Brother Ben and Saray Mackay are emigrating tomorrow. To New Zealand. Where they will enjoy, amongst other things, Fush and Chups at sux. Ben, or ‘Bin’ as he will henceforth be known in NZ, is a surgeon and apparently a beach house in Christchurch, more money, world class training and a massive plot of land is a more attractive proposition than the NHS, a daily 100 mile commute and a rented flat near Telford.
Saray Mackay is going to have a baby there in October. A little boy that could one day play rugby for New Zealand, England, Ireland or Spain. Given his Dad’s rugby prowess, Spain is more likely than the All Blacks, but you never know.
So yesterday I got the train down to Hereford (I am retiring Polly the Polo), for a ‘Last Supper’.
Mum booked ‘The Tram in Eardisley’. And I was gutted. The Tram is 50 yards down the road from my parents house and to quote my father in the not to distant past ‘will do you a nice sandwich. If there’s a darts match on’. Brilliant. They could have chosen the Stag at Titley, 3 miles down the road which as any good foodie will know was the first pub in Britain to win a Michelin Star.
And there was no darts match on.
But a bloke called Mike took the tram over a couple of months ago, and he used to run a bar in Finchley. In LONDON. Thats a big deal for the good folks of Eardisley. So Mum was excited. So I tried to be excited. And do you know what, it was really really good. Not as good as The Prince of Wales in Putney, but nowhere is. And it is a third of the price.
Mike is a great pub landlord- engaging, friendly and knew everyones name…. after 2 months…. It took me 8 years to confidently greet, Sue, Paul, Mike, Julia and the rest of the Eardisley glitterati, lovely as they all are…..
The tram is exactly what you want from an English village pub- good cask ales, a short but reasonable wine list, friendly service and simple seasonal food, done well. I obviously ordered the home made scotch egg followed by the calves liver because these are 2 of my all time favourite things to eat. The Scotch egg was the only slight miss amongst a plethora of hits- a bit stale, cold and without the holy grail of scotch eggs, a soft yolk. A scotch egg hot from the fryer, with richly seasoned quality sausage meat and crispy golden breadcrumbs and oozing yolk is manna. Serve it the next day from the fridge and its just cold protein with the faint whiff of service station fare about it. The homemade chutney, served with it however was excellent.
The calves liver was exceptional- served pink as requested with faultless fluffy, buttery mash and little nuggety batons of the most flavourful salty, smokey bacon that I think I have had. I nailed it. Sharpish. From where I was sitting, guarding my liver- everything else looked pretty good too, though the hand cut chips on the next table looked a little aneamic for my liking. I should actually apologise to the next table for 2 reasons- firstly, my father demanding that they control their ‘little brat’ like some modern day Mr Bumble and secondly for the scatological based guffawing that abounded after Ben and I decided that his (Mr Bumble’s) complaints to Ryan Air about charging for toilet breaks, should take the form of a dirty protest.
You probably had to be there.
So, thanks Mike- I hope you live out the rest of your days, running The Tram in Eardisley and that the villagers know how lucky they are to have you and your team.
The Tram: 8 out of 10
*Just remembered that I was too full for pudding, but saw that the chocolate brownie came with homemade mint ice cream. So I just ordered some homemade mint ice cream. Awesomeness. And almost worth the three and a half hour drive from London by itself.