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BITE user profile - Gamboozler

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Latest comments by Gamboozler

The Plough, Earlswood

Still on recent form a worthy place for a filling lunch or dinner, from a menu that embraces both bar meals and more substantial fare, at relatively competitive prices. Cask-wise, The Plough has finally started to become something of a local contender, serving four offerings, two of them more adventurous guests (the Surrey Hills, Pilgrim and other loc-ale options remain very-well-kept on my visits), and as everywhere else around has caught-up with (and frequently exceeds) the £4 pint ceiling, this pub no longer looks like one of the most expensive in the area.

The interior matches expectations from without and still brings that 'country' feel, despite being in a suburb of a sizeable commuter dormitory town. The garden is a pleasure, with plenty of space and events do run in the warmer months which prove popular with punters. More 'pubby' than The Joshua Tree, more trad than The Old Chestnut, and serving a wider food and beer choice than The Pendleton, I would say this pub's future is assured.

The only qualm: the service is very efficient, but can be a little brusque, depending on whom one is received by. A bit more of a smile and customer engagement beyond the functional basics would be the icing on the cake!

10 Oct 2018 13:46

The Joshua Tree, Redhill

I suppose the lack of comments on this pub is nowadays less-reflective of the interest in it, or in pubs per se, but more-so in the lack of engagement with this website?! Every dog has its day and it's been clear for a while that BITE's probably had his, but still once in a blue moon I'll bother providing an update, for the few stragglers left who might find it useful, and also as a vital distraction from the rigours of work....

So, the Josh remains a free house. The food continues to be a pleasing straddle between classic pub grub and more bistro-esque dishes, in my experience still well-cooked. Ale-wise, cask choice has perhaps become less adventurous since I last dropped a comment 4.5 years ago; a few too many Greene King-affiliated options for real beer fans, and seldom do I find the full four on. But what remains is still well-cellared on recent visits. The crowd is consistent too; a mix of civilised local folks, young and old, singles and families, drinkers and eaters. Although perhaps not a megahit on each measure, in this vicinity at least it feels like the JT is still managing that restaurant/bar balance about as well as one could given such a small space.

The landlord felt the need to close for lunches in June '17, owing to parking space being needed by Earlswood station commuter overspill (whose dedicated spaces at the station are often used by residents of the excessive number of flats they've allowed to be built adjacent to it). I am very sorry about this, especially as I am one of them, and am a keen supporter of pubs, but there it is - an intractable conundrum I suspect. Happily though it doesn't seem to have dented the business to the extent where there's been any gossip indicating closure, and one has to wonder how much trade this pub would get on an average typical weekday lunchtime.

Keep doing what you're doing folks.

10 Oct 2018 13:39

The Garland, Redhill

Although only seven weeks since Lynx's last post, it's all-change yet-again at The Garland, which frustratingly continues to find no takers as long-term tenants, and remains in the uncertain and sadly often indifferent hands of a caretaker holding company. Harvey's are apparently insisting that they're simply holding out for suitable newbies to take the reins, although even if the present approach is not a deliberate strategy to wear it down with a view to a flash sale as a residential prospect, it is without doubt having an attritional effect, as many locals begin to desert in favour of more welcoming and stable alternatives.

For now, the latest incumbents are Tina and Dave, who have experience in the industry over 25 years and if they seem familiar, you're most likely to have last seen them at The White Lion at the other end of the road in the last three months. Greene King have closed that pub and sold it on, although it remains unclear as to whether the new owners are to reopen it as a going concern, or convert it to other use. In any event, for the interim it has at least given the G a default boost in custom beyond the die-hard regulars wishing to keep the faith while it's in the doldrums, as it has inherited several refugees from the WL, which is no bad thing. At least they've got somewhere they can use as an alternative.

While the cosmetic state of the place inside and out is clearly evident, there have been some moves to make changes - not all appropriate or necessary but that's the nature of holding companies who apply a catch-all template to pubs with no nuances. The overarching observation in my (albeit restricted) experience of late has been consistency in cask ale quality - the Lewes Castle Brown I enjoyed last Friday was on cracking form, and so at least whoever is doing the cellaring seems to know what's needed. If the G loses its beer quality reputation, it really could be the road to ruin as it's primarily traded on this for 26 years.

I can't help but harbour doubts and worries, but so far, all is not lost, and it's still a decent watering hole, just without the heart it had and so sorely needs back. We can but hope.

20 Sep 2018 16:30

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Gamboozler has been registered on this site since 9th May 2014