Express & Star

Food review: Brierley Hop House, Brierley Hill - 3.5 stars

If you fancy a good burger, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Brierley Hop House.

Last updated
Designs for life – the interior impressed our man

The newly-refurbished venue is clearly in good hands and the new owners, Marston’s, have a done a great job revamping the place.

There wasn’t much wrong with the old venue, when it was The Brewers Wharf, but the new layout has given it a much fresher feel. There seems to be more room and there are little alcoves tucked away too, when you can escape from the hustle bustle and enjoy a private meal with friends and family, if you so wish.

We went on a Saturday afternoon and there was a lovely mix of customers.

Steak out – the gammon was served with a free-range fried egg, pineapple, chips and peas Pictures by John Sambrooks

Everything from a kid’s junior football team and their parents, to a couple – still very much in love by the looks of things – a few regulars, and our little family.

There wasn’t much need to book ahead for our time slot, but if you do the staff have the table laid ready for your arrival, so it’s worth doing.

The pub and restaurant now serves the food and drink downstairs, with the entertainment upstairs, and there’s a lot going on too.

Over Christmas break there’s pretty much something to pop along to every day of the week; the new owners seem to pride themselves on hosting live music and comedy nights, so a trip to the Waterfront pub is worthwhile if you’re not eating.

However, my wife Kelly, four-year-old daughter Annabelle and I were all hungry when we arrived, so it didn’t take us long to browse the menu and decide what we were going to have.

One thing that stood out was the price. A lot of swanky burger joints cook nice food but charge you an extortionate amount for what is, essentially, burger and chips.

Something different – the burger was topped with pickled red onions and a jalapeño popper

The Hop House isn’t like that. The menu is simple, the burger choices expansive but, most importantly, it’s all reasonably priced, especially for the size of the portions, as we were soon to find out.

First up was the starters and we shared two between the three of us: the coconut shrimp and Mexi nachos.

The butterfly prawns were cooked in a crispy coconut coating with a Thai sweet chilli mayo.

They did exactly what they said on the tin but the size of the shrimps were impressive. There were four huge pieces of shellfish, which had been lightly coated in batter and carefully cooked, rather than fried until it had disintegrated.

It was simple food but cooked well.

The nachos were the usual pub grub as well, with tortilla chips topped with tomato salsa, soured cream, guacamole, jalapeños and melted Cheddar cheese.

There was loads of sauce, which made the starter for me. There’s nothing worse than having nachos served with a measly amount of condiments, so I was pleased to be able to lap them up all up with all elements on a single nacho – I think that’s called living the dream. There were plenty of nacho variations to choose from too, including chipotle chicken and barbecue jackfruit for the veggies.

Spice it up – with a starter portion of nachos

Other choices included smothered potato wedges, barbecue buttermilk chicken and fish ‘n’ chip shop bites.

I always look out for the veggie options too when eating out, as I like to go down that route from time to time and a lot of my family steer clear of meat. I have to say there was plenty of choice at the Hop House.

Just the for starters there were halloumi fries, olives and ciabatta, golden breaded mushrooms, and jalapeño poppers, as well as the jackfruit nachos.

The main menu also packed a punch, with veggie fish and chips – where halloumi replaces the usual cod loin – plus steak and ale pie, lasagne, chicken tikka masala and scampi. There was also a selection of wraps, served with mixed leaves and a favourite topping, or sandwiches on either toasted white or multigrain bread, both with a side of chips, for those who fancied more of a snack, as well as the usual grills and steaks.

Kelly went for the 10oz gammon steak, with a free-range fried egg served with chips and garden peas.

Her verdict? Very tasty and quite a large portion. Most importantly for her, there was no fat around the meat, which meant it was succulent and not chewy.

With a bulging burger menu, I personally couldn’t look any further than that – although I did go slightly ‘out there’ by avoiding the usual.

The list of burgers went something this: The Classic, Grilled Soya, The Stacker, Hawaiian Gammon, Double Chicken, Route 66, The Blue Moon, Real Boar!, The Brunch Stacker, The Ultimate and The Squeaky Burger. It would take four pages to describe what went into each of those, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say they all looked amazing and choosing one was a tough task.

However, there was also The Mexican Stack and The Veggie Mexican Stack.

Shell out – on some coconut shrimp with dip

Now they were different because these burgers came served ‘naked’, for want of a better word, and were placed on a cornbread with spicy jalapeños.

The burger was then topped with fiery red onion pickles and a jalapeño popper, served with a side of chips and homemade ‘slaw.

It was delicious and well worth a punt. If you don’t fancy the usual burger in a bun, I would certainly recommended trying one on top of a cornbread.

I’ll be honest, without looking at the pictures I wasn’t entirely sure what I would be getting but once I dived in it was clear it had been a good choice.

It was the first time I’d tried a cornbread – I don’t get out much – but it was delicious. Warm and with a slight kick, when mixed with a mouthful of the burger and the red onion it was such a nice combination.

Change of pace – the Brierley Hop House

And after adding a few chips and some homemade coleslaw into the equation, it was the perfect Saturday afternoon feast.

For the price and the portion, you really couldn’t go wrong. It just all worked so well together and made a lovely change to the norm.

Annabelle, not fancying the usual children’s food, opted for the mac ‘n’ cheese, served with a side salad and garlic ciabatta.

She enjoyed it very much, especially dunking her bread into the creamy cheesy sauce, which was the perfect consistency.

The restaurant also serves grazing platters and light bites, which can be enjoyed outdoors by the canal – a lovely setting once summer comes round again.

It’s nice to see another business doing well down The Waterfront, on Level Street, which – in recent times – has become a bit of a ghost town. Definitely somewhere worth popping into if out with family and friends.