Over the few weeks we’ve lived in Rickmansworth I’ve been in search of a decent Sunday Lunch. So far I’ve tried two of the swankier, but nevertheless reasonably priced pubs in the area in my search.
The Feathers, Church Street, Rickmansworth
Open just four months in its current incarnation, the Feathers is probably my favourite hostelry in central Ricky. The pub is a part of oldest Rickmansworth and has the fine stone and wooden beam clad interior you’d hope for. The Feathers has been given a modern refurbishment, giving a comfortable mix of dining, drinking and outdoor areas in very pleasing surrounds. The service is good, with the staff clearly having been training to ensure guests enjoy the new venture. The Feathers, price-wise and in terms of appearance, places itself at the classier end of the pub food spectrum while not straying into Gastropub territory.
The Sunday Roast is £9, which to my mind is mid-to-high for a non-Gastropub. Unfortunately the Sunday Roast I had last weekend was distinctly mediocre. The beef was not at all generous in quality and was clearly of the ‘been sitting there for sometime and overdone’ variety. The trimmings were fine but of a similar unremarkable quality and quantity. It’s the quality you might expect at Wetherspoons but which you’d only expect to pay similarly £5 for.
This is, I feel, where The Feathers may have trouble in terms of retaining food custom, as I love my Sunday Roasts but I certainly wouldn’t rush back for this one. When you have a new venture and you’re pricing and presenting yourselves as being reasonably well presented and classy, the whole product needs to delivery to estabish a customer base and here it simply didn’t. Others around us were also unhappy with their food; a table who ordered burgers and had requested how well it was cooked along with expecting the cheddar topping and potato wedges promised in the menu instead received standard well-done burger with a processed cheese slice and what can only be called a stingey number of standard chips. Again, if you’re promising quality in the menu the product has to deliver.
Overall I’d happily return to The Feathers for drinks on the grounds that it has perhaps the nicest ambience and surrounds of a pub in central Rickmansworth that I’ve come across so far. However the food pricing and quality seems out of proportion at present and I’d likely now need to hear positive things about improvements before going out of my way to have another meal there.
Scotsbridge Mill, Park Road, Croxley Green
A little out of Rickmansworth on the way to Croxley is the Scotsbridge Mill. A spacious, family friendly place, the Mill as its name suggests, is a converted water mill. Impressively, the mill leat is neatly integrated into the pub, with the water of the River Chess passing over a series of weirs viewable through glass. As with The Feathers, the service is dedicated to customer satisfaction. Food is delivered remarkably quickly as is of good quality. For the Sunday Roast there’s the option of specifying how the meat should be cooked. My medium-rare roast beef came perfectly medium-rare and was of a quality entirely superior to that of a thin, placid fare experienced at The Feathers. The meat looked like meat, carved relatively thickly and served in a tasty gravy. The roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and trimmings were of similar good quality and seemed freshly cooked, not hard over-done as can so often be the case in pubs. The dessert that followed was much enjoyed and the filter coffee was to die for – a big surprise.
The Scotsbridge Mill is also configured to have a comfortable bar area and a considerable dining area with a number of tables outside near the river when the weather suits. Although at a glance it may appear externally to be of the Harvester or Brewers Fayre variety of pubs, it’s an entirely superior product and one of a handful of pubs run by the same company in the area. Care and attention has clearly been paid to all aspects of the product and it really does deliver well.
Two down … the results
There are plenty of pubs in Rickmansworth but these two sells themselves as a cut above the norm and in terms of service and ambience they certainly deliver. However in the search for a decent Sunday Lunch only the Scotsbridge Mill comes through victorious. At £12 it’s more expensive than the Feathers’ roast but the distinction in quality more than outweighs any cost consideration. Although I’m keen to support the new owners of The Feathers in their venture they’re going to have to make some notable improvements in the food delivery to get back into the running.
Are there other contenders for a decent Sunday Lunch in or around Rickmansworth? Let me know your recommendations.