LISTEN, I’m not about to tell you that The Brewhouse is your “must go” restaurant for 2012. It is not.
This is not cordon bleu cuisine. It is not Michelin star stuff. It is not fashionable. But it is good.
I won’t lie. This place is not a million miles from my house. It is probably not even a million millimetres. But that is not to say this is not a valid review.
Since it reopened about two years ago, what was formerly the Cheetham Arms has garnered a fair reputation for good, honest food, and, with this in mind, I felt it was about time it was given a proper once-over for this page.
On the same night as Bolton Wanderers met Macclesfield in the FA Cup third round replay in front of 9,466 hardy fans, the place was probably about as quiet as the Reebok.
But then, just as you don’t expect a buzzing atmosphere for a cup tie against League Two opposition, neither do you expect it in your local pub on a cold Tuesday in January.
But atmosphere aside, this is a neat little gastro pub, which deserves a mention.
For starters, try the black pudding (£4), which is huge and comes with a creamy mustard sauce, or go for the grilled goat’s cheese and red onion tart (£5), which I have tried on previous occasions, and is very good.
The menu is not ambitious, but is pitched just about right, somewhere between pub grub and restaurant.
What probably impressed me most about our meal was when the chef ventured from his kitchen to inquire if we had enjoyed our meal, specifically the steak (£12.50), which, he told us, was a new special this week.
It was a nice touch, and we told him then, and I’ll repeat it here, the steak was good—well cooked, medium rare to order, with a superb, creamy, white wine and mushroom sauce. I had hake and chips (£9), which came topped with tomato and breadcrumbs, and served with seasonal veg. This too was fine. Unfussy. Easy to get wrong, but here, again, nicely done.
A nice fillet of white fish, not greasy, but perfectly cooked, flaky, with top-notch chunky chips.
As I said before, I know this is not fine dining, but it is so much nicer to eat simple food cooked well than fancy food which has been cocked up.
I drank the pub’s own ale, Wicketkeeper, brewed just a couple of hundred yards down the road at Dunscar Bridge micro brewery.
This four per cent ale was clean, fresh and, most importantly, tasty.
Say it quietly, but Bank Top has a rival in Dunscar Bridge.
I have heard more than one of my friends compare Bolton’s newest brewery in favourable terms to our most famous.
As for desserts, there’s plenty of decent stuff on offer, all made inhouse (at about £4 a dish), from the ubiquitous sticky toffee pudding, to apple crumble and a wonderfully retro jam roly poly and custard.
I’m not saying you should seek out The Brewhouse. But if you’re passing, or if you’re stuck for somewhere to go or fancy a change, or you just want a decent plate of food, with a decent pint, in front of a real fire, where the chef comes and asks if you liked his cooking, then pop in and give it a whirl