. . . and it is still chucking it down, blowing up a blast and generally behaving more like March than June. It was a very pleasant evening yesterday and I was hoping it might have continued on into today but no!
My guests pottered off to Oaklands Museum (or, more accurately, Chelmsford Museums at Oaklands Park) and came back a while later to say it was very good but crowded with children on some sort of holiday scheme so they didn't stay as long as they expected. Definitely one to go back to though, so I'm glad their time was not completely wasted.
In the evening we went out for a meal. As my friend, Julie, and I have been to the Hare at Roxwell a few times for lunch and have enjoyed it, I decided to take my friends there. There's a bit of family history with the Hare: in the olden days (i.e. when the children were young), my son was friendly with the son of the people who ran it when it was called the Hare and Hounds and he played round there quite a lot one summer. Later, as older teenagers, both worked there at weekends. One of my cul de sac neighbours was actually managing the pub at the time and remembers them (such a small world, isn't it?).
Anyhow, in we went and sat down. When the lady (we suspect the manager) came up she explained that they had introduced a 'small plate' menu. So many people were so apologetic they they had not finished their regular plateful that she had introduced this as an experiment with a limited range of dishes which she intended to expand on should it prove a success. Well, this was right up our street and we said so. The number of times we have asked for 'a small portion, please' when we're eaten out, only to be brought a huge plate 'filled up and running over'. Sometimes we've had our fill and it looks as if we have eaten nothing at all. Such a shocking waste which rather spoils the evening for us, being reasonable frugal mortals!
There were two starters, five mains, desserts were the same as the main menu, and a list of drinks, so yes, a restricted choice, but we were pleased with our choices, the food (as always) was very tasty, piping hot, properly cooked and there was just enough for us to feel pleasantly satisfied but not uncomfortable. They don't do adventurous cooking, it's good, 'plain' pub fare. We went for the fish goujons with 'hand cut chipos' (bit affected, that) and peas or steak with oven roasted tomatoes and new potatoes. Joy of joys, they had strawberries and cream as a dessert choice so we all went for that.
I know some people expect to get absolutely stuffed when they eat out but none of us like the over full feeling at all, so this meal was a delight. And, looking around discreetly, out of the eight tables that were in use, four had people eating from small plates, so I very much hope they will feel that it is worth keeping and expanding. Such a good idea!
So if you live around Chelmsford and like pub food, served pleasantly, piping hot and tasty and not too much of it, do give the Hare a try. It's out on the Roxwell road, immediately after the first turning to Roxwell - you can't miss it. We will definitely be going back there, sooner rather than later, I hope.
I ought to add that I haven't been asked to write this by the Hare management, they don't know that I am doing a little review on my blog and I have received no recompense of any kind for it.