Wednesday, 15 July 2009

More papadums please!

“We should stick to what we do best: steak & chips and scampi & chips, carveries and home-cooked Sunday lunches. And we should leave the papadums to those who know how to make them,” says Mark Daniels on the Publican website. Now I have to say he couldn’t be more wrong. One of the biggest problems with pub food is that so many pubs have boxed themselves into a corner of being a kind of English ethnic restaurant, and there are vast swathes of international cuisine that they refuse to touch. This can only serve to perpetuate an old-fashioned, stodgy image of pubs to people who happily tuck in to all kinds of exotic cuisines at home and in restaurants.

Thirty years ago, many pubs were more imaginative and innovative with food than they are now, and there was more difference between their menu offers. As one of the comments says, why don’t pubs offer “Guest meals” alongside “Guest beers” – and that means something genuinely different, not just another variant on the same tired old theme on the specials board.


  1. "Thirty years ago, many pubs were more imaginative and innovative with food than they are now"

    Chicken in a basket??

    I do basically agree though; Pubs, in my view, do better if they are innovative across the range of goods and service that they provide. But there is always going to be room for the traditional as well.

  2. Dave, I know people may laugh now at chicken in the basket, but honestly in the early 80s, when I was doing a lot more eating out in pubs than I do now, a fair number of pubs were prepared to experiment and take a risk in the kinds of meals they offered.

    This compares with the samey, formulaic "Ye Olde Gastro Pubbe Grubbe" menus you all too often get nowadays. Maybe this is what works, but a lot of variety and distinctiveness has been lost.

  3. Sometimes I just want fish and chips, burger and chips or ham, egg and chips, but this is rare. Comfort food! Mostly, like my beer, I'm on the lookout for something new, something different.


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