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The perfect recipe
4:48pm Thursday 23rd August 2012 in News
Great ale, good food and a bit of friendly banter – JOSH LAYTON enjoys an an afternoon in the sun
The Blunsdon Arms,
Tel: 01793 729801
BLUE skies, green turf and pale, golden ale... if the British pub is dying, no one told the Blunsdon Arms.
It’s a gloriously sunny Monday afternoon and I’ve borrowed the real ale expertise and discerning taste buds of Swindon CAMRA chairman Hans Hoffbauer.
The spic-and-span pub sets out its statement of intent at the door with a busy sandwich board and Casque Marquee symbol guaranteeing high standards of cask ale.
The clean lines, spacious lay-out and conurbation of wooden tables outdoors make it an ideal family-friendly choice and place it a notch above many other high street pubco venues.
The Blunsdon Arms, run by Ember Inns, might not be on many CAMRA members’ radar. But the pub’s statement on its website that it supports the group is backed up with a rotating and well looked-after collection of real ales. Hans orders a pint of Mary Jane, from Ilkley Brewery in Yorkshire, which quickly wins his approval.
Having opted for al-fresco dining we scrutinise a clear and well laid-out menu encompassing the healthy, the traditional and the unusual. Hans goes for the goats’ cheese and roast red pepper bruschetta to start with, while my eye falls on the mozzarella, tomato and basil filo pastries.
My dish comes with sour cream and chives and is light, fresh and crispy.
Both are well-presented and without a hint of grease or oil.
Deciding to try out the healthy option, I follow up with a super-food burger consisting of spicy broad beans, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, spinach, slow-roasted tomatoes and peanuts.
In case things get too healthy, however, the Blunsdon have added a portion of thick-cut chips to the plate.
Hans goes for the award-winning sausages with creamy mash and caramelised onion gravy.
Both dishes are appetising, filling and carefully presented, worthy of a kitchen operating to a high and consistent standard.
Hans followed up with a half of St Peter’s ale while I – being the designated driver – rounded off with a homely dessert of apple pie and custard.
We both agree the setting, the value and the quality of the dishes score highly – not to mention the banter from the staff about my ravenous appetite.
The Thamesdown Drive pub might not be one for pub purists, but for traditional ale and good food, it’s a winner on both counts.