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“Really pleasant evening out”
Review of The Holly Bush Inn

The Holly Bush Inn
Ranked #12 of 241 Restaurants in Stafford
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $8 - $29
Cuisines: Pizza, Seafood, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Description: The historic Holly Bush Inn is generally recognised as being the second licensed pub in the country. Dating back to the 16th century the thatched in sits in the quaint village of Salt. We serve all home cooked food using local produce, wherever possible, all served in a relaxed traditional environment by our friendly team. We have a large beer garden for enjoying a glass of wine or a pint of real ale during the summer months. Although we are only a few miles from Stafford town we pride ourselves on being a traditional country pub that serves home cooked food at honest prices.
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Really pleasant evening out”
Reviewed August 25, 2013

Four of us went to this pub as we fancied somewhere in a nice location with the old charm feel. We weren't disappointed. We didn't have to wait long for a table even though the pub was busy, and once we had ordered our food it didn't take too long to arrive. The staff were very pleasant and helpful. We all had different meals. Steak and ale pie was delicious as was venison casserole. My friend was impressed with her rump steak and my husband had the mixed grill, but he commented that it was slightly over cooked for his liking. All in all it was a very pleasant evening out where we could dine and enjoy a few drinks in a relaxed atmosphere afterwards.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Sportybarb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
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English first
Stroud, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“a disappointing memory”
Reviewed August 25, 2013

We used to live in the area but have since moved to Gloucestershire.We regularly come back to staffordshire to see friends and family and often take a trip down 'memory lane' visiting some of our old haunts, yesterday it was 'The Holly Bush' we chose to return to.A lovely looking pub in a nice location.We had initially tried to book a table but this is something we were not able to do, which isn't that good if you have travelled a distance and there are no tables.We were lucky on this occasion.We didn't find the menu particularly inspiring, I am a fan of chicken but unless you also like bacon there are no other choices of having this dish, instead we opted for 'a mushroom stroganoff, which was a huge mistake, I have never had anything so tasteless for quite some time! the sauce was completely watered down which could have been the reason this was taken off the menu once we had ordered three portions of this.Sadly because of our experience we will be crossing this venue off our list .It was also of note that there were a couple of other tables that returned their meals back to the kitchen, was this just a'bad Saturday' or is this a reflection of the standard of its everyday service. So sad with our experience.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank mandyD0620
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
“First disappointment after many excellent meals at this lovely pub”
Reviewed August 16, 2013

I have visited this lovely pub on many occasions - including 2 years of eating here every week so I know the menu very well and eaten all the meals I like many times.
Due to one reason and another I had not been for over a year until today - all looked the same - lovely cosy pub - same menu.

My friend and I both ordered the greek lamb (we have both had this many times in the past and its a favourite).
As soon as the meal arrived we both commented on it before we even tried it ( where have those lovely home made chips gone ) ? and the lamb - well it didn't have a good taste to it and was full of tiny bones in the few mouthfuls I had - I appreciate its shoulder of lamb which has bones in - but this was not right it was like something that had been stewed in a slow cooker for far too long and the flavour lost - if I had been wearing a blindfold I could not have told you what meat it was - i would have to say its some sort of meat with lots of little bones.

I said to my friend ' perhaps it's changed hands since the last time we came' as I had not seen the man who I had always assumed to be the owner / manager who I think is Geoff.

I decided not to eat anymore because I was really not enjoying it ( had the chips been as they used to be I would had at least filled up on them but sadly they were not).

We told one of the girls we had finished and she came to take our plates - when she saw all the food that was left she asked if everything was ok and we told her we hadn't enjoyed it and we asked if the pub had changed hands but she no it hadn't.

Someone came to speak to us and apologised that we had not enjoyed the food he said that each dish has its own recipe which is always followed etc he kindly offered us a complimentary sweet/coffee so we did have a coffee - thank you.

We were both just disappointed today after looking forward to our meal at 'The Hollybush' and after enjoying so many beautiful meals there in the past - I still feel sure something must have changed in the kitchen.

Staff were all really nice and no complaints with them at all.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Layla201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geoff H, General Manager at The Holly Bush Inn, responded to this review, August 21, 2013
I'm sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy your meal on your last visit. Firstly, I would like to reassure that The Holly Bush Inn is still being operated by the Holland family and has been for the past 21 years. Our head chef has been with us for 15 years now and very little has changed in the kitchen brigade.

I can assure you that all our chips are cut by hand and are done so in house. We make regular trips to Birmingham fruit and veg market and buy raw unwashed potatoes that we then prepare ourselves. I would like to point out that there are numerous factors that can affect potatoes; season, starch content, weather etc so it is impossible to maintain 100% standardisation of our chips year round due to the volatility of the raw product.

In regards to the 'tiny bones' i think you are referring to a small part of the rib cage attached to the shoulder (this is not uncommon) which we don't remove as it is slow cooked dish and bones help to flavor the sauce. To the best of our knowledge the dish was made to the same recipe as usual, the only thing I can think of is perhaps the shoulders you had didn't quit get a decent enough coated our mix of spices we use for the dish.

In conclusion, I would like apologise again that you didn't enjoy your meal, we value your custom greatly and should you choose to return i'm confident you will find the Greek Lamb to the standard you remember from previous visits.

Many thanks
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Bromwich, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Lovely Afternoon.”
Reviewed August 13, 2013

My husband , myself and our dog had just completed a lovely walk from a near by village and called here on the way home.
We sat in the lovely beer garden surrounded by the colourful flowers. We got served quickly and efficiently although it was a busy Sunday lunchtime and our food came without a long wait. We both had a roast and the lamb was exceptional. It came with seasonal fresh veg and the onion rings were home made.
We then both had a pudding, creme brulee cheesecake and a choc fudge cake both with ice cream. Again delicious. The staff were very helpful and friendly and even filled our dog bowl up.
Cant wait to go again. Such a lovely peaceful spot. Thanks again.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Maz504214
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Staffordshire, UK
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Good pub food”
Reviewed August 12, 2013

Dined at the Holly Bush many, many times. It can get very busy - but that's just because they serve great food, promptly, at a very reasonable price in a lovely venue! On one occasion, we took relatives from the US, and they adored the traditional pub atmosphere. The food is always spot on, with a very good vegetarian selection. Huge portions. Good beer garden. Roaring fires in winter. What's not to like??!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank citybreakconnoisseur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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