When cycling along the Grand Union Canal to the south from Ricky, the first water-side pub I encounter is the Coy Carp. After many months we finally got around to trying it out for Sunday lunch.
Each of the roads leading to Harefield seem to be quite small and narrow. Although not unusual around these parts, Harefield is larger than some of the other villages we’ve encountered yet seems somewhat tricky to reach. On arrival however, there’s a very good size pub car park, able to cope with even the busiest of Sunday lunchtimes it would seem.
From the car park the pub is accessed over a small pub which crosses a small river, running parallel to the canal. There’s both a sizeable seating area inside the pub and outside, however the weather made the outside off-limits to all put the hardiest of patrons.
The Coy Carp’s interior is fairly standard pub, fairly comfortable without being either modern or historic. Despite some poor comments on beerintheeventing.co.uk we found the service to be fine. It’s primarily ordering at the bar, although waiting staff did take our order directly for dessert.
For this week’s Sunday lunch jaunt we headed off to Chenies, another picturesque rural village in the Buckinghamshire countryside, all but equidistant between Rickmansworth, Amersham and Chesham if the signpost in town is to believed. The Bedford Arms is a little way off the A404, so easily reached, which is more than can be said for some of the currently seriously pot-holed back roads we later discovered when exploring more of the area.
But first to the food. The Bedford Arms had received a good write up and certainly lived up to expectations. We had a seat reserved in the bar as the restaurant was already fully booked. It has nice period features with some modern stylings too. Service was fine although the food took a while, which was, to be fair, peak Sunday lunch time. Fortunately the food was more than worth the wait. The Roast Beef was absolutely delicious; every bite a pleasure. Tara’s black sea bream was the same. The dessert – we both opted for the marble cheesecake – also hit that spot. That makes it two weekends in a row where we’ve come across top notch country pubs for food.
We had a quick walk around Chenies village and like many of the villages in the area it’s a beautifully picturesque corner of the world. Period buildings, a village green, winding country lanes; just what you’d hope for. Unlike Chalfont St Giles last week, Chenies is much too small for a high street, but for the quiet country life it’s all you might hope for. However both villages are located near cross-Chiltern walking trails and the Bedford Arms seemed to have something of a regular clientele, if the partially overheard conversations are anything to go by. We were though, it has to be said, some of the youngest in the pub by a considerable number of decades. Chenies isn’t for those after a racey life; it’s a place to relax, chill and take life at a slower pace. For a Sunday it’s just what you want.
This week’s destination for Sunday lunch was the Buckinghamshire village of Chalfont St Giles. One of the string of villages comprising the ‘Chalfonts’, its main street is everything you might ask for in a country village: historic buildings, a selection of shops including a bookshop, a clutch of decent pubs and even a village pond.
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.