We are incredibly blessed to have the Samuel Barlow in this area. Having discovered this place back in March 2013, we have never looked back. The Chef is talented, sophisticated, down to earth and incredibly intelligent. As someone wrote previously, the Chef does describe himself as cranky but I would say that he is "discerning in every way". Without having to labor an explanation of discerning, I will just say that you will only find like minded souls in this place... souls that appreciate incredible food, ambient surroundings and service.
Recently we tried the Duck, which was succulent and the famous Man Steak (as opposed to the Lady Boy Steak.. yes, you can have one of those here too). The Man Steak was indeed manly, it was huge, juicy and tasted flame grilled - no stingy tasteless meat portions here.
As always, we were asked by both the staff and the Chef how our meal was - this is a sign that these people care what their diners think. The our friends dogs were asked too.
I'd like to address the negative comments some writers have said about allowing dogs... this is a pub... not a restaurant, albeit serving restaurant/gourmet meals. Non of the staff touch the dogs and all the dogs I've seen there are well behaved and sleep under the tables, just as they would in a traditional pub. I feel the dogs add a lot of character and dare I say it, love, to the place - traditional boat people have dogs and I feel without them this place would be sterile and loveless !
The Chef seems to be experimenting with his weekly menu and introducing value week nights (2 courses for under £9.00 ish). I feel this is a good thing and look forward to seeing what comes out of this place next.
I truly hope it all works out for him. He really does deserve success and he seems to be the only owner/chef around that truly cares about the quality of his food - his only competition is a tide of disgusting, homogenised chain-food carveries that seemed to multiple like flies in a Mongolian swamp... I think he's safe !
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.