DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

The Pub

More than a pub that sells food!

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.

However, 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. Highly recommended.

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 Mondays.