Sunday 26 May 2013

The Chequers PH, Matching Green

Many years ago, this was an old-fashioned spit 'n' sawdust pub of the type that just doesn't exist anymore. It was somewhere I would visit occasionally until one day it had closed, been re-furbished and re-opened as a gastro pub (by their own admission). My mate and I just walked back out in disappointment and mourned the loss of a great public house. About 3 years ago, possibly even longer, a bunch of us went for dinner to The Chequers, as it was getting something of a reputation. It was fine food, but I didn't feel that it in any way justified the above-average price tag for pub grub. Another visit last night and I was ready to be disappointed all over again.

I really wasn't.

Starter was a cold seafood selection, which I shared with a friend. The smoked salmon, prawns, crayfish, crab and smoked mackerel were all very good. The prawns in particular were fresh and juicy, and the horseradish and crème fraiche it was served with was a divine example of what must surely be the best seafood accompaniment?

Main course was a simple sirloin steak, served with peppercorn sauce and some asparagus and chunky chips on the side. I ordered the sirloin rare, and it was much nearer medium (not uncommon) but it was a beautiful piece of beef. With a strong peppercorn sauce it was elevated further still, and there was a good, large jug of it too! Asparagus was fine but the chunky chips (so often poor) were amazing. Some of the best I have had (certainly the biggest!) and entirely deserving of a SUPER-DISH. They were so good that I was too busy eating them to take a picture… sorry!

Dessert was my one of my favourites, Eton mess. Good but not the best, the ratio was 'off' for me: too much cream and not enough fruit or meringue. And the addition of a pistachio powder was a little unnecessary.

About £55 a head with drinks which for the quality and quantity of food on offer was worth every penny, I came away feeling like I had got very good value. Besides, a relaxing drink before dinner watching the cricket on the green... you just can't put a price on that. Recommended.

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