Sunday, 5 August 2012

REVIEW: The Stamford Arms, Groby

I seem to have done a spate of reviews of local pubs recently, and when The Boy and I stopped for a meal at the Stamford Arms, Groby, last week to celebrate the last in our set of BootCamp classes, it seemed only polite that I celebrate such an enjoyable experience by writing a review.



The Stamford Arms is a comfortable village pub. It has a small terrace with picnic tables to both the front (which is on quite a busy road through the village) and the rear (which is more sheltered from local traffic). Inside the decor is quite traditional Everards pub - indeed, you discover when you read the menu that this pub was originally the home to the Everards, founders of the Leicestershire brewery. The exposed brick and wood lined interior is comfy and familiar and the usual array of alcoholic, non-alcoholic and bar snacks are available. 


We arrived to a very warm welcome from the bar staff who seemed pleased to see everyone and had plenty of time for a little smile and a joke with all the customers even though trade was brisk on the mid-week evening that we visited. On a Wednesday they offer a free bottle of house wine when you purchase to main meals, so we took them up on the offer. We thought that for that money, we would have a passable meal, but nothing special.


How wrong we were, the food was actually excellent. The Boy had the liver and onions served with mash and gravy. He said it was rich and meaty, cooked well and with nice creamy mash. He asked for French mustard, but they only had English, however the server was very apologetic. It was a mammoth portion and well worth the £6.99 price tag. He gave it a 9 out of 10 Hippy Points, sound praise indeed.


Clearly I only thought to take pictures once we had already started eating and realised just how nice the food was, so please excuse the half masticated appearance. I assure you the meals are better presented when you receive them.


I ordered the gammon steak, which comes with chips, peas, a fried egg and pineapple - although I refused the pineapple because we all know that putting meat and fruit together is the work of the Devil and every time you eat pineapple with gammon, the ghost of Elvis gives a puppy a papercut. This dish was also £6.99.


I was genuinely taken aback by the quality of this meal. The gammon was cooked to perfection, with great sear marks and just enough crisp on the fat that I could, for the first time ever, actually eat a little bit of it without feeling like I was going to throw up. Gammon isn't really something I eat very often, so I'm not sure why I ordered this meal really, but it was certainly the best I've ever had. The egg was nice, but just ever so slightly overcooked so there wasn't quite as much runny yolk as I would have liked. The chips were awesome, possibly triple cooked, possibly with some sort of semolina coating, making them extremely crispy and wonderfully soft inside. Not what you'd expect from chippy chips at all, but definitely a great restaurant experience. I'd give the meal 9.5 Extreme Points, with just a slight mark down for the egg yolk issue.


As I mentioned, the deal that we got was two main meals with a free bottle of house wine, so we paid £13.98 is total. This was an absolute bargain as the bottle of house red that we received was also delicious. It was smooth, easy drinking but with enough depth of body to keep me interested, even though I am a committed Shiraz drinker. It was a lovely little Sicilean number I think and I was mightily impressed. I can't quite remember properly, but I think that there was a sign saying the wine, if bought separately, would cost £8.95 per bottle, which is actually a bit of a bargain for a bottle of this calibre outside a supermarket context.




The Stamford Arms comes highly recommended by me. I look forward to returning to the friendly atmosphere and trying some more of the menu to see if they are all as nice as the meals we had. The pub also hosts two quiz nights a week as well as live music in its ample staging area. I think we might be putting in more appearances there as this pub would make a top notch local (if only it wasn't a four mile cycle away and at the top of a big hill....)

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