Meal at the Hope and Anchor
I would like to start this review as I mean to go on, by stating that this place is bloody fantastic. Before reading the whole of the review, I can tell you straight away- AMAZING food, friendly service, with a lush atmosphere. This isn’t the first time I have been here, I have visited here many many times and it has always been perfection. The Hope and Anchor is a country pub situated in Midford, which is about a 10 minute drive from Bath, or an absolutely lovely 1 hour 15min (ish!) walk from Oldfield park, along a lovely walking/cycling route called the Two Tunnels. You can cycle here from Bristol or radstock along this path as well if you’re feeling like a bit of a workout before your meal!
Myself, my boyfriend, and my boyfriend’s parents had a lovely walk from our house in Oldfield park on Sunday to this place (picking wild garlic on the way!). We booked a few days ahead (crucial with this place- they are very popular on Sundays and for good reason!) for an indoor seat as we weren't sure how good the weather would be. We arrived at 1:30 and were seated very promptly (noticing it was incredibly busy!).
The menu is very large actually, which would normally make me a little suspicious in a gastro-pub- a lot of them have humungous menus and unfortunately what that means is that a lot of the dishes are created from pre-prepared, frozen items. However, everything here is made fresh, and good old proper country pub classics- fishcakes, pies, sausage and mash etc. On a Sunday theres lots and lots to choose from, the lunch menu, a dinner menu, specials, and of course a proper Sunday roast options (usually a couple of choices of meat- this Sunday it was roast beef or roast pork). I went for one of the specials menu for starter, which was chicken liver parfait with homemade chutney, toast and salad.
I will warn those of an average appetite that the starters here are HUGE! Almost main course sized! This suites me as many of you know I have a humongous appetite, but it’s a good point to note. My parfait was gorgeous, smooth and flavoursome, with a well-made mellow chutney. My boyfriend had the nachos with salsa/guacamole/sour cream/chillies, and I noticed they even make their own nachos here which is pretty cool! My dad in law had the whitebait which looked nice and crispy, and my mum in law had the deep fried camembert with red onion chutney and salad, which I’ve had before it’s lush. It’s available as a main course for vegetarians too- I should also note that this pub caters really well for vegetarians, which is laudable for a country pub, as often the attitude is “we’re in the countryside, we’re farmers and hunters, what the hell is a vegetarian???” or “oh I’ve heard about vegetarians- just offer them a ratatouille that’ll do” but this definitely isn’t their style.
For mains I had another dish on the specials menu, lamb shoulder with creamy mash and redcurrant gravy (with seasonal vegetables). The lamb was tender, on mounds of really smooth, correctly seasoned mash, and the veg (carrots, broccoli, fennel and red cabbage) was not overcooked. Very delicious, and there was a nice gap between starter and main (I’d like to say It is a pet peeve of mine when your starters leave the table and almost immediately your mains arrive- I hate this, I want time for the starters to “settle”, and time to socialise with friends and family! I know restaurants like to do it, as it’s all to do with profit and re-seating tables, but a meal isn’t about eating your grub and getting outta there now is it!). My father in law had the steak and ale pie, which he says was the best he had ever had (and he often orders this in restaurants), and my mother in law had pork with a paprika and blue cheese sauce and loved it. They did something special for my boyfriend which I thought was nice- now my fella LOVES his burgers. He has had the burger here before which he says is great and tried ordering it again, only to be told it had sold out- oh No! He didn’t fancy anything on the main or specials menu (don’t ask me why, he has quite…specific tastes I suppose), so he asked for something on the kid’s menu (scampi and chips!) to be made a main course for him, which they were more than happy to do for him. The scampi and chips looked homemade and lovely too.
Throughout all this the service was lovely. I was just drinking orange and lemonade, as I’ve been t total for a while, but my father in law had a couple of pints of Doombar (a fairly local ale) and my mother in law had a couple of glasses of sauvignon blanc which she said went very well with the meal.
At this stage, I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely stuffed. Still, I had to look at the dessert menu, and just COULDN’T resist having the pecan tart with cream. OH MY GOD YUM!!! Homemade PERFECTLY cooked pastry (no soggy bottoms here!), sweet toffee like sauce with toasted pecans and fresh cream. I barely had any room for it but I managed it! As it was so busy, and because me and my fella are nosy chefs, we asked them how many people they had working in the kitchen. They said “usually three, but we are a man down today- we’re also a man down out the front too”. We were absolutely flabbergasted! I mean over the lunch period they must have been doing over 100 covers, at a minimum, probably over 150 over the whole time, doing everything homemade, with only two chefs in the kitchen and only three waitresses! Insane! We thought, bravo, we will definitely be giving them a good tip. When the bill arrived we were even more surprised- only £122!! And we’re talking 4 of us, having two alcoholic drinks each, and three of us having three courses. Such insanely good value for money this place (I think if this was a gastro pub in the middle of bath you’d be paying over £200), for just the most amazing food. We made sure we tipped well, asking them to make sure the chefs got a share (haha!) and left for a lazy walk home. I will finish this by saying customer service 10/10, food 10/10, value 10/10, atmosphere 10/10. If you are anywhere vaguely near this place, VISIT IT!!!