pub' movement started.

It's sometimes a good idea to look at the length of the menu as a guide to the quality of the food. We have a local pub with a carvery every day, plus it boasts of 50 other dishes on the menu. That's not all going to be cooked from scratch 'in-house'. A pub offering only 5-8 dishes at each course is more likely to be serving better food, made on the premises. Not always though, especially desserts which are often bought in from catering firms.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby suffolk » February 3rd, 2020, 9:11 am

Of course, many pubs had their origins in coaching inns, and they of course, served food.

As Herbidacious says ... many UK pubs nowadays serve extremely good food indeed ... e.g. Tom Kerridge's pub, The Hand & Flowers has two Michelin Stars https://www.thehandandflowers.co.uk/pub. We spent an overnight stay just last week here https://www.shipatdunwich.co.uk/ ... fabulous food.

To get a flavour of the many country pubs in East Anglia have a look at the websites of the pubs featured here https://www.norfolkmag.co.uk/food-drink ... -1-5312532

As for the sort of food served in more urban settings, take a look at the bars here in Norwich https://www.edp24.co.uk/going-out/bars- ... -1-6423932
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby earthmaiden » February 3rd, 2020, 9:24 am

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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby suffolk » February 3rd, 2020, 9:28 am

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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby earthmaiden » February 3rd, 2020, 9:36 am

That's good to hear. I feel quite intimidated in a lot of them.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby suffolk » February 3rd, 2020, 9:44 am

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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby earthmaiden » February 3rd, 2020, 9:46 am

:tu:
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Gruney » February 3rd, 2020, 9:55 am

I'm afraid I'm a bit of a dinosaur - the pubs I frequent tend to be good old fashioned boozers, where the background smells are of wet dogs, rather than chips. I'm glad I don't have to be subjected to cigarette smoke anymore though.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby suffolk » February 3rd, 2020, 10:21 am

Gruney ... take a look at my last link ... right up your street ... and good B&B too ... a few miles inland and lots of good walks and rural sites, little market towns etc.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Gruney » February 3rd, 2020, 10:31 am

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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby miss mouse » February 3rd, 2020, 10:45 am

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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby suffolk » February 3rd, 2020, 10:52 am

Bu$$er .... there was a glitch ... Adnams leased it to some folk who tried to change it :shock: :twisted: ... regulars boycotted it, reviews were grim ... the new folk left ... then a group of villagers pooled resources and bought it from Adnams https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/laxfield-pu ... -1-5409712 :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:

It opens at noon "WE ARE OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK ... MONDAY – SATURDAY FROM 12 UNTIL 11PM...SUNDAY FROM 12 UNTIL 7PM"

Do try again. It's just your sort of place :tu: Not a carpet nor an electronic machine in sight. :lol:
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Herbidacious » February 3rd, 2020, 11:14 am

A lot of pubs in suburban London have shut. Where I live one has been converted into a Tesco Metro, another is flats and a third is simply boarded up. Of the survivors, not so many old-fashioned boozers are left. One thing about the advent of food, and the resulting changing ambience, has been to make it less uncomfortable for a lone female to dare to go into them. There was a time, when, if you entered certain establishments, a group of not very sober red-nosed men would turn round and stare at you, and continue to stare at you as you laughably asked for a glass of (generic) white wine. Carpets soaked with stale beer, walls brown with nicotine... Such places still exist. (There is one in Sydenham still.)

I was recently watching some 1960s footage of Penge - almost a Penge Tourist Board type thing, really. They go into a pub which was essentially one of those types of pub, but at the time was the height of sophistication (I think they actually used the word 'sophisticated') on account of the lack of sawdust and the possiblity of buying the aforementioned glass of generic (red or white) wine and possibly even a sherry for the ladies. Most ladies probabbly still wouldn't go in unacompanied, on the whole, I suspect.

Of course, the other innovation, along with food, is coffee and tea of all types.

All this said there are still plenty of really nice almost food free traditional pubs in central London as you might expect. The Mitre on Ely Place off Holborn is a must-visit, The George, Southwark. Angel in the Fields behind Oxford st, Marble Arch end, and many many more. Oxford has lots of wonderful ones, as does York, and I am sure many other towns. I suppose their survival depends partly of the level of tourism in the area...?
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby smitch » February 3rd, 2020, 11:43 am

I tend to drink in brew taps run by the breweries themselves. Usually no food is served other than crisps or similar, although one place does chunks of sourdough bread with olive oil and my favourite place has Frazzles (bacon flavour snacks) and Curly Wurlies (chocolate) behind the bar :lol: They also sometimes have food from a zero waste project on a Friday night. Some of the other brew taps we visit sometimes have food vans parked outside. I'd be happy to drink in any of these places on my own and often do.

As I live in a semi-rural area, we have lots of pubs selling traditional British food, but as their veggie options are usually poor, and they only sell mediocre beer, we tend to avoid them. Our favourite local pub at the next station on the line does home made pies and has 'street food Fridays' with a variety of cuisines on offer. Their beer is excellent and they have lots of doggy visitors: I have no issue with calling in on my own for a beer, usually whilst waiting to change trains.

Probably the only traditional pub we visit in Manchester is the Marble Arch, it is a beautiful old building with ornate walls and a sloping floor:

Marble Brewery's beers are fab and the food there is great. I can't think of that many other traditional pubs with good food in the city centre, most of them are the usual chains, with 'interesting' customers.

I guess for me, I either choose somewhere for the beer or the food, Beer is a hobby of ours and the beer community here in Manchester is very friendly and welcoming.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby StokeySue » February 3rd, 2020, 11:44 am

I come from a family that kept working man’s pubs in the Midlands

One thing you have to remember is that there was a break in tradition at WW2 - before then many pubs served a hot lunch, after many pubs served no food at all apart from packets of crisps and nuts - my grandfather’s pub was like that in the 50s and 60s, the only time food was served was when my Nan made huge piles of sandwiches for darts matches. In fact in the 80s I knew one East End pub that had no humanfood, not even crisps, but you could by a Bonio dog biscuit for tuppence - it was on a popular dog walking route. It now has a full menu, largely roasts and pies and pasta.

For the full pre-war picture you need to read George Orwell’s famous essay, the Moon Under Water.


Gradually food started to creep back in, in the 60s my parents used to take me for country walks and a pub lunch or supper, typically a ploughman’s lunch or chicken or scampi in a basket - with chips. The best ploughman’s lunch was at the Pub with No Name (ok, it’s the White Horse, but has no sign for reasons of superstition). The best chicken in a basket, and in fact full restaurant meals, were available at the Chairmakers at Anthill Common. Both these pubs are rambling farmhouse style buildings, over 200 years old.

The ploughman’s lunch is important, here’s a good potted history


More later
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby scullion » February 3rd, 2020, 12:03 pm

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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Seatallan » February 3rd, 2020, 12:06 pm

I still think it's hard to beat a good old-fashioned traditional plowman's lunch... :chops:
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Busybee » February 3rd, 2020, 12:17 pm

Smitch , I used to drink in the Marble Arch - it was our local after work, usually Fridays. Absolutely loved the place.

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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Gruney » February 3rd, 2020, 12:20 pm

Before I moved from the North West to where I am now, I used to drink in a "men's club". In a former life, it had been a couple of farm buildings. There was a men only bar, where some rare old lads used to gather,and a really plush, large lounge, which only opened in the evenings. It was well run, by a committee and I liked it.

At one point, the Local Authorities decided that on Fridays and Saturdays, pubs could stay open until 11 o'clock - the Club could not do this without an EGM, to authorise a rule change.

We all met in the lounge, and were having a great night, in expectation of an extra half hour. The proposal was put to us. "All in favour?" - a huge show of hands. "All against?" - a single hand. The secretary explained to the single hand that he had lost the vote, but asked him what his objection was.

The old lad stood up, and said - "well if you stay open till 11 o'clock, I'll miss my last bus home." It was that sort of place.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby smitch » February 3rd, 2020, 12:37 pm

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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Herbidacious » February 3rd, 2020, 12:55 pm

Although a ploughman's lunch as it stands is a modernish thing...?! :)

The worst pub meal I have ever had was a ploughman's in Bromley. You would't think you could muck it up, but, plastic supermarket mild cheddar, the eggs pickled by virtue of having sat next to pickled onions for some time, the bread dried out, rather than toasted, cheap margarine...
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby StokeySue » February 3rd, 2020, 2:29 pm

As people have said - you get a mix now, all sorts of things
Round here in NE London there's a tradition of putting little nibbles out on the bar on Sunday lunch time - cheese and crackers, crisps, nuts, hot roast potatoes (called baked potatoes locally, just to confuse), sometimes prawns some places still do this

30 years ago only one pub on the High Street did food - fairly basic chips with everything, mostly bought in from Brake Brothers, Lots of jackets potatoes with filling at lunch time, a rather unexciting ploughman's and so on. In those days it was a local boozer and still is, the owners (the brewery) kept thinking because it was on the main drag it should be a glamorous bar with a lot of passing trade, but it is actually the local for the housing estate behind it, and always has been.

Then in 1991 the gastropub was born - the Eagle, Farringdon is often considered the first but really it was a movement that happened naturally as people got more interested in eating out. Still there


Round here, pubs often specialise in one thing they do well - some pubs do good burgers and sausages, some extend that to weekend barbecues in the summer. One has a real wood fired pizza oven and does excellent pizza, better than the actual pizza restaurant.
The very trendy Axe does delicious small plates. if you can fight you way in, I recommend the olives ascolari. The High Street pub has stopped serving chips with everything, and got in a Thai family to take over the kitchen, serving a limited Thai menu - this has been a big thing, fading a bit I think. And we have a proper gastropub of course.

A lot of people have their Sunday roast dinner in a oub, it's a big thing

And we have to mention Wetherspoon's, the biggest chain of pubs in the UK. Cheap, and all offer a standardise food offering, most if which is edible but uninspiring (and some of which is awful). In the small town where I grew up, the 'spoons is where groups of older people seem to meet for a weekly lunch, or just because they can. It's much cheaper than independent or brewery owned pubs
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Herbidacious » February 3rd, 2020, 3:34 pm

Ah I thought The Eagle was '96. I stand corrected. I had a very nice lunch there the other week.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby dennispc » February 3rd, 2020, 4:08 pm

Lunch Time menu where we ate last Tuesday, though I had the sea bream from specials board.

https://quandoo-assets-partner.s3-eu-we ... aa55b2.pdf

Evening Menu

https://quandoo-assets-partner.s3-eu-we ... 197926.pdf

It’s a traditional village pub that has adapted well to the many changes. Locals can pop in for a pint in their work clothes and not feel out of place. The only drawback is the outside loos, that is outside the front door, enter from the main road through the village.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Seatallan » February 3rd, 2020, 4:15 pm

Gruney- :lol: :lol: :lol:

Here's a link to a pub we pop to for lunch on a fairly regular basis. One of our favorites...

https://kirkstile.com/
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Pepper Pig » February 3rd, 2020, 4:44 pm

Re Brake Brothers as mentioned by Stokey Sue. Last September I went for a spa day at Champneys renowned for its healthy and delicious food. We followed the Brake Brothers delivery lorry up the drive.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby StokeySue » February 3rd, 2020, 5:24 pm

To be fair, Brake Brothers do some good stuff - a friend who was vegetarian when it was a lot less common than it is now was relieved when instead of going to a small place who did all their own cooking her family started going to a pub, Brake Brothers veggie lasagne was in our view much nicer than either M&S or that made by inexperienced vegetarian cooks!

When I briefly worked at the chips with everything pub Brakes provided us with individual oval pie dishes, and we used to buy from them puff pastry ovals cut to fit the tops - it was good pastry too, but you might not remember it as such, most pubs didn't have the oven hot enough, we actually followed the instructions and really blasted them. We made out own pie filling with beef from the local butcher cooked in ale, a good cheap meal with a few chips (McCain of course) and a choice of veg or salad,
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 3rd, 2020, 6:44 pm

One of my favourite places to eat is still a pub, but now owned and run by Raymond Blanc's conglomerate, so food is always of good standard ..At the other end of the scale another of my favourite pubs has a monthly Blues Jam, is generally packed out and does no food at all. Here in the village we have one pub who's kitchen is taken over by a Thai family every Thursday. I remember when pubs started to be the place to go to for lunch, one in the village had tinned spaghetti bolognese on toast as it's speciality :rolleyes:
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby mum-at-the-oven » February 3rd, 2020, 10:52 pm

I fondly remember Sunday lunchtimes in the Town of Ramsgate and The Prospect of Whitby - both in Wapping, East London.

There would be an array of whelks, jellied eels, cockles and salted nuts on the bar - all free and to encourage more beer drinking and a longer stay. With the price of jellied eels etc. I don’t imagine that happens anymore but I don’t recall those pubs doing evening meals and in those areas (I can’t speak for other areas) you went to a pub for a drink and a restaurant for a meal. I think nowadays the most successful pubs are the ones with the best food and ambience.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby StokeySue » February 4th, 2020, 12:11 am

I was lucky enough to catch Quennie Watts singing at the Prospect of Whitby Christmas 1972, she was a jazz singer as well as an actress

It’s very touristy now in the season, had an awful meal there about 10 years ago, and I’ve only risked the odd drink since, should maybe give it another chance


On the other hand on the other bank the Mayflower in Rotherhithe, which was terrible many years ago is now rather nice


Amused that both claim to be the oldest pub on the river, both before Shakespeare anyway.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby karadekoolaid » February 4th, 2020, 12:35 am

Our locals back in the late 60s-early 70s had a glorious array of bar snacks.
1) Crisps 2) Peanuts 3) More crisps
Lunchtime was 1) Fish of the day - and chips 2) Burger of the day -and chips 3) Ploughman´s lunch 4) Cheese and onion roll.
Sunday was very special because we got free bread and dripping on the bar. In New Cross/Brockley in the early 70s, the menu was the same, but without Fish or Burgers! :lol: :lol:

All that has changed, hasn´t it? There are two excellent pubs to eat near Maidstone; The Fox and Goose - where the owner/chef will pop out of the kitchen to offer free plates of whitebait, or squid, and the King´s Arms at Boxley, where the food is just simply out of this world!
" Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like Hell!"
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Gruney » February 4th, 2020, 8:13 am

Something I haven't seen for ages - large jars of pickled eggs standing on the bar - next to the jug of water with flies in, for the very rare whisky drinker.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby earthmaiden » February 4th, 2020, 8:23 am

..... and the soda siphon.
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Gruney » February 4th, 2020, 8:52 am

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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby StokeySue » February 4th, 2020, 9:05 am

The soda now comes out of a mixer hose :sprout:
Most pubs round here do have those big jars of water with a tap for people to help themselves
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Re: uk bar and pub foods.

Postby Herbidacious » February 4th, 2020, 11:16 am

They may do pickled eggs in the Mitre :)
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