We felt that a revisit was justified as we had heard that the food side of the business had been taken over by new people, and that the food was much improved. As we approached the pub we couldn't help noticing this enticing sign outside:
Inside there was a welcoming selection of ales available, although it was apparently limited to a choice of only 3:
This being a Greene King pub, they were unsurprisingly all Greene King Ales: Greene King IPA 3.6%, Old Golden Hen 4.1%, and Old Speckled Hen 4.5%. Although the choice was limited we judged that these ales were all in fine condition and eminently quaffable. We noted with approval that the Happy Hour was still running, although most of us arrived too late to take advantage of it. Sadly, there was no trace of Sean - wherever he may be, we wish him well.
They'd made a Steak, Ale and Mushroom Pie especially for us, which was nice of them, but we noticed on the menu that there was also available a Gammon & Peach Pie. Those of us with more traditional leanings opted for the Steak, Ale and Mushroom Pie, but some of us (those with a more adventurous disposition) couldn't resist the allure of something new and never-before tasted - the Gammon & Peach Pie.
This is the Steak, Ale and Mushroom Pie:
This is the Gammon & Peach Pie:
The pies came with an ample selection of vegetables, chips, mashed potato, all served in separate dishes, and extra gravy in a jug:
The end result was a good plateful, enough to satisfy everyone's appetite:
The gammon in the Gammon & Peach Pie seemed to have been shredded, which is okay, but we some of us prefer our meat chunky. The peach and gammon went well together but was surprisingly not very tasty, although the peach was clearly discernible We think the pastry was some sort of suet pastry, and rather good, but we weren't so keen on the gravy, which tasted too bitter. The pie fillings were both packed full of meat and of good consistency, although some remarked that the steak in the Steak, Ale and Mushroom Pie was a bit chewy. But, minor quibbles aside, both pies were excellent and very satisfying, and good value at £8.95. There was hardly any room left for puddings, but we managed.
We noticed that the pudding menu was much reduced compared with 2 years ago (and actually the same could be said for the main menu as well) but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It meant that between us we were able to sample most of the puddings:
These are good traditional puddings, and we noticed with approval the complete lack of any unnecessary garnishing (not like last time!).
Scores (max. 5 in each category, 25 overall):
- Pastry 4.06
- Filling 3.53
- Beer 3.78
- Ambience 3.875
- Value 4.125
- Overall 19.37
So once again The Barleycorn leaps into 2nd place in our rankings for this year, although with a lower score than last time, which is perhaps a reflection of the experience that we have all gained as judges over the last two years rather than a reflection of the quality of this meal. Maybe the ambience was marked down because there was background music on, and they played Phil Collins twice! After this meal the Pie Club members adjourned to the garden of The Crown to bask in the spring sunshine.