The Grand Junction Arms has had a fabulous facelift – Naomi MacKay went to take a look around and try out the new menu.
With a prime position next to the Grand Union canal, the Grand Junction Arms at Bulbourne, Tring already had a lot going for it.
But with a new look – inside and out – and a tempting menu, it offers the perfect location, whether for a special meal, or a relaxing drink.
A member of the Oakman group (which also includes Tring’s The Akeman), the Grand Junction Arms has had a total revamp, with internal alterations opening up space for a larger dining area. On one side of the bar is another area, which is dog friendly – you can still eat here, so anyone with canine companions doesn’t have to miss out.
The interior is warm and welcoming, with an eclectic style that makes it look far more ‘special’ than your average pub, making it the ideal choice for a birthday or anniversary. And with mains starting at around £15, it’s not too pricey a choice just for a meal out of an evening.
What makes it really special though, is the service. If you are after restaurant service, with staff who are happy to help with recommendations for wines to go with each course, or suggestions from the menu – rather than just taking and bringing orders – this is the place to come.
I started with the Pea & Parmesan Risotto, which was full of flavour, while my companion had the smoked scallops, which were sweet and tender. Other choices from the starters included Yakitori Chicken and Single Gloucester Cheese Fritters.
The Grand Junction Arms is well known for its seafood (another table had pre-ordered the impressive Fruits de Mer with Whole Lobster, Oysters, Crab, Crevettes, Mussels), so it made sense to try the grilled lobster, which was delicious, as were the parmesan fries that accompanied it. The Rump Steak was also melt-in-the-mouth. Chicken Supreme, Goan King Prawn Curry and Pot Pie are among the other mains on offer.
We managed to squeeze in dessert – the Dark Chocolate Fondant oozed with a decadent filling, and the Syrup Sponge Pudding was light and sweet – and did indeed come with ‘Proper Custard’ as promised. We could have chosen Chocolate & Caramel Truffles or Pineapple & Passionfruit Mess – among others.
On our way out, we made our way down the stairs at the back to the outside seating area, which promises to be popular as the days get longer and warmer. A large covered area is made cosy with its ‘tented’ roof and climbing plants. And I’m sure the round benches around the firepit area will be considered a prime spot – and perfect for roasting marshmallows and chatting long into the evening. This area and the garden alongside the canal are all accessible thanks to the winding ramp down from the car park – and there are dining ‘Oakpods’ too – perfect for a chilly day.
We left already making plans to return – which is the best review we can give!