DON’T PUT BABY IN THE CORNER (OF THE MAIDSTONE GASTROPUB)

12th November 2022.

Mrs RM arranged to meet an old work colleague who’d been left with childminding duties in the fair town of Maidstone.

Well, Bearsted, which is probably the posh quarter. Pauline will confirm.

Overlooking the attractive green, the White Horse looked dreadful, in a faux Brunning & Price way. AND we had to book.

Christmas decorations in mid November, sparkling wine glasses, high tables, smartly dressed people carrying dainty bags,

and what I can only describe as “a feathered thing on the wall“.

We were shown to a corner table where we had plenty of space and wouldn’t scare people.

Luckily I was driving, so avoided the cask (Landlord, I think) as Mrs RM went straight on the Gamma Ray in artisan Madri glass.

I suggested the posh Scotch Egg;

but apparently three girls aged 4, 2 and 6 months don’t like Proper Pub Food and wanted pasta without the sauce and chips.

You are smelly cause boys are smelly” said the oldest, who quickly became my best friend. I am, if I say so myself, good at entertaining children and it’s amazing how much fun can be hand on a mobile fun calculator when the battery on the I-Pad fails.

Food robber” shouted my new mate as I distracted her with a large multiplication and nicked her chips.

The White Horse staff were incredibly welcoming and patient, even when the chip throwing started, and I recommend them for service (and the burger).

But after a couple of hours, it was time to move (unexpectedly) on to more adult company. See if you can guess who from the snack clue.

Our whizz from east Maidstone to west, via the station, took about 20 minutes. Maidstone really is a horror show for drivers.

But, pulling up outside the Walnut Tree, there were signs of Proper Pub.

Their Facebook had suggested the Walnut Tree might be a family diner as well,

but nothing could be further from the truth. A simple, solid town boozer in the Kent tradition,

with Goacher’s beer and a winning way with apostrope’s.

The random bloke we’d just picked up from the station seemed pleased with it.

That’s him, trying to work out how far he can push his luck in seeking a lift to other remote Kentish ticks.

And what WYBMADIITY stands for…

10 thoughts on “DON’T PUT BABY IN THE CORNER (OF THE MAIDSTONE GASTROPUB)

  1. Bearsted, definitely posh, but better not call it a suburb, in case the locals get upset (Aylesford?).

    The White Horse featured in Richard Boston’s excellent book, Beer and Skittles, published in 1976. Boston used it as an example of a traditional village pub, receiving the full on “tart up” revamp, much against the wishes of the locals.

    Whitbread were the villains back then, but I see from What Pub that Mitchell and Butler’s are the owners now.

    I haven’t been in the pub since I moved away from Maidstone (mid-80’s), but your comments about the Brunning & Price makeover, and having to book, aren’t encouragement for a return visit.

    You did the right thing by escaping to the Walnut Tree!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d thought about having lunch with our friend and 3 young children in the Walnut Tree, imagining it as a family pub, but they were only doing Scotch eggs or something, so the White Horse actually worked.

      To their credit, the young staff at the White Horse were really welcoming.

      Like

    2. Paul,
      I’ve looked it up and it’s an interesting 3½ pages in his ‘Beer and Skittles’ book.
      I remember buying the Guardian every Saturday from 1973 for a few years to get his ‘Boston on Beer’ columns, many of which formed the basis for his book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Stafford Paul, I’ve also looked up the reference to the White Horse, in Boston’s book, and many of the points he was making then, still ring true today.

        A student friend tipped me off about Richard Boston’s Guardian column and, like yourself, I made a point of buying a copy, every Saturday. It’s hard to believe, looking back, how little information on beer, breweries and pubs there was out there, at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Paul,
      “It’s hard to believe, looking back, how little information on beer, breweries and pubs there was out there, at the time” – yes, but interest in beer was only really just starting.
      ‘Boston on Beer’, Frank Baillie’s ‘The Beer Drinker’s Companion, the 1974 GBG and early What’s Brewings were SO important.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The young staff at my firm’s Christmas bash – the one I may have picked up the plague from, did a brilliant job, and that that extends right across the range. From bar-staff, kitchen staff and waiting staff, the service and standards were exemplary, on what must have been an extremely busy and hectic day, for all concerned. There were three separate sittings, for a start so think of the work involved in clearing and re-setting the tables, for a start.

    People are very quick to offer criticism, when the slightest thing goes wrong, but all the staff who were on duty at the Little Brown Jug, performed brilliantly to ensure every guest enjoyed a meal and an experience to remember.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One thing I’ll no doubt say in my year-end review is how cheery and efficient bar staff are in spite of all the challenges and their employers they face. I read criticism that they don’t engage or engage too much but my experience in over 800 pubs this year has been almost entirely positive.

      Like

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