So, the long awaited refurb and take over of the Pickhurst pub has finally been completed and in its place, the new Miller and Carter steak house has opened. I was lucky enough to be invited along to a pre-launch steak master class and lunch with their kitchen skills trainer Christian Stevenson. Christian explained to us, the passion and skill involved in producing the perfect steak – from ensuring red tractor welfare of the cattle, all the way through to hand butchering and allowing time for the ultimate steak to rest before cooking on their charbroiler. We were presented with an amazing display of ribeye, sirloin, chateaubriand, fillet and t-bone to try, along with the standard accompaniments of onion loaf, grilled tomato with a balsamic glaze, seasoned fries, steak sauce, and a pre-steak wedge of iceberg lettuce that arrives three minutes before the main meal with a choice of toppings (a slightly random and not quite so necessary accompaniment I found, but perhaps some will find this a palette cleanser before they take on the meat?). All of the steaks were of unquestionably good quality, with only 4% of the centre cuts from a cow being used by Miller and Carter from Fairfax Meadow Butchers (the rest going to other restaurants, retailers or supermarkets). For dessert, I chose the warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream – beautifully presented, but unfortunately a very heavy, claggy texture in the mouth – perhaps this should be served cold instead, or a chocolate fondant served in its place? I also had a sample of the lemon meringue roulade – a far lighter, superior dessert that was reasonably priced at only £5.75.
So, in answer to the frequently asked question of what I think of the new Miller and Carter, and how I think it compares to the old Pickhurst pub (famed for its local, reasonably priced carvery)…I was a little disappointed upon entering the main lounge bar area, that it didn’t in fact look overly different to what resided before – there are nicer lights, candles and a glass display area of champagnes and wines, with a reservations desk welcoming you in to the restaurant, however this 58 seated lounge bar area seems almost wasted as currently visitors are not welcome to buy a drink unless they are dining in the restaurant. Walk through to the new, 182 cover restaurant area though and you’ll see the new Hudson American steakhouse inspired booth style seating areas with red, low level lights, rich red carpets and glass partitioned 12 seater private dining area. A much warmer, stylish space, with doors leading out to a 90 seater alfresco dining terrace (some may be saddened to hear that the childrens play area has been removed) So in conclusion, I’d say this is a more premium offering to the local community – think Gaucho Grill but at a slightly lesser price, and if the bar is eventually opened up to non diners for cocktails and perhaps a light bites bar menu, then it should be somewhere that’s busy all through the week and at weekends too. If you like your steaks, and your red wine, I’d definitely give it a go.
Join the Miller and Carter steak club for a free glass of wine with any main course from the main menu http://www.millerandcarter.co.uk/offer/freeglassofwine/
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