Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Pyne’s Bar, The Bedford Hotel, Sidmouth

This year I won’t be staying at my usual hotel for Sidmouth for Folk Fest. Instead I’m going to save some money and have booked somewhere cheaper. However, being wary that the place might turn out to be not of my normal standard the decision was taken to go on a recce this weekend to check it out …

And so it is that I find myself getting blown along the Promenade at Sidmouth. Seriously, it’s incredibly windy, the waves are angry and I’m starting to get cold … Having reached the end of the Prom I’m really looking forward to the walk back, when the wind won’t be in my face!  After being forced up Jacob’s Ladder (a very high and open set of steps that lead me to whinge all the way up that I might get blown away) I manage to get out of the wind to admire the Connaught Gardens and then it’s back to the cold of the Prom again.  And now it’s also starting to rain … time to seek shelter.

Normally when I come to Sidmouth my pub of choice is The Ship in Old Fore Street – the food and choice of cider are excellent. But today I’m persuaded that a window seat in The Bedford Hotel with a view of the sea would be a perfect way to enjoy the town without getting cold and wet.

I’ve been to The Bedford before a few times, it’s a reasonable enough venue during Folk Fest – I’ve never had occasion to eat here though, eating is more of an afterthought when you are concentrating on the music and taking photographs of the sock and sandal combinations …

And so to the bar … I must admit that I usually frequent The Bedford later on in the evening when I visit Sidmouth, and by then I’ve already sampled a variety of ciders in the other establishments in town.  So it comes as a shock to discover that the only cider on offer is … Thatcher’s Gold.  I’m seriously starting to dislike the sight of that name on a pump now.  Gold seems to be taking over from Strongbow and Blackthorn as the must-have cider for Landlords. And whilst anything has to be better than the aforementioned fizzy rubbish it does seem to be at the expense of some of Thatcher’s other offerings – Katy for example. Why do so many pubs seem to think having a cider on draught and some bottles of Magners and Bulmers is enough to keep the cider drinkers happy? 

And breathe and relax, I take a seat by the window from where I can survey the weather buffeting the more hardier souls and consult the menu.  It’s a very posh menu – smoked haddock served on a bed of spinach, golden fried fish and chips with peas and tartare sauce or soup served with a cheese sandwich for the princely sum of £8.00.  There’s a selection of sandwiches too – but of course, we are now in Lyme Bay … so no Tuna on the menu.  Instead it’s crab.   It arrives promptly, with a nice dressed salad garnish and a handful of crisps. All jolly tasty, but not tuna … I do like my tuna.   Ah well ... roll on July when  I can get back to The Ship and decent cider!

Cider – 2 (I’m getting totally fed up of Gold) 
Tuna 0 – but (3) for my crab sandwich 
Atmosphere 2 – the pensioners seem to love it, but for me it’s not the same without the sound of flute, ukulele and bodhran.

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