"You Get What You Get Don't You Mummy?"

"You Get What You Get Don't You Mummy?"
"You Get What You Get Don't You Mummy?". Family food ideas for families who want to eat yummy food

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Pointing Dog v The New Victorian

For some time the local residents of Bramhall and Cheadle Hulme have eagerly awaited the opening of their newest eatery, the latest addition to the Felicini chain. There has been an impressive redevelopment of the property where the old 'Smithy' stood and an exciting menu suggested that this could be something special. I visited the Pointing Dog during it's first week of opening. It was the first Sunday they were open and we were there at about 5pm. We rang to book. On arrival we entered into a spacious bar area. The reception area for the restaurant had someone loosely standing there. After a moment or two I informed them that we had booked and they motioned us towards a table. Not the welcome I expected from a new restaurant wanting to create a good vibe. The restaurant is large and they have created a choice of seating areas. As the restaurant was only about a quarter full, we decided on a more central area of the restaurant to sit in, so we could watch what was going on. (These things are vital in order to entertain small children!) We decided to sit where we could see the kitchen.
The menu's are printed on brown paper and folded to look like knapkins. Thankfully the waitress pointed this out. On another occassion, I arrived to join my quests a little late. I sat down and opened my menu. My guests hadn't realised that they were the menus, assuming they were knapkins as they hadn't been told otherwise. The menu offers an interesting array of dishes, possibly too many. Lots of fish and meat and some DIY salads that I found a little confusing, no vegetarian option and nothing for children. However, when we asked what they could offer to children, they did say that they could do 4 of the menu options in half portions: The shepherds pie, chicken wings, burger, and fish and chips. As it was a Sunday I enquired if the Sunday roast option could also be done in a half portion which they agreed to. It is interesting to note that CAMRA state that 'The cask ale offering is for the moment four beers - it is hoped to keep a changing Dunham Massey beer on at all times'. Great to have a local pub with quality beers.
I had the mushrooms on toast to start and my husband had the mussels. The mushrooms were delicious served with a touch of tarragon and cream. Just the ticket. The mussels were served in a rich saffron and cream sauce which was really tasty. A usual accompaniment would be to serve bread here for dunking. We had to ask for bread, which took a long time to come as it needed to be prepared, heated and served in the obligatory brown paper bag.
The children had the roast beef and fish and chips. Both were good. The roast dinner had a good variety of vegetables, and the fish and chips were eaten with gusto. The minted mushy peas were lovely with the fish and chips. My daughter didn't appreciate them, but she may do in the future. I had the burger which was ok but the fries which accompanied it were overdone. My husband had the sea bass which was good but uninteresting. Especially for the money. All accompaniments are extra. The bill including a bottle of wine and some soft drinks came to £80. We were charged extra for the bread. We left with a feeling of good, but nothing special pub food, for steep restaurant prices.
The New Victorian in Bramhall is a favourite haunt of many in Bramhall. The site as a pub has fallen in and out of favour by local residents but finally with the 'New Victorian' we have got a decent pub back in the heart of the village. Many are happy to get 'a proper pint' back. What is more of a surprise is how they have developed and are continuing to develop the menu and offer seriously good food for adults and children for a good price. The menu also changes seasonally and the manager is more than happy to talk to the customers and develop the menu with them in mind. It's also not a safe and obvious menu. They offer specials and house platters which show creativity and tempting flavours which deliver. Finally a pub with personality.
We return to this pub for many reasons. Being in the heart of Bramhall village it has acted as a meeting point for many of us with young families. The New Victorian offers a friendly welcoming atmosphere, including towards children which is a refreshing attitude in the UK. The menu reflects this with a children's menu, offering the usual favourites which are thankfully cooked in house from fresh ingredients and the children have a choice of peas or beans. Hallelujah.
The house platters to share are certainly worth a try. During the winter they had one which included a ham hock which was simply delicious. In the spring it was replaced by a more seasonal platter including home made brown shrimps, Cajun chicken, fish cakes and asparagus. Lots of boxes ticked here. The menu has it's usual burgers, offering a variety of toppings but always well made, cooked beautifully and generous. In my opinion the best burger for miles.
There are many usual suspects, fish and chips, pie etc, but also some more unusual options. We've had a beautiful sea bass dish here. Another pull towards this eatery are the prices. All the menu options are well priced anyway. However they do offer burger night and Monday to Wednesday they offer 6 meals for £6 currently including burger, chicken and bacon Caesar salad, home made pie, fish and chips. Some places may produce smaller portions in this deal. Not here though.
One final touch is that the management really value excellent service here. The staff are without fail, friendly, courteous and attentive. This is a consistent thing at any time of day, busy or quiet. Again refreshing and welcomed.

In summary.
The Pointing Dog offers much, but for the money, it falls short. On my second visit, they had a set lunch menu which thankfully offered much better value than the a la carte menu ( at £12.95) for 2 courses. The fish and chips is a steep £14.95 so as one of the 4 options on the set lunch menu, it was a good deal. I had mushrooms ( a smaller dish than you get normally) and the mussels. Everyone else had a designer salad to start and there was a goats cheese and beetroot salad for main. All the food was good. My friends said the starter salads were excellent We shared a bottle of wine and some soft drinks and paid £20 each. The service generally is ok, however the waitress seem stressed at being a quarter full. It is something which should improve with time. There is a lovely area at the back with lots of tables and space. Great for a summers day. The overall impression is overpriced and mean, pub grub.

The New Victorian has very little outdoor space and is right next to a car park and busy main road. This is not ideal with small children. However it wins hands down in all other areas. Delicious, interesting and personal food, good value for money, vegetarian choices and great kids food. The service is excellent and welcoming.
Everyone loves the new thing but don't forget what you may have overlooked. The New Victorian produces better quality food, has great service and is cheaper than the Pointing Dog.