A cold bank holiday. The options:- stay at home and do housework or go “somewhere” (anywhere please … save me from housework!) and so I find myself on a day trip to Watchet. I say “day trip” but it was more of a “three hour” trip including travelling time … Watchet is an ancient harbour town, with a solid maritime and trading history. It is home to two Museums, one dedicated to boats and the other records the history of Watchet (with quite a few boats thrown in …), The West Somerset Railway also runs through the town, which is always a bonus. It is probably thanks to these plentiful trade-links that Watchet has several pubs … well there seemed to be quite a few to choose from anyway!
The Bell Inn looked quaint, but a forboding sign on the door told me that if I hadn’t booked a table for food I could forget it … The London Inn is almost directly opposite, the menu offered me a tuna and mayo baguette, but it’s best not to make a hasty decision until you’ve checked out the competition. The Esplanade Club didn’t sound or look very much like a pub; but apparently it is. It’s situated on the harbour, so I would imagine it’s a popular place to stop for a glass of something on a busy, sunny day – but today is cold and windy and I want to be snug indoors. The West Somerset Hotel looked interesting – but huge doors to the courtyard, high windows and peeling paintwork gave it a barren air, and although I’m sure there was a chalk sign offering real ales, there was no sign of atmosphere – I felt as if I was waiting for the tumbleweed to come by. From a distance The Anchor looked promising; lots of bunting and St George’s flags - it was the weekend after the Royal Wedding after all - however, on closer inspection the flags of St George were painted on and when the door was opened it looked like a dive. Hmmmm.
It looks like I am heading back to The London Inn. Via the scenic route i.e. through a housing estate. But wait … what’s this? Tucked down a side street just off the main drag through the town is The Star Inn, winner of an assortment of CAMRA awards – Most Friendliest Pub, Best Pub 2010 and Pub the Judge would most like to take home (or some such thing). Inside there are a lot of tables. An awful lot of tables. Plenty of real ales too. And Thatchers Gold.
A huge “Specials Board” and a printed menu but there are no sandwiches available, only proper meals. Luckily I spot that they offer a tuna salad served with a warm baguette. Ah ha. A DIY tuna baguette with assorted salad bits. I’m in my element. I snaffle all the mayonnaise sachets from the surrounding tables and get to work. A tuna, mayo and cucumber quarter baguette, a tuna, mayo and sweetcorn quarter baguette, a tuna, mayo and red onion quarter baguette and a tuna, mayo and full salad quarter baguette (although the latter is stashed in the handbag for later). Bliss!
Cider – 2 (Real Ale buffs – hmmph)
Tuna – 3 (Plenty of variety!)
Atmosphere – 2 (To be fair it was a cold and windy Sunday, the holidaymakers were safe caravans and the locals were probably snug at home)