If ever there was a pub that could lay claim to being an
institution in Chiang Mai, it is the pub known simply as ‘The Pub’. It has
been on Huay Keaw Road for around 30 years, so is certainly no ‘Johnny come
lately’! However, like all well established venues, it has also had its fair
share of ups and downs. 2003 was not one of The Pub’s better years, but now
with a new manager in the person of long time hostelry professional Grahame
Quinn, we went along to see where The Pub was heading in 2004.
For those who have not been there, despite its 30 year
history, the building is set back from the road, with its own gardens and
scattered garden settings. However, on entering the building itself, you are
stepping back into the days of the old pubs in England. Dark, low ceilings,
roughly hewn wood beams, flintlock rifles above the ‘fireplace’, horse
brasses and old photographs on the walls. I have stood in many of these in the
UK. And like its UK counterparts, there are the ‘regulars’ sitting and
standing around the bar, discussing everything of note that week. And again,
there is the omnipresent Grahame, making sure that it runs smoothly, as all good
publicans do, while the very cheery bar staff keep everyone in their libations.
there is more to The Pub than just the bar. There is a dining section, down a
few steps, and then another air-conditioned sports bar area where all the major
sports are covered, including Aussie Rules, said Grahame.
The menu is predominantly UK style food, but there is also a
page of Thai favourites (B. 75-85 for the majority). Bar snacks are generally
under B. 100 and include Welsh Rarebit and Toasties. There are three soups (B.
75-85) and a selection of pies and burgers (B. 110-135).
Sixteen main course choices include a vegetarian lasagne (B.
120) and a grilled salmon steak (B. 210). There are three steak choices, all at
B. 320, with the meats imported from NZ and Australia. Pork schnitzel is also on
offer at B. 155, with the cod and chips B. 145. Other very British items are the
Bangers and Mash (B. 110), pork chops (B. 155) and a London beef stew for the
same price. The prices all include the VAT.
Wines are generally under B. 750 and embrace Chilean,
Californian, South African and Australian, with the two Hardy’s selections in
the reds and whites great value at B. 650.
Grahame plied us with different items from his kitchen,
asking for an honest appraisal of the food on offer. To show the British
heritage has not been forgotten, the smiling waitress brought out a classic
Bangers and Mash, a classic fish and chips and a classic grilled lamb chops
complete with chips and green garden peas.
The Bangers were good heavy traditional English style
sausages and the mashed potatoes done properly. The fish was a traditional
battered cod with excellent chips, and the lamb chops came with the traditional
mint sauce. The fact that three empty plates were returned to the kitchen was
testament enough to the fact that we enjoyed all of them.
Grahame then insisted we have the desserts, despite my
protestations. However, Madame did a sterling job with the apple pies and the
mango cheese cake!
Grahame said “We are a pub that sells food, not a
restaurant that sells beer.” I would like to change that somewhat. The Pub is
really a restaurant that sells food, AND a pub that sells beer! Sometimes you
can get the best of both worlds. The Pub must go close! This is certainly one
venue on the way back up again. If you have not been for a while, I suggest you
pop down for a pint or two, and stay for dinner. You won’t go home hungry.
The Pub, 189 Huay Keaw Road (just past the Rincome intersection heading
outbound), Chiang Mai, telephone 053 211 550, fax 053 224 180. Parking within
the grounds. Open 5 p.m. till late weekdays, noon till late weekends. Closed