I should, perhaps, begin by declaring an interest.
‘The Curlew’ is my ‘local’, it lies a ten minute walk from home (although maybe fifteen minutes back). I attended on the night it opened (back in October 1988) and, as a firm believer in ‘use it or lose it’, I have drunk in ‘The Curlew’ at least once a week (vacations excepted) since 1988.
I used to run – with my mate Jon Cheese – General Knowledge quizzes on Thursday evenings for over ten years.
Over the past nearly thirty years ‘The Curlew’ has had what could be described as a ‘patchy’ history, probably ten different sets of hosts have stood behind the bar, and while it’s never been a bustling pub, somehow it’s survived until now.
The future now looks bright, Shepherd Neame undertook a major refurbishment late in 2016 and the newly refurbished interior is more welcoming with ‘heritage’ lighting and new dark wood furniture.
Part of the bar can now be isolated, and is available for parties and functions. It’s used by local groups for meetings, providing a much-needed ‘community hub’ in the south-west of the Town.
Different hosts have tried different food offerings over the years, ranging from cheesey chips, burgers, and ‘East End Pie & Mash’, through full roast dinners.
The new hosts (Russ & Louise) announced recently that a new chef (Lee) was joining the team – from a well respected Essex restaurant – and that they would be offering quality, locally sourced food, with provenance.
I took my daughter and her husband down a few weeks ago to try lunch, and we enjoyed wonderful burgers, all with triple cooked chips, my beef-burger topped with bacon and locally smoked cheese (I know the guy who smokes the cheese for them), with a delicious homemade chilli jam.
I’ve also taken the opportunity to try the Sunday Roast dinners, the pub is getting increasingly busy; for the first time in nearly thirty years it’s becoming necessary to book.
My Falafel starter was tasty, with a roast tomato dip, my main course of Roast Beef with all the trimmings was delicious.
The Beef was tender and tasty, the roast potatoes crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside, and the side vegetables fresh and well-cooked.
The dessert – Honeycomb & Chocolate cheesecake? Well as I’ve written here on many occasions, I don’t ‘do’ desserts, but I enjoyed a taster a few weeks ago and it was little short of amazing.
My lunchtime companion – Jeremy – who’d also ordered the cheesecake simply said “Wow!”.
So, a true local pub with welcoming hosts, a good selection of beer and exotic spirits and excellent food. What’s not to like?