Monday, August 31, 2009

The Importance of Signwriting

So, here I am again after a couple of days' hiatus in spreading my nonsense into the ether.

I believe I threatened to say a few words about eating at The Crown in Bathford with Milly and Trickers on Tuesday evening last week.
The fact I was eating there is some minor explanation of why I wasn't at the Parish Council Planning Committee meeting where I should have been. The Crown at Bathford is 161 miles from Millbrook (assuming Google Earth is accurate in its directions), so my opinions on matters pertaining to house alterations and erections went unheard because of mild-to-middling geographical separation from the earnest discussions in Millbrook Village Hall.

Anyway, back to the evening in question: Milly and Trickers had booked us a table at The Crown and after a short and uneventful drive we pulled up outside and almost immediately Mrs The Millbrooker gasped at the new signage.

The Crown has changed hands since we last ate there. Perhaps we didn't spot it before, perhaps it's new (in which case it's a major embarrassment) - but take a look at the outside signage. Unfortunately it appears to have been written by someone with minor literacy problems.
Just in case you didn't spot the two glaring cock ups, here's a couple of clues. Just who is this Alan A Carte person? What is it that belongs to a dart that's being advertised?

Onwards and inwards, the Crown's interior remains pretty much as it was. It was also bloomin' cold; the staff had left the front door open and there was a bitter through draught from the also gaping back doors. Had they not noticed?
On to the food; as there was only me who really wanted a starter we had a plate of nachos with salsa and melted cheese to begin with. Tasty enough, but if you're going to charge £6.50 for a bowl of nachos straight from the packet, at least take the teensy broken bits from the bottom of the pack out first and make sure the customer is getting nicely presented whole nachos. Starters was, frankly, a bit of a non-starter: overpriced, poorly presented, lazily assembled.Things began looking up with the arrival of mains. In order below: my port-marinated sirloin was utterly scrumptious; Milly enjoyed her chicken "Baskerville" (although in presentation it was a tad more chicken "Dolly Parton"); Tricker's rump was pronounced a decent piece of meat (ooh-er, Missus).
Mrs The Millbrooker, though, thought her steak and ale pie rather average, with underwhelming pastry.

The saving grace of the whole evening came as the daylight began to fail and my eyesight made life difficult for me. Mrs The Millbrooker asked if some lights could be turned on or up, but due to some technical difficulties (no bulbs in the fittings) this proved impossible. The resourceful manager, Rachel, disappeared momentarily and returned with a standard lamp (where from? No idea; could even have been from her own manager's flat for all I know). She went out of her way to make my experience as pleasurable as possible; for that reason and that alone, I'd go back and see if their teething problems in other areas can be ironed out.

Pudding was a step too far; not because the puds were particularly deficient in any way (in fact, my home made Bailey's cheesecake was quite yummy)......only because I ate far too much. I really do need to learn to stop pigging quite so copiously. I'm not as young as I was - the old innards don't cope like they used to.

So, there you go. That's The Crown at Bathford - should you find yourself in the area I can recommend the sirloin in port and the Bailey's cheesecake. They keep a decent pint of Bath Gem as well. Just don't order the nachos and be aware that the new management is on a learning curve. Once they've sussed that attention to detail matters (don't let the bar get cold, get the vegetable/salad orders right first time), it'll be a vastly improved place to eat.

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