Dinner Spotted Dick worth missing the train for
Oooh, very posh" – that was the verdict of one impressed regular upon arrival at the newly refurbished Brassmill this week.
The pub has undergone a £150k renovation and the facelift coincides with the introduction of what owners Vintage Inns describe as "a premium dining offering", which basically means the pub now offers table service alongside the more informal, pubby style of ordering your food at the bar.
Tucked away in the Avon Valley close to the Kennet & Avon Canal, the pub is an ideal spot for walkers but it is also a two-minute walk from Keynsham railway station so easy to get to if you don't want to drive.
It certainly has the look and feel of a smart country gastropub, albeit one that has enjoyed the luxury of a £150k budget to play with rather than rummage around car boot sales and antiques auctions to furnish it.
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Although the place is more geared towards food, you could quite easily just pop in for a pint. My glass of St Austell Tribute was crystal clear and one of the best-kept pints of this Cornish beer I've had.
There are several menu options to choose from and they will suit all budgets and tastes.
An additional sheet of daily specials on this visit included sticky pork ribs (£10.95), beef cheek in ale (£12.95) and whole sea bass with herb mash, mushrooms and white wine cream (£13.95).
The fixed-price menu is exceptional value at £10.50 for three courses or £8.50 for two. Main courses on this menu include old favourites such as macaroni cheese, toad in the hole and shepherd's pie.
I started with the cauliflower fritters, which arrived as four golf ball-sized domes of firm cauliflower florets encased in a crisp batter with a gentle kiss of curried spices. They were accompanied by a thick and soothing, mint-flecked crème fraiche dip.
This was followed by "coconut crumbed" chicken breast, which was basically a schnitzel in all but name. The chicken breast had been flattened out before being coated in the crisp crumb and it arrived with a bowl of decent chips, a scoop of crunchy slaw and a dish of tangy plum, mango, coriander and spring onion dipping sauce.
I wasn't going to order pudding but I have never been known to ignore Spotted Dick when it's on a menu and this one was worth missing the train for – small but perfectly formed with plenty of plump currants and a moat of thick yellow Bird's custard.