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Piercing speakers but food is sound; THE FINEST CATCH, Birmingham Road, PubGrub Henley-in-Arden, B95 5QR. Tel: 01564 793783.

Byline: Graham Young

SINCE we are no longer all working up a thirst in a heavy industry factory round the corner from where we live, it's inevitable that pubs keep closing.

But it needn't be like at that - as the former Bird in the Hand proves.

Colleague Paul Fulford reviewed it 14 months ago when it had become The Spice Room, where a curry for two cost PS36.

It's now a thriving, 'best of British' fish and chip pub, where 'the works' for two adults and two children costs just PS30.

The car park has been heaving every time I've been past since it opened in the early summer.

The black and white American-diner theme is striking and there's a wide range of booths, tables and bars to sit at.

I first popped in a couple of weeks ago on the way back to Birmingham from a job in the Cotswolds - and enjoyed a sublime, driver's seat takeaway of incredibly crunchy chips.

Costing PS1.50, they were potato heaven in a posh box and weighed 450g on my Cheap as Chips in-car scales. Fab.

In the end, I decided not to use them for the column below.

Returning for a proper meal before even more people find out about this place seemed like a good plan in order to save a long, wasted journey!

Our late Saturday afternoon trip was perfectly timed, as plenty were leaving but not many arriving.

We were quickly shown to a light and airy window table.

Two lovely waitresses took our drinks and food orders, so all that we had to do was to sit back and relax.

Unfortunately, although the jukebox is a nice touch, clearly designed to add period atmosphere, the noise from the ceiling speaker above us was the dreadful side of tinny.

And so piercing it felt like a device to inflict tinnitus. As for the featured dreary old records, who really wants BBC WM crossed with Ed's Easy Diner in Selfridges? The chips were much more homemade tasting this time, but equally fantastic with lots of self-ground black pepper sprinkled on top.

The fish was fabulous, too, though our children's batter wasn't quite as crispy as mine.

One large cod and chips (PS7.50), one medium equivalent (PS6), two children's meals (PS3.50 each) plus a white wine (PS3), half a pint of Worthington bitter (PS1.50) and two (sweet) milkshakes (PS2 each) took the bill to PS30, including good mushy peas for PS1. Music aside, this really is as good a fish and chip eatery as anywhere in the Midlands.

Mind how you queue, especially as the hand dryer in the small loo was as slow as a cart horse with cramp. Change it!

Verdict:

CAPTION(S):

Best of British: The Finest Catch in Henley-in-Arden knows how to get our favourite meal, fish and chips, spot on.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 23, 2012
Words:478
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