Pub Food At Its Finest At Stanhope Arms -Burton Upon Trent
You can never really expect great food from a pub. Due to a number of reasons; high turnover of staff, crap training, below quality ingredients, and dealing with high demand. It is basically a losing battle.
Most of the time your best bet when you are eating in a pub, is to go for safe foods. A burger is always my go to as if you are getting cooking a burger wrong, even when your cooking expertise is just beans on toast, then just go home.
So it’s always a pleasant surprise when you push the boat out a little when dining at a pub and go for something other than just a burger or pizza and it pays off.
And that is what happened when I went to eat at the Stanhope Arms.
It was a Saturday morning. I had a light breakfast on this day so I could fill myself with lunch. With it being on the way to Burton it wasn’t too much out of the way.
Going into Burton currently is a nightmare! One of the bridges is down for repairs. I felt the pain of this the day after when dropping a friend of at home and I was stuck in traffic for over 40 mins.
It was beyond painful.
Pulling up to the Stanhope Arms you have no problem finding yourself a space to park. With car parking spaces next to the pub, a few spaces directly in front and a car park over the road there is plenty of spaces to choose from.
Next to the Stanhope Arms is a Premier Inn which is why I guess they have provided so many parking spaces for both us eaters and the sleepers.
At the time I visited, at about midday, there was hardly anyone in the Stanhope Arms. There were a few people at the front of the pub who looked like they were beginning the session. As I walked to the back of the pub where their designated eating area was, there were a few more people around.
A few families coming out for something to eat, couples on a date… not sure why they were dating at midday. Seemed a bit unusal really. I tend to save my dating for the evening rather than midday. I guess they were looking at speeding things up, getting down to it earlier in the day so they could go home before Eastenders is on.
With the help of a really friendly waiter, I positioned myself in a corner, out of the way of the other diners so I could take photos without anyone thinking that I was a wannabe insta-famous person.
I think I was quite lucky coming to eat at the Stanhope Arms when I did. They had some sort of limited edition menu for people to try other than their regular food that you see in pubs day in and day out.
As always, my mind was thinking that it would be rude not to try something on this new menu. And it looked like I was spoilt for choice really.
The two starters I was weighing up were the duck parcel or the Mac and cheese with beef. Both sounded like something that I would love to try. The teriyaki sauce is the draw with the duck parcel. And Mac and cheese with BEEF. Who wouldn’t say yes?
So it was the Mac and Cheese that I went for.
The main was a little easier to pick due to not a lot of the choices catching my eye and I ended up picking the beef stout cobbler. Not quite a steak and ale pie so I thought that I could allow myself a review on this. And the bubble and squeak and mixed green veg sounded a lot different to what is usually served in a pub.
There was a bit of a wait for my food. I had some work to do so I wasn’t too bothered. There was no clock watching for me so I was happy when I looked up and saw my food arriving.
The mac and cheese was presented to me in a small bowl. The sauce that came with it had a tinge of red, where the paprika seasoning had invaded and changed the colour.
Top marks. Apart from the one little thing that let it down.
The mac was nicely cooked, no overcooked pasta. The cheese sauce was delicious, creamy and a nice edge from the paprika which gave it the whole dish a little something more interesting.
The beef though. Where was the beef?!
I was halfway through my meal when I remembered that it was suppose to have beef in it.
It was an apple on my head moment.
As I had not come across any so far I went on the adventure to find some. I was utterly disappointed to find that in the whole dish it had one piece of beef in it. One lonely piece.
Im not sure if this is some sort of marketing ploy, where they can make the dish sound more attractive by saying it has beef in it. But only putting a token piece it in to save money. Whatever the excuse, it was pretty poor.
However, if there were more beef bits in there it may have been one of the best starters that I have eaten, as the beef was tender and succulent. Definitely something that was slowly cooked to make it soft and juicy.
With the mac and cheese you also got two little pieces of bread which was a nice addition to dip into the delightful cheese sauce.
The beef cobbler was a bit of a surprise really.
Compared to the starter is was the complete opposite in regards to the meat. In the bowl, where the dumpling sat, which were ok (i’m not a big fan of dumpling so I’m not going to comment on this) there was plenty of beef.
They certainly haven’t skimped on the amount of beef they serve with this cobbler. The accompanying gravy that came with the beef was thick and rich which gave the dumplings a lot more flavour when dipped in it, which made it work for me.
The main surprise with this meal was the veg that came with it. Usually with pub food, you get the veg served in a separate dish, and is the usual; cauliflower, carrot, potato etc.
The veg with this was totally different. I had mixed green vegetables which contained of broccoli, mange tout and green beans. And bubble and squeak which really made the dish.
I loved what they had done with this dish.
This is definitely up there with one of the best meals that I have had.
Good honest food. Nothing complex.
Dem Toilet Reviews
The toilets in the Stanhope Arms are nothing notable. With earth coloured tiles on the walls and black tiles on the floor, they had really seen better days.
It felt to me that they were the kind of toilets that the person who cleaned them, really didn’t want to clean them at all. Giving them a lick around the edges and cleaning any dirt that was standing out in your face.
When I went in there was some strange staining under the urinal which could have been bleach damage to the tiles or someone had acid urine and had totally missed the bowl.
With a review on Trip Advisor shortly after my meal highlighting that there was a 40% off voucher I was gutted. Any chance to save the pennies and I’m all over it.
Their review was a negative one, complaining about being put into the darkest corner when there was loads of seats around and that the bill was still expensive with the 40% voucher.
At the end of their review they mentioned that McDonalds would have been a better choice.
In regards to seating that is a odd one. Im guessing the only reason I can think of for the behaviour is due to the other tables being booked for other customers.
I would really be interested in what meals they had if they thought they were awful because i’m sure if they had the same dishes I had, there would be no complaints.
And if they were complaining about the price even when they got 40% they really should be at McDonald’s as I thought the price was reasonable even when I paid full price.
Another review mentioned that they received the wrong order and that they were eating their dessert with their dirty plates from their starters and mains still on their table.
For myself, this was not a problem. The lack of beef in the starter was the only disappointment in my whole meal and the only thing that I could point out as “wrong.” And if the plates really weren’t taken away for their desserts, that really is just rude.
Overall my meal at the Stanhope Arms was a pleasant surprise. I had no idea the food was going to be that nice. Great job with that. If you are after pub food then the Stanhope Arms is a place that I would recommend.
Service – 7.5
Value – 8
Food – 8.5
Overall – 80%
Telephone Number – 01283 219568