Restaurant review: Martins Pond in Potten End

A country pub on the village green at Potten End makes for a good lunch date, as Sue Ramsey discovers

About the restaurantSet in an area of natural beauty, close to Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead, Martins Pond is a 1920s built pub ideally situated facing the village green of Potten End. If you are fed up with the made over, modernised pubs, this is for you. The only apparent change is the addition of a conservatory which provides a dining area.

First impressionsA rather dated but homely interior greeted us. We were early for our lunch but were made welcome and shown through to our conservatory table.

Atmosphere and d�corThe d�cor is old-fashioned but cosy. The conservatory is lighter but does not have any pretentions and is a good area to sit and eat. Children are made welcome, there was a high chair already in place at one table. We awaited our meal with anticipation – Martins Pond website records that locally sourced products are used wherever possible.

ServiceWe were greeted and seated quickly, the waitresses were pleasant and we were able to choose our meals and enjoy it at our own leisurely pace.

The menuThere was quite a variety and a special offer for two courses for two people on a separate menu for �22. The daily menu was varied and had some unusual dishes such as tikka spiced haddock fillet on marinated summer vegetables as well as more traditional fare of fillet steak, breaded chicken and curry.

To startWhilst we waited for our order to be taken we changed our minds about ordering a starter as we saw the size of the main meals. We could have had soup, homemade pate, smoked salmon terrine and at least three other choices.

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For mainMy husband ordered crispy pork belly on a black pudding hash brown with Lea & Perrins gravy and summer vegetables (�12.95). I chose the beefburger, chips and salad (�10.45). The crispy pork came in a huge soup tureen dish and looked very tasty, nestling on top of the black pudding hash brown, and my husband confirmed this. The vegetables were cooked to perfection and declared delicious. My beefburger was served with a mixed salad with a dressing and chips, which were non greasy and crisp. The beefburger was tasty and moist and although the bap was unremarkable, the flavour of the bacon and cheese more than made up for this.

To finishI was tempted by the look of the syrup sponge pudding served to the group on the adjacent table and, overhearing their comments, they had obviously enjoyed it before. However I wanted to try a dish that was homemade so chose  apple crumble and custard (�4.95), whilst my husband opted for the cheese board (�4.95). The apple crumble was rather soggy and served in a cold dish and the cheese board was served on a plate, with slices of three cheeses, butter offered as an after thought.

Our experience Martins Pond provided a leisurely meal with generous portions and a good mixture of traditional and more unusual dishes.

The cost of a two-course lunch for two was �38 including one diet Pepsi and two halves of bitter.

Martins PondThe Green, Potten End,Berkhamsted HP4 2QQ01442

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