Food review: Mezzé at the Warwick Arms, Clutton, by Mark Taylor
Although I couldn't quite detect the aroma of fresh paint when I arrived, there was no mistaking the fact that the Warwick Arms had only been open a few days since its £400,000 makeover.
You could almost feel the newness of this large roadside pub in Clutton, which has reopened as part of the rapidly expanding Mezzé collection of dining pubs.
It's the fourth Mezzé opening for Alex Tryfonos's Bristol-based company, which takes ailing or closed boozers and turns them into smart, busy pubs with an emphasis on food.
There are still a few original features here if you look hard enough, although the wooden beams have been painted a greyish brown and the old central fireplace now houses a new wood-burner.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
There are plenty of colourful banquettes and a mix of high tables and stools in the bar area, with a more attractive, carpeted restaurant area at the back.
The menus follow the same formula as other pubs in the Mezzé chain and there is certainly plenty of choice. I counted 55 different tapas-sized mezze dishes on offer, alongside 14 sandwiches and 13 brunch options. And then there's the restaurant menu, with its eight starters, nine main courses and eight desserts. That's more food than my local Wetherspoons.
With so many dishes and so many cooking styles (Greek, British, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Moroccan – you name it, it's probably here), trying to whittle it down is tricky.
The mezzé dishes are £4.50 each or £12 for three, while the other dishes are priced individually. All sandwiches and wraps are £7.25, including chips and salad; brunch dishes are between £5.50 and £7.95; a la carte main courses are £13.
I started with a mezzé dish of Oriental beef noodle salad. It was fridge cold and not dissimilar to eating a leftover takeaway, but it contained some surprisingly tender beef strips, plenty of noodles and a decent enough sauce of soy, ginger, chilli and garlic.
I ordered a main course of smoked trout tart because the menu claimed the fish was from the Chew Valley and it was the only dish I spotted that seemed local.
Sadly, a mix-up meant I ended up with a vegetarian Moroccan spiced tart (£6.50) that was pleasant enough with its sweet roasted butternut squash tart, cumin and smoked paprika, but it certainly wasn't what I ordered.