For this years Mothers Day 13 of us piled into the already busy Butchers Arms in Priors Hardwick (Warwickshire). It had been on my Granny’s list as a place to visit for a while so Mothers Day seemed like the perfect occasion to treat her. In total, our party had four Mothers to celebrate and being a family who love food, the Butchers Arm was a good place to come. From the exterior it seems like a traditional British pub, and it is to some extent… other than the fact that it is run by a Portuguese family and a few other things I shall mention… However, it truly is a family run pub with at least two generations waiting and chatting with guests.
There was a huge selection of starters. After settling on whitebait my Aunt declared that I must try something different. “I rather fancy some nice whitebait” I thought (in my head) but gave her the benefit of the doubt and chose Duck the Oriental Gressingham Duck Salad – two duck cakes served with sweet hoi sin sauce and tossed dressed leaves.
I have been having a bit of a hankering for duck recently, however, I wish I had stuck with my initial choice and gone with the whitebait. Even more annoying was looking across the room (we had two tables because apparently it’s bad luck to had 13 people to one table) to see my Dad munching on a nice piece of whitebait looking very happy with himself. My brother had the same problem as me and we found the duck cakes to be quite dry, it really did need the sauce on the side… and more. However, everyone else was happy with their choices (especially Dad).
With it being Mothering Sunday there was a choice of a roast (chicken, lamb, beef, pork) and two fish dishes (sea bass and halibut). I went for the halibut which came with prawns, spinach, an asparagus creamy sauce and some delicious buttery potatoes. The asparagus seemed a little dull in colour but nevertheless tasted good. This was my first time having halibut so I would like to try it again before coming to a firm judgement but I couldn’t help but think it was a little dry.
After delivering my fish, and for the rest of my family, their meat, potatoes and yorkshire puddings, waiters came round with carrots and broccoli, serving it straight onto our plates. I really liked this little touch and the waiters were really chatty and friendly. These veggies were buttery and cooked to perfection. I had a taste of my Aunts beef and it was delicious but the gravy was already served onto the plates and my cousin who only likes a little gravy was a tad disappointed.
Puddings was something else. A waitress reeled off pudding after pudding – probably around 10 in total – which were served straight from a pudding table in the centre of the room. Usually the puddings go round on a trolly but the pub was so crammed that it had to be stationary. I went for a simple plate of strawberries and cream, the strawberries were huge and I would have liked some clotted cream but the double cream served did the trick. Others had meringues with caramel and strawberries and some had traditional Portuguese puddings.
The pub has lots of seating areas, indoors and out for coffees after eating which was just what we needed to kick back and let the meal go down. Dotted around, on the walls were signed photos of celebrities who had popped by for a meal at the pub. There was a huge amount of them and from what I gather, people have a real connection to the family who run the pub. This really makes for a great atmosphere; the service was quick and friendly and the staff were passionate about the food. I would like to head back here soon to try the à la carte menu as they have some great fish dishes that I hope are as good as those served in Portugal.
I would recommend The Butchers Arms for a relaxed and friendly meal. Despite my reservations I will be returning to order that whitebait!!!