Boxmoor’s The Fishery Inn has had a makeover just in time for Christmas – Naomi MacKay went to take a look around and try out the new menu.
It was chilly when we arrived for a special preview of the recently refurbished Fishery Inn, so we were thrilled to discover a number of real fires keeping it cosy inside.
Before we sat down to sample the food, we got a drink from the bar and explored the building. The cosy feel is echoed in the deep green and orange palette of the decor, and there’s a variety of booths, alcoves and intimate seating areas, offering the perfect choice of comfy spots to sit, whether you are with a friend or in a small group.
There’s seating outside too, some right along the canal, which will be lovely in the summer, along with the new Heron Suite. This glass room, which sits beside the water, has a retractable roof for sunny days as well as heaters to make it cosy.
Then on to the food! We just had to try the Our Sticky Pig Sharer, with Home-made Copper Maran scotch egg, Cumberland game & sausage roll, cider pork & bramley apple bon bons, slow-cooked pork belly bites, brown sauce, golden beetroot piccalilli, and pickled pink onion. All delicious and perfectly offset by the accompaniments.
I had the sticky beef dumpling, and although the dough was a little heavy, the filling was heavenly.
We also tried the Chicken Liver & Brandy Parfait with Pine nut & pumpkin seed crumb, fig, pear & white balsamic coulis, toasted ciabatta, which didn’t disappoint.
We could have chosen the chipotle sticky chicken, which our lovely server said was her favourite, or panko breaded brie among other offerings.
My rib-eye steak was cooked just as I had asked, and as promised was juicy and bursting with flavour. The peppercorn sauce – which can often be a tad bland – was anything but! And the thick-cut chips were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
My companion wanted something a little lighter (leaving room for dessert) and opted for the Smoked Haddock Florentine Fishcakes with Poached Copper Maran egg, lemon velouté, and sautéed spinach, which she said was really flavourful.
We managed to squeeze in dessert – again, my friend went for the lighter option of Sicilian Lemon Posset with lighter than light vanilla sable biscuits – the perfect refreshing end to a meal. I, as always, chose the sticky toffee pudding, which was delicious, and set off perfectly with a honeycomb ice cream.
The Lemon Meringue, Raspberry And Salted Caramel Cheesecake Trio, and Brioche Bread & Butter Pudding, Devon custard, and hot toffee sauce sounded tempting too.
There’s a good smattering of vegetarian options on the main menu, but the Fishery Inn also offers a full vegan menu, including Roasted Chickpea & Carrot Falafel with Creamy hummus, slow-roasted tomato tapenade and ciabatta, Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza with Red pepper sauce, wild rocket, cous cous, Violife creamy, and pomegranate, and Blackcurrant Mousse with Biscuit base, fresh strawberries, and blackcurrant compôte.
Starters prices begin at £6.75 and mains mostly hover around the £15 price mark – give or take a pound or three, though my steak was £26.95. So it’s more than ‘pub grub’ prices but the surroundings and service make it a great choice for a special meal out.
If it’s alcohol you’re cutting out for the evening, you can still indulge in something better than a fizzy drink or juice – with signature sodas, and no alcohol ciders and gins on the menu. My friend, who was the designated driver, enjoyed her gin and tonic and said she felt like she wasn’t missing out!
The £750,000 renovation has taken a month – and they have done wonders in that time, creating the perfect place to go for a relaxed drink or a meal in special surroundings.
The Fishery Inn opens to the public on Saturday 3 December. www.thefisheryinnhemelhempstead.co.uk