Thursday 14 February 2013

The King’s Arms PH, Berkhamstead

This is my second visit to this pub; I was slightly apprehensive as the first experience was unfortunately mostly disappointing. This is a large pub and is lovely, warm and inviting. There is a great selection of local ale on tap. When I visited in December the food didn’t match the quality of the location at all.

Second visit, course by course…

Starter was a simple smoked salmon dish with a rocket salad and a light dressing. The salmon was very good and only needed some granary or brown bread to complete it. The main menu shows that this is normally Gravad Lax and served with horseradish and crème fraiche, as this was from a set menu it was regular smoked salmon… I wish I hadn’t read that as it sounded better still.

Main course was excellent. Classic Sage stuffed chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto, served with scallion mashed potato and beautiful roasted winter vegetables. Beurre blanc really brought this dish to life and I could have eaten a double portion with ease!

Dessert was the only disappointing part of the meal, and this may have been my fault. I changed my order at the eleventh hour to cheese. The cheese (cheddar and stilton) was fridge-cold and really needed some time to breathe. The biscuits were good but this dish was served without any chutney or quince accompaniment, which it desperately needed.

I really enjoyed the meal and blame myself for the dessert. I would imagine that the reason for the bad experience the first time was simply that I was part of a large Christmas party crowd where the quality tends to match the assumed-to-be-less-discerning-and-probably-drunk clientele! Will visit again for sure, and really want to order off of the ‘normal’ menu next time.

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