The Britannia, Guildford.
There is nothing more comforting than walking into a cosy traditional pub in the winter. Stepping out from the cold into a warm, dimly lit pub, with the smell of mulled wine in the air and the sound of general chatter filling the air.
On Friday 8th December, the VantagePoint team decided a traditional Christmas lunch in a traditional English pub was in order. We stepped out of the wind and rain and into the pub, where we all received a warm and friendly welcome.
Upon arrival the bar staff were very helpful and pointed out what the spirit of the week was, it was a sour cherry gin that they paired it with an elder flower tonic. Having done a gin pairing a few weeks previous to this, the Britannia staff had all tried the drink and were able to give their honest opinion on what it was like. You didn’t need to ask us twice; we ordered a round of those and they went down a treat!
We were shown to our table which was decorated with Christmas crackers, a lovely touch. We were then asked if we were ready for our starters. A few weeks beforehand we had chosen our meals and returned detailing our selection with our names. This enabled the team to bring out the starters as well and state who it was for, adding another personal touch and avoiding confusion.
Jesse and Lauren opted for the celeriac and parsnip soup which was piping hot, well-seasoned and a generous size. Myself and Marcus had the potted crab and smoked salmon served with sour dough toast. The potted crab was delicious and complimented well by the smoked salmon ensuring the flavour was not too overpowering. The toast allowed for a variety of textures making it a good addition. Stefan went for the chicken and clementine pate. Now Stefan is a native Frenchman, I think that we can all agree his assertion that the pate was, “Not too bad at all” is high praise indeed for The Britannia.
As our meals were being prepared the team noticed we were looking at the wine list, we were recommended a red wine that none of us were familiar with. The ‘Helmsman’ a Cabernet Merlot which suited the main course very well.
Four out of the five of us opted for traditional roast turkey with all of the trimmings, we have a generous serving of succulent and juicy carved turkey breast, accompanied by roast potatoes which has a barbeque like seasoning. They were lovely and crunchy on the outside and fluffy on this inside. The gravy was thick and again brilliantly seasoned and there was no issue when we had request more, it was brought over immediately. We were given a selection of vegetables placed in the middle of the table so people could help themselves. The vegetables were cooked to perfection! Still a bit of crunch and there were plenty to go around.
Lauren decided to go for the beetroot and red onion tart tatin- a sizable tart served on a bed of fresh salad and watercress leaves, pickled fennel, crumbled feta and cranberries Lauren remarked a several times how well the flavours worked together. The dish was finished off with Brussel sprout leaves and toasted pumpkin seeds, again adding another dimension to the dish.
To finish we had a selection of deserts: baked vanilla cheesecake, traditional boozy Christmas pudding, warm triple chocolate brownie and blackcurrant delice. Each one was beautifully presented and came with an accompaniment to suit. For example, the Christmas pudding was served with clotted cream, and the brownie was served with honeycomb ice cream and sticky salted caramel sauce. It was clear that thought had gone into the dish to ensure the flavours and textures suited one another.
After we had finished our food we were informed we would need to give up our table as it was needed for another party, so a member of the team asked if we would like to have a table reserved in another part of the pub to ensure we could stay if we wanted to.
It was a lovely afternoon and a brilliant meal. The organisation was brilliant and the whole experience flowed very well, plates were cleared quickly and there was great communication from the team, in relation to know when courses were being prepared and interesting facts about the pub. The decorations in the pub were classy and subtle but still enough to make it feel very festive. The fireplaces either end of the pub also helped add the cosy factor to the visit! A great pub and as a team we can’t wait to return!
For more information call: 01483 572 160