The Harpenden Arms

A weekend which saw Scarlett and I celebrate her finishing university with a lovely relaxing time spent together where we weren’t super busy was finely complimented by our trip to Harpenden, after being invited and booked a table in their restaurant upstairs. This was to show what they had to offer to the public on their opening day. The day was set up in order to sample and test the food and also to see what the ‘old man’s drinking pub’ had been turned into.

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We arrived at 18:00 and met the managers and staff they talked us through how they felt like the project that they had undertaken was a fairly long and complex one, however it had all paid off for the finished article. The hard work and effort put into the pub had shown, as I remember driving past it on numerous occasions and thinking that it looked out of place for the mainly very middle class people who reside in the area, it was dark, dingy and not looked after very well and I could see how the perception could be drawn from the general public of the previously referred to ‘old man’s drinking pub’. The transformation however has been top class, everything that I remember about the pub has now disappeared, I’m very sure that once the locals get a sample of what they have to offer – it will completely change their mind on what was formerly a place to stay away from could now become the corner stone for people of all ages to meet up there, for what could be simply a quiet drink downstairs or a be selecting one of many very tasty and well presented meals in the upstairs restaurant. In the summer I could only imagine the atmosphere around the pub to be wonderful, due to the ability to sit and relax inside or out on the conveniently placed grassy area situated directly behind the pub with additional outside capability.

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Whilst walking around and taking it all in I could not believe how well lit the rooms were, thankfully due to the design of the building it allowed light to enter through the huge glass windows and completely engulf the room. I mean I as the photographer for the day couldn’t have asked for much better lighting conditions. The sun was shining and it lit up everything, the new bar pump taps were glistening and the newly refurbished bar which was made from some very nice wood looked amazing. The clean look to all of the bar downstairs was also complimented by other additional touches such as the strangely very nice mustard yellow wall paper and unique and contrasting artwork which was found on all walls. All set for their big opening and I could tell that a lot of hard work and effort had been put in from all staff that were dealing with the project. Attention to detail is key in anything that is done well and I believe that the staff had the same ideology. It was very nice to see everyone very excited for the arrival of guests and show them what they had to offer.

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After taking numerous pictures and exploring the now lovely pub, we were invited upstairs with a beer in hand and camera in other trying to enjoy both sides/parts of the experience. Viewing every inch of the building, inclusive of the newly installed wooden stairs and the very fancy restrooms. Finally making our way into the restaurant which was located through a door which closed itself off from the rest of the pub. We were allocated a table and I carried on taking more pictures, still Scarlett and I were astounded by the transformation as I talked to both of the assistant managers at the pub, my best friend from school (Mark Brennan) and his brother (Steven Brennan) to whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for some years now, I knew that if you wanted a very good job done then you couldn’t get much better than these two with over 15 years experience in this sector, I could tell as it was clear to see that they had both had a lot of input into the project. This being¬†what the new immaculately finished pub now looked like.

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We sat down after a long chat with all staff who were particularly friendly on what was both a big day for them and a very exciting one. I ordered a Pepsi for myself and wine for Scarlett, gazing down at the menu we were spoilt for choice. Even with the limited range of food Scarlett can eat due to being dairy-free, even she was catered for by a very clear and easy to read allergy-menu. We ordered our starters, four of them to be precise, because simply we couldn’t resist as they all sounded so scrumptious. They arrived very quickly and we tucked into the trout, lamb kofta, chorizo sausages and the fresh bread. All of the starters were equally scrumptious and fresh, I’m feeling hungry about them as I type this post, I think the pictures describe the quality of food we were served.

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After that still feeling very hungry we ordered our main which consisted of a luscious Steak, crisp vegetables and French fries which got my taste-buds tingling. Scarlett ordered the chicken which was so succulent and tender, she complimented that with some French fries and a salad. Brimming with top quality food after it had lined our faces with big smiles it was time to move onto the finale.

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The finale being me finishing up with two deserts in record time, which as always I really reluctantly consume (not) which were cheesecake and chocolate brownie truly delightful, especially with the added strawberry and ice-cream which I love – vanilla being my favourite.

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After a quick chat about our experience with Scarlett and being very happy that we celebrated her finishing university in such a way as we both love good food and being relaxed after long weeks at work or education. We were then asked by the waitress how our meals were and she was very happy too that we had enjoyed them and her service, we proceeded to leave and as we were leaving we looked around just to take in what superb renovation of this now beautiful pub/restaurant. We shook hands with the manager and said goodbye, Scarlett and I with the intent to revisit again very soon. I will implore anyone else to do so also as I have enjoyed both telling others of my experience and recommending it and writing this blog post.

I might even go back this weekend, or would that be a little naughty? No is the correct answer!

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LINK | http://www.harpenden-arms.co.uk/

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