The Hollybush, Wolverhampton
With more than 50 meal options, this newly revamped city pub caters for every different taste, writes Helen Cartwright.
With more than 50 meal options, this newly revamped city pub caters for every different taste,
With around 100 people enjoying a slap up meal at one of Wolverhampton's newest pub restaurants, you could be forgiven for expecting The Hollybush to feel a little crowded.
Not a bit of it. The Penn Road pub, which has just undergone a £500,000 refit, was always one of the biggest hostelries in the city - and as a result always felt a little empty, even on a busy night.
Therefore it was always a good candidate to become the latest boozer to reinvent itself as a family-friendly restaurant, and so it was no surprise to hear that Marston Inns had decided to convert it into one of its popular Two-for-One's.
Reopening for the first time two weeks ago, it was clear that many locals had decided to forego the kitchen for the evening and give it a try.
Anyone stepping inside would have been hard pushed to remember its previous incarnation as the old function room has gone and a new children's play area has been installed to keep the little ones entertained while adults enjoy a quiet drink.
Pictures of Penn now also adorn the walls and there are some abstract sculptures dotted around the venue.
Although the Hollybush used to serve pub grub, the extensive menu on offer in the new look venue is a class above and gives plenty of food for thought.
With 11 starters and a staggering 30-plus mains - coupled with a specials board offering another 25 options including variations of many British classics - diners could have hundreds of meals without ever having the same combination twice.
We started with the little haddock kievs (£3.85), a welcome twist on the old chicken favourite which was both light and delicious, a decent prawn cocktail (£3.55), Southern spiced fish goujons (£3.95) smothered in a crunchy coating and served with tartare sauce, and breaded mushrooms (£3.50).
Choosing a main was more of a challenge, such was the variety of options on offer. They include steaks, a variety of burgers, pies including chicken and ham and beef in ale, and fish dishes, but the menu at The Hollybush really stands out when it comes to the extensive specials.
They included a gut-busting T-bone steak (£15.95), classic chicken chasseur (£9.50) and chilli chicken (£11.50). And vegetarians are well catered for with five specials joining main menu offerings like vegetable chilli and polenta bake (£8.45) and mediterranean vegetable tart (£8.95), a flaky pastry case filled with vegetables, spicy tomato sauce and goat's cheese.
Eventually our party plumped for the tasty Wexford cheddar and chutney tart (£8.95), the turf and butterfly king prawns, a twist on the usual surf and turf including a chunky 10oz rump steak cooked to perfection (£13.95), the warming dairy and dell (£8.95) - a shortcrust pie brimming with peppered mushrooms and cheese - and the tender 10oz rump steak (£11.75), which came with a generous serving of chips and side salad.
Despite the generous portions, our group somehow found space for dessert and enjoyed a caramel-packed Banoffee waffle (£3.55), a rich and gooey melt in the middle chocolate pudding (£3.55) which lived up to its billing, and two sickly sweet - in a nice way - ginger treacle tarts (£3.35 each).
The final bill, which totaled £91, was a bit of a surprise as we had been lulled into a slight sense of false security by the Two for One branding - it's worth remembering that the two meals for the price of one deal only applies to main courses, not starters or desserts.
But given that covered three courses each for four people as well as drinks, it was still a pretty good price.
The Hollybush, 494 Penn Road, Wolverhampton WV4 4HU
Telephone: 01902 621454
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