Good Food Blog
The great pub debatePosted at 1:20PM, 24 January 2011 by Dulcima Mansell - Food writer
When I decided to write a blog about pub food, I didn't realise how complicated a topic I was getting myself involved in. I soon realised that pub food is a bit of a redundant term; the menus you find in pubs today provide huge variety. But is this necessarily a good thing?
Some analysis was required, giving me a good excuse to spend a merry couple of hours with friends (in our local, naturally) discussing all things pub food. We ended up with four categories of food-serving pubs:
1. The 'trying to please everyone': You get your pub favourites next to Indian curries , lasagne , salads . The food is usually cheap, but often pretty poor in quality. The expression 'jack of all trades and master of none' springs to mind.
2. The 'specialist': pubs which have chosen a specific cuisine to concentrate on and often do it rather well (therefore being the master and not the jack, to keep the analogy going). For example we have a fantastic pub near me that does great Indian food ; indeed it is far better than the local takeaway.
3. The 'traditional grub': these can vary in quality but tend to be very simple and not very progressive, your scampi and chips , pies , steaks , bangers and mash etc. Tend to stick to more British traditional dishes than type 1.
4. Finally the 'trendy modern': slightly style over substance, epitomised by 'stylish' (and often rather over the top) plate settings (think burger and chips served on a massive wooden board with the chips in a little bucket).
However, I don't believe that any of the above get it quite right. Do the 'trying to please everyone' pubs actually please anyone at all? If you want a curry you want a good curry, if you want a pizza you want a good pizza and so on, doing none of them well just isn't worth even the small amount they charge.
The 'traditional grub pub' could be so good if only they put the effort in, but so often it is cheap meat or pathetic limp lettuce claiming it is a salad. The food at the 'trendy modern' or the 'specialist' may be good but either way it is inevitably overpriced as they know that they are the desired few ('trendy moderns' think we will not notice that by clouding our judgement with their strangely shaped crockery). Enough is enough. We should be proud of our British pubs; it's about time the food caught up.
Therefore I am calling for a pub revolution. We need more quality food in our pubs. Be they 'traditional', 'specialist', even 'trendy' if you like, but what we want is good food at a good price in a nice atmosphere that we can enjoy with a pint.
What type of pub do you prefer? Am I being overly harsh or would you too like to see the end of 'trying to please everyone' pubs?