BOUGH BEECH BEAUTIES

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Another one Paul will know, one stop (Penshurst) up the line and then a brisk walk.

Bough Beech

Never heard of Bough Beech either, though clearly the well-to-do diners of west Kent and visitors to the National Trust honeypots of Chartwell and Emmetts know where to get their Prosciutto di San Daniele and Fricassee of woodland mushrooms.

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Must be old, it’s wobbly

You’ll know I’m a sucker for medieval pubs with suits of armour, tables set for diners in suits and pashminas, Le Mans posters, and inoffensive R & B.*

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Don’t open his visor
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NOT bench seating
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Cars of some sort

No, really I am. It’s no different from the Wykeham, really.

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Shiny hand pumps

Now, I quite like the Westerham beers, despite weekly re-branding, but I wanted to test whether the beer world love-in with Harvey’s Sussex is justified once you leave the cosy homelands of Lewes and Borough.

I took the only seat not occupied by diners, a high table near the bar.

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Look good in a pub guidebook, this one

A couple of gentlefolk were enjoying an aperitif (whatever that is) in front of the fire, reminiscing about Venice and it was a peaceful 5 minutes with an adequate Best (NBSS 3).  I doubt the occasional ale drinker would know what the fuss was about, mind.

As I left the last couples were being called through to the restaurant, which is what the Wheatsheaf is.  It’s no doubt a cracker of a restaurant, a Brunning & Price of a restaurant, in fact.

*That’s a joke

 

 

 

24 thoughts on “BOUGH BEECH BEAUTIES

  1. Hmm, yeah. Sometimes I’m glad you do some of these pubs so that I don’t have to. Looks nice from the outside though and I’m not averse to a fricassee of wild mushrooms.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Must be old, it’s wobbly”

    That explains all you lot with your dodgy knees you were all going on about in an earlier post. 🙂

    “Look good in a pub guidebook, this one”

    (nods)

    “(whatever that is)”

    I think it’s a palate cleanser to make the taste of that ‘Dan’s Woody mushrooms’ all the more succulent. 😉

    “*That’s a joke”

    If you have to explain it…

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another restaurant that sells beer. Hey, I’ve got an open fire in my house too. If I start brewing in the cellar, install a tap and sell it at extortionate prices, do I get in the GBG too?

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  4. We tried the Wheatsheaf once for lunch (after National Trust visit no doubt ) & were very annoyed that we were forced to have table service ,which we hate as it inevitably incurs a service charge.The food was pricey too so being tight Tykes, we will not return

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      1. Carveries are the new canteens – but at least you can pile the broccoli as high as you like on your plate, which you will only do if it’s cooked to perfection.

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      2. I absolutely do want proper table service in a restaurant – this perhaps purports to be a pub.

        That means taking your order at the table, but another essential is that there is always someone watching the room, in case you need anything else. The Italian for “waiter” is “cameriere”, and that implies one who attends to the room. There’s generally always someone on hand in such places.

        Being approached whilst chewing your first mouthful, and then being asked “is everything all right for you?” before the questioner’s disappearing, does not amount to that. The correct answer would be “when I have eaten everything, then I will let you know”, but in an amiable manner. The system is not the waiter or the waitress’s fault.

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      3. Etu,
        Yes, there’s something special about “proper table service in a restaurant”, so special that when I were a lad use of a restaurant was perhaps an annual event.
        Those dreadful American “fast food” cafeterias shouldn’t have hijacked the term “restaurant”.

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      4. Yes Paul, that rings true.

        But I think that the problem is one of culture rather than of cost, and you perhaps touched on something with the American connection.

        Italian restaurants and curry houses are not the most expensive, but there’s usually someone on hand, and without the corporate questioning either.

        Few of the irritations of day-to-day life – from Trick or Treat, to zero-alcohol-during-the-working-day employment contracts – originate from European culture, when you think about it

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      1. Not my point really -I am happy to order food at the bar & get extra drinks when I want,not when the waiter /waitress comes to ask -ie I like to be in control -at the end of the day its a pub not a restaurant

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Give the money to the people who cook the food” but Tim already pays his ‘kitchen’ staff more than his bar staff.

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      3. My key point, Pauline, is that with proper service, the serving staff do not make an occasional visit to the room to ask diners anything, nor pester them in any way at all. There would always be someone on hand, for *you* to ask, should you want something, such as another drink.

        If pubs don’t offer that, then they should not claim to be quality restaurants in my opinion.

        Yes, the diner should be completely in control.

        There is absolutely a need for competitively-priced, canteen-style eateries too. I would make fond use of them, rather than cook quite as often as I do.

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  5. The Wheatsheaf was closed for a while (around 2013) as the previous owners also owned the Leicester Arms in Penshurst. The Wheatsheaf is now owned by the Westerham Brewery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Charlie, I really should have gone for Westerham, then. I have been to the Leicester Arms with in-laws, very similar. Attractive restaurant, unpubby. Not sure you’d expect anything else round there.

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  6. On our recent Kent and Sussex tour we only had two beers that were served in condition. Here was one of them. Beautiful building though. Generally quality has been consistently good in the new entries, borne out by your own scoring.

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    1. Do you mean two beers in condition or out of condition, Duncan ? This was an NBSS 3- but I guess these things vary by the hour.

      I’m tempting fate, but I’ve had some wonderful beer since the new GBG came out, much more than below par. For context, I thought beer across those St Albans pubs was average but decent.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Charlie the cab has already stated what I was going to say about the Wheatsheaf, but it’s worth noting that a considerable amount of money was required to restore this 16th Century inn to its former glory.

    Westerham Brewery are certainly involved with the pub, although I’m not sure whether they own it outright. The last time I was in, which was the summer before last, the Westerham Spirit of Kent was decidedly below par. My local CAMRA branch were responsible for the Wheatsheaf’s inclusion in the guide. I didn’t attend the selection meeting, but presumably the beer scores must have been OK.

    It’s definitely more of a restaurant than a pub, and as Pauline has pointed out it’s conveniently sited for visits to the surrounding National Trust properties – hence the “retired people that lunch”. There aren’t many chimney pots in Bough Beech, so it’s not surprising the new owners have gone after the passing food trade.

    Despite this, it’s nice to see the building restored and open to the public, and if you visit in summer, as I did, there’s a lovely garden attached where you an sit and enjoy your pint in peace, without having to concern yourself with the diners.

    ps. The Wheatsheaf is just five minutes’ drive from my workplace, but it’s not a place any of us would consider for a lunchtime drink.

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