Out of all my local pubs and eateries, coffee shops aside, I have probably been to the Summerhouse more than any other.
A few years ago it went through a phase of poor quality and a lack of imagination, but on a more recent visit, the magic seemed to be back. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a gastropub or a magnet for foodies, this is a pub that sells pub food. It’s of decent value and my experience recently is that it is also of decent quality.
One of the nice things about the menu, are the specials, and though these disappeared a few years ago, they have been back on the menu now for a while. The main menu alongside the traditional pub fare has a few things that raised my eyebrows. Kerlan Cod, a cod loin covered in a Keralan sauce made with coconut milk, mussels, spinach, green chilli, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Greek Lamb, tender lamb with cherry tomatoes, raisins, aubergine and black olives in a red wine and mint sauce, served with cous cous.
On a recent visit, though tempted by the specials, I in the end opted for the ribeye steak with chips. A very traditional pub meal and one that really shouldn’t be a problem for any decent pub kitchen.
Well so how was it?
I asked for my steak to be cooked rare, and it was cooked just how I like it, medium-rare. It was a good steak and was quite tender. The chips were crispy on the outside and fluffy in the inside. These were traditional chips, no french fries here (though I do prefer fries). The mushroom was grilled, as was the tomato and worked well. The peas were peas and nothing special there.
I got what I ordered, it was cooked well.
Alongside my steak I had a pint of Marston’s Pedigree, there is a wider choice of beers in the bar area, and you could have one of those if you wanted.
As for the service, it was just right, not too intrusive and there just when you needed it. That is quite a challenge, sometimes the service can be too “in your face” which is a style that has come over from America, that doesn’t always work too well here in Blighty, or you have the other extreme, where you can never find a member of the waiting team when you need them.
Overall we enjoyed our experience and food and will be going again. It’s as though the magic has returned to the Summerhouse.