Restaurant critic Abigail Edge visited the down-to-earth Crabmill gastropub.
Ah, the Crabmill. What’s it like then?
Unpretentious gastropub. Think exposed brick walls, leather sofas and black and white framed photographs of Ye Olde Stourbridge. Reasonably-priced menu, spacious bar area for socialising and plenty of partitioned-off areas for cosy dining.
Family-friendly but also buzzing on Friday and Saturday nights. Nice courtyard for those three days of the year when the sun comes out. Ample free parking too.
Do they actually serve crab?
So what did you eat?
To start, my two companions and I ordered the Antipasto Plate (£10.45), a generous selection of Italian cold cuts, buffalo mozzarella, hummus, olives and juicy sun-blushed plum tomatoes served with organic bread.
The bread was warm, the hummus tasted deliciously homemade and the beetroot balsamic and Sussex rapeseed dipping oil was divine.
Our waitress was friendly but the 30-minute delay before the main courses arrived was a bit annoying, especially as the restaurant wasn’t exactly packed to the rafters.
And how were the mains, when they eventually arrived?
I plumped for sizzling chicken fajitas (£9.25), which lived up to their name both in terms of the fizzling hot plate brought to the table and the spiciness of the filling. Accompanied by warm flour tortillas, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, guacamole and pico de gallo, this DIY dinner was a definite winner.
My companion was equally impressed with her salmon, pollack and queen scallop pie (£9.45), which came with the delightfully-named Tickler Cheddar mash. However, the home-made steak and ale pie (£8.95) let the side down.
In fact you'd be hard pushed to call it a pie at all; more a large pastry hat which crumbled to a dry husk when cut, revealing some sorry-looking beef chunks in need of a good dose of gravy.
That’s a shame. What about the deserts?
They could have saved the day, and no doubt would have, had the kitchen staff not spent the best part of another 30 minutes searching for the apple tarte tatin for our shared pudding board (£7.45).
Alas it was nowhere to be found and so a Hot Belgian Chocolate Fondant was substituted instead, which was slightly overcooked and lacking the lovely gooiness inside which is the mark of a good fondant.
The pot of blackberry curd contained the ill-advised addition of rosemary. But the belgian chocolate torte turned out to be the pudding board saviour; velvety smooth, devilishly rich, and topped off with a zesty blood orange coulis.
And the cost?
The bill, including two pints of Peroni and two glasses of house white, came to just over £60 for the three of us.
Would you recommend it to a friend?
Yes, so long as they didn’t have to be anywhere in a hurry.