Food review: The Hogshead, Wolverhampton
Fancy a classic pub lunch after slaving away in the office? The city has just the place to enjoy some great grub. Lisa Harrison dines out. . .
There was a definite Friday feeling in the air and while the cat’s away the mice will play.
The boss was out on an important business ‘jolly’ so we decided to follow suit. And so it was that two office colleagues – and out-of-office companions –headed to the pub for a spot of lunch, a chat and a brief screen break.
The minute we opened the door to the Hogshead in Wolverhampton we were greeted by the new look that had probably been completed some time ago but we hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing. We don’t get out much. If you already know this, it’s old news, if you don’t, you should go and check it out.
Gone is the dated and slightly shabby look replaced with a shiny new posh American dineresque appearance.
There are tall tables with high stools, cosy and more private booths complete with indivdual TV screens – perfect for watching the World Cup, the usual wooden tables for smaller groups and benches for larger parties.
Hanging from the ceiling are industrial looking lights, the walls are covered with ceramic brick style tiles with the odd phrase and word painted on.
There are wall scrawlings and neon signs hanging up with quirky phrases such as ‘A Room With A Brew’, ‘We’re All Mad Here’, ‘Hakuna Ma Vodka’, ‘In Hogs We Trust’ and ‘Life is Brew-tiful’ to mention a few.
The beer garden has also had some much needed TLC and has been cleverly named the ‘Yard of Ale’ – round of applause for that punster! It has bright coloured wooden tables with a more traditional covered section on one side. It’s perfect for summer beers with mates and also the live music it sometimes hosts.
The long bar was pretty quiet for a Friday lunch time with not too many people propping it up and the pub itself had a low murmour of workers coming and going. . . my friend even spotted the first boy she ever kissed, cute!
We dived into a booth knowing it would be nice and quiet and a bit more private.
The menu is more on the quirky side than your average pub which makes it a little more interesting to eat out at and a change from a meal deal or a homemade sandwich.
It does have the safe dishes such as lasagne, cod and chips, along with sausage and mash but also has some more unusual options like the mac and cheese with chorizo pizza, the Juicy Jane burger – a BBQ chipotle quinoa and smoked Cheddar burger topped with sautéed onions and peppers – and lots of tapas dishes including mozzarella truffle bon bons, twisted bacon straws and vegan baba ganoush and pitta. There are also several sides on offer if you fancy something extra. Lots for us to go back and try.
We spotted a great deal – lunch and a soft drink for £5.50 – which is on offer from 12-3pm, Monday to Friday. It’s an order-at-the-bar kind of place so all we needed was the table number.
My friend went for the half pizza and superfood salad – Margherita not the pepperoni option – with a Diet Coke. As she was on Operation Bikini Body she was trying to be good.
I wasn’t so I went for the fishfinger sandwich in a soft glazed brioche bun with tartar sauce and chips. I’m not a fan of brioche despite the trend – I’m not so keen on the egg glazed top nor the slightly sweetish taste it seems to have – so I requested ‘normal’ bread. They were more than happy to oblige.
I also ordered in a cheeky glass of Prosecco for me and a pint of lager shandy for her – ‘hic’. It was a Friday treat after all.
We sat back in our booth and had a little chitty chat about life, love and the universe while we waited for lunch to arrive. It did so in a decent amount of time.
The fishfinger sandwich was yummy. When they said ‘normal’ bread I was expecting a shop-sliced loaf style and was pleasantly surprised when it was, in fact, doorstep slices of soft and seedy granary instead.
I was also expecting the tartar sauce to come in a pot on the side like it does when you have fish and chips but this was smeared on to the bread.
Now, I’m not really a fan of tartar sauce – not loving the diced gherkins intermingled with the mayonnaise – but I actually quite liked it in the soft, fluffy bread as the goujons were nice and fishy with a crisp, crunchy golden batter. Perfect.
There was a leaf of lettuce in the sandwich which was lovely and cooling against the pickly flavour of the sauce.
The chips on the side were the perfect amount for one but as my friend kept swiping at them we could have done with a bigger portion. Operation Bikini Body indeed! Hmmmm, a likely story!
They were chunky chips, gorgeously thick and crispy with a golden coating and fresh fluffy potato encased inside.
The Prosecco was lovely and bubbly and rather indulgent for a lunchtime tipple but nice as a treat.
On the other side of the booth she was loving her oblong of pizza. The base was delicious, both crispy and chewy yet doughy too. It was also nicely charred on the bottom. The tomato sauce was sharp and cut through the richness of the generous helping of melted cheese. The salad on the side was tasty too apart from a few ever-so-slightly wilted leaves. It wasn’t really the superfood salad as was described on the menu but still super nonetheless.
She seemed to like the chips too. I really should’ve ordered more or something else on the side.
We both agreed that the portion size was a good choice for a lunchtime snack rather than some plate-piled-high dish that you’d struggle to finish and would potentially induce an afternoon nap at your desk.
We continued to sup our drinks and soak up the calm and relaxing atmosphere before heading back to the maelstrom of the office environs. You could easily while away a long old time here and we nearly forgot to go back to work.
The bill was under £20, £18.80 to be precise and we felt that was pretty reasonable for two lunches and four drinks. We could’ve easily had a few sides and it wouldn’t have broken the bank.
We’ll definitely be going back because it’s such a lovely place to have a mini escape from the drudgery of everyday life. Next time we decide to Head there for lunch, we might go the whole Hog and have a proper meal out.