So, what does make a great pub menu? I have been asked this many times, what goes on the menu? How much does it cost? Is the best fish for fish and chips haddock or cod? Is a pickled egg a bar snack? We all have an idea of how it should be, that’s what makes it interesting.
For years ‘The Pub’ was at the centre of the community, a place for people to relax and feel at home ‘your local’ but then came the need to eat, to soak up that beer. It’s now something customers or guests may do two or three times a week and we class this as an ‘affordable luxury’.
A pub is not a restaurant. We don’t want tablecloths or menus that mimic Michelin- starred establishments. In my mind a real pub will serve a core of classic pub mains at a fair price, sausage and mash, burgers, fish and chips. All augmented by a blackboard of gutsy, rustic seasonal specials which change daily, all cooked well and all fresh. Who says the menu needs to be solely British? Some of the best pub dishes that we now consider as ‘a pub classic’ take inspiration from Italy or India, great dishes done well that customers love and we love to serve.
When planning your menu, remember what time of year It is, spring and summer have a very different feel to autumn and winter. Also, remember those big events like Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas. We have great produce in this country lets go and use them.
So what does make a great pub menu? George Orwell wrote a famous essay, The Moon Under Water, about his imaginary ideal pub, we all have ideas, and as for the food whether you are a customer, owner or chef we all want great food done well and at a fair price. Use the classics and mix it up with some great dishes from around the world, customers travel and love to be reminded of places they have been, but last of all food needs to be enjoyed by us all, keep it simple and cook it well.