Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Bricklayers Arms

We were headed over to a pub, The Green Dragon, in the village my husband used to live in for our last lunch date, a great pub with traditional British pub food. Well it did have, six years ago when he lived there. It is now a very cosy looking Thai restaurant and though we are partial to Thai we both had our minds made up that we wanted a good pub meal. Not to worry, plenty around these parts so off we went, driving down winding lanes, enjoying the changing colours of autumn until we happened upon The Bricklayers Arms,a delightful 18th century pub with plenty of character inside and out, set in the rolling Chiltern hills.

We were happy to discover that lunch was still being served...it was now close to 2pm! Whilst we perused the menu we noted that The Bricklayers Arms has a host of awards including Dining Pub of the Year from the Good Pub guide; The AA pick of the Pubs; Restaurant of the year, The Foodie Guide among others. Looking good!! The lunch menu had a large variety and everything sounded amazing so it was difficult to choose. I eventually went for the lunch special, 2 courses for £15 or 3 courses for £20 and chose the fish pie  and salad with a lemon tart and blueberry sorbet for dessert. My husband, ordered some bread to start and a Roast breast of guinea fowl, pheasant sausage and a liver mousse feuillete as a main.

The bread was lovely, soft and fluffy on the inside and crusty on the outside, perfect for staving off our hunger while we waited for our mains. The menu advised to 'Please be prepared to wait a little longer for your food as all dishes are freshly prepared to order'. Our mains arrived and they looked wonderful. My Fish pie was delicious. Packed with huge chunks of fresh tuna, salmon and a very sweet and tasty white fish, coated in a divine cream sauce, topped with a quality cheese and served with a fresh, lightly dressed salad. It's very common for some restaurants to drown the fish in sauce but this one was packed with flavour with the right balance between the succulent fish and the tasty sauce with the salad cleansing the palate. Best fish pie I've ever had and as I grew up on the ocean I have had a few!

Fish Pie

My husband's meal was the star of the day though, the presentation was impeccable  the Guinea Fowl soft and succulent, the pheasant sausage so full of flavour and the liver mousse dissolved in your mouth with the pastry adding texture and crunch. On their own they tasted amazing but put together they were a delicious explosion of textures and spirited flavours. This was an incredible dish and the three elements worked together to make it extra special. It also came with a delightful creamy baked potato side dish.

Roast Breast of Guinea Fowl, pheasant sausage and a liver mousse feuillete

Then we were served the dessert! The lemon tart was creamy, the tang of citrus perfect, topped with caramelized sugar that gave an enticing crunch, the pastry just right and topped with a tangy physalis gooseberry. The marriage of the tart with the blueberry sorbet, sweet mingled with chunks of fresh berry was exquisite

After our plates were cleared, we spent the next few minutes raving about what we had just experienced. We have both eaten in many restaurants over the years, ranging from fine dining to street food and both agreed it would be hard to top the food we had just been served. The Michelin trained chef gave us a meal that delighted our taste buds, the dining room was comfortable, the high standard of service all added together and gave us an exquisite lunch. Our total bill came to £39.95, amazing value considering the standard of the food, atmosphere and service.

We were not expecting such an incredible lunch or we may have chosen a nice wine to go with our meal instead of the ale and cider we had, but even they went well with the delicious but unpretentious food. We all have many special meals in our lives but some will be remembered for years to come, this meal will be up there with my oysters, freshly shucked off the rocks in Kalbarri WA, a marvellous Moussaka at a colourful streetside cafe in Greece and cumin encrusted Uyghur lamb kebabs in nan bread in Shanghai!

All smoked fish and meat are smoked on the premises, most ingredients are local and all are fresh...loved the description of the Partridge breast on the menu, from local 'Denner hill, Great Missenden, may contain shot'! I am looking forward to checking out the dinner menu, the log fire casting a warm glow...mmmm...it's my birthday next week.....

If you are in the area, do yourself a favour and run, don't walk. If you are not...come visit... I'll take you there!

Love that the back of the sign is the back of the bricklayer!

The Bricklayers Arms, Hogpits Bottom, Flaunden, Hertfordshire HP3 0PH
Phone 01442 833322

No comments:

Post a Comment