On the boil: Hertfordshire foodie news

Chef Brian Turner CBE

Brian Turner CBE - Credit: Fuller's Brewery

Stay up to date with Hertfordshire's thriving food and drink scene with Hertfordshire Life. This month we've got a thriving Watford business soaring to new heights, the battle of the roasts  and where to catch the last of the festive dining...

1. Hertford House Festive Dining

Festive events at the revamped Hertford House in Hertford took off in new directions last year, starting with a string of seasonal supper clubs.

Also new is a covered and heated winter woodland in the hotel’s private courtyard garden with seasonal cocktail and party menus. Here, you'll be able to enjoy festive bottomless brunches on January 8, 15 and 22. 

Website: hertfordhouse.co.uk

2. Three Fullers pubs battle for best roast championed by TV chef

A battle for the title of best Sunday pub lunch in Hertfordshire has begun with three members of the Fuller’s group – The Boat, Berkhamsted; Harpenden Arms, Harpenden, and The Paper Mill in Apsley Lock – joining forces with top chef Brian Turner CBE to showcase their offers.

Brian, a regular on BBC's Ready Steady Cook and Saturday Kitchen, has been working with the company’s executive chefs to promote what has been called 'Britain’s favourite meal' and highlight the Fuller’s approach.

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He said, ‘These pubs work with the very best suppliers, ingredients, recipes, and chef talent and it has been a pleasure to witness the pride everyone takes in the food offer.’ 

Website: boatberkhamsted.co.ukharpenden-arms.co.ukpapermillapsley.co.uk

3. Watford's Ramona's Lunch Stand launches in Sainsbury's

A Watford plant based food brand has become one of the stars of a new nationwide line-up called 'lunch stand' launched last month by Sainsbury’s.

Ramona’s, founded by Ramona Hazan, produces fresh foods, including award-winning ‘Heavenly Houmous’ and ‘Fabulous Falafel’, based on her food values and Mediterranean upbringing.  
The lunch stand concept was inspired by the increase in home working and also to boost the choice of balanced meals available.

Ramona’s range includes original, jalapeno and red pepper houmous and original and quinoa falafel.

She said: ‘This is our first mainstream collaboration with Sainsbury’s and we are thrilled to feature alongside household brands such as Itsu, Wasabi and Leon.  

‘As many more people are working from home now, consumers are looking for lunch options that are quick and easy but most importantly healthy, and with more people opting for a plant-based diet, finding quick and easy lunch options without all the added sugar and salt can prove tricky, up till now.  

'As our products are naturally gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan, our presence in Sainsbury’s lunch concept will make it easier for multiple dietary needs to find a meal without compromising on flavour and healthy ingredients.’ 

The Ramona’s houmous varieties cost £2.70 for 500g and the falafels are £3.25 for 400g. They and other products including dips and plant-based burgers are also available online. 

Website: ramonaskitchen.com

4. The Rose and Crown at Clay Hill reopens

Another historic pub is joining the ranks of refurbished businesses in the county with upgraded food offers after a £350,000 upgrade of The Rose and Crown at Clay Hill near Cuffley.

It reopens this month after the investment by Star Pubs and Bars, part of Heineken and Redhouse Pubs.

Once thought to have sheltered highwayman Dick Turpin, it is now run by chef Allan Herrick and his wife Stefanie.

Allan has worked at Michelin restaurants including Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in Bray and customers are promised à la carte specials alongside pub classics. 

Website: roseandcrownclayhill.co.uk

5. Stevenage's Crooked Billet reopens as the Tranquil Turtle

The former Crooked Billet family pub in Stevenage reopened in December as a new-style restaurant with 'London pizzazz' called the Tranquil Turtle.

The work is being financed by a group of Stevenage investors, whose spokesman said: ‘We want to create a whole experience.

This is about us delivering something for local people, by local people - something we feel is missing from the town.’

General manager is Andrew Tandy, with Noel Busby as head chef and Beth Watts as sous chef. 

Website: tranquil-turtle.co.uk

6. Going Greek arrives in Herts

London restaurant group Going Greek has chosen Herts for its first venture outside the capital with a new outlet, its fifth, opening in November in Borehamwood. 

Known for its authentic cuisine, the Borehamwood menu includes a wide range of sharing plates including hand-cut feta chips, tahini, houmous, grilled halloumi, and kalamata olives, alongside gyros, souvlaki, Cypriot kebabs and desserts, plus Greek beers. 

Website: goinggreek.co.uk