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|Pubs and Pub Grub|
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The Castle Gastro Pub
Grosvenor Rise East,
London, E17 9LB map
Tel 020 8509 8095
The Castle has been under new management for about 6 weeks. Looks just the same – comfortable, slightly quirky; something between a pub and a restaurant, and the balance is just right. Good draught beer, including Timothy Taylors ‘Landlord’ bitter (I had a nice pint of “Sussex” for £3.50), and an interesting menu on Sunday – the traditional roasts had gone by the time we arrived at 8:30. I had a chargrilled ‘bone in Angus rib steak’ with delicately seasoned ‘chips’, horseradish and a salad (£16). The missus had marrow stuffed with roast squash (butternut), tomato and brie, with a spinach & hazelnut salad, while our companion had beetroot fritters with beer braised lentils & tomato – those two were under a tenner. I hogged out with a Raspberry Bakewell with clotted cream (£5). It was great – we all felt pleased, relaxed and satisfied afterwards. Service was exquisitely calibrated – unobtrusive,but attentive and warm. We’ll *certainly* go again, and we wish Adam and his team the success they deserve.
NOW UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT August 2013
Being locals we visit this pub roughly once / twice a fortnight, usually during the week. We had the very unfortunate (and, from reading other reviews) not uncommon experience of having to deal with the extremely poor service … Saturday night…
The meal took almost 40 minutes to arrive - and we had ordered before the pub filled up... when I asked the manager if there was a problem in the kitchen he … went away to the kitchen, came back and said they were plating up - which, given the food did not arrive for another 8 minutes … they have a snail working in the kitchen!
The food was good – but this is NOT A GASTRO PUB!
After our meal my partner, on returning from the bar, caught her clothing on a poorly finished piece of furniture - causing it to run badly and ruining the dress. On leaving she attempted to take this matter up with the manager... who … ran away to the kitchen and did not return. My partner was extremely upset.
We have always enjoyed going to this pub on a Friday, where the staff are very friendly and engage in good natured banter... however, … we will now be taking our custom elsewhere - as well as following up through small claims, the local borough re the licence and the publican …
to knock people. But I felt moved to write a review after an appalling
meal at the Castle. For the record, I often have Sunday roast here. I
have even recommended it on food and drink sites as the best roast in
London. And normally it is excellent. I often come here with my ex-wife
and daughter, and usually enjoy it, even if the place is increasingly
packed with the annoying new arrivals from Stoke Newington that are
ruining Walthamstow Village (strident middle-class women, annoying
blokes in skinny jeans with flat caps and goatees, you get pic) and
their overly-confident, out-of-control children.
you pays your money, an' all that.
I went there last Sunday with my friend Lucy. We arrived at 5pm, and the
place was in chaos. It was Mother's Day and the small kitchen was
groaning under the weight of 278 covers, as I was told. We saw lots of
dishes being sent back, and one group told us their meal had been
shocking, advising us to go elsewhere. But things seemed to be
quietening down so we thought we'd give it a go, and ordered one beef
and one pork dinner.
came out — and were both completely cold. Cold meat, cold vegetables,
word about pricing — it used to be £12 for a roast. Steep, yes, but I
didn't especially object as you knew it was good.
now £14, surely one of the more expensive pub roasts in London.
sent them back.
waiter came back to apologise — the pork ws finsihed. So Lucy settled
for chicken, pretty disappointed but there you go.
cold, and served with cold vegetables and — to add insult to injury
— an extremly burnt, charcoal-y Yorkshire pud on top.
brought my plate back to the pass and asked the chef whether he would
pay £14 for such a dish.
poor guy was mortified, and explained they had had to do almost 300
covers from a kitchen about the size of the one I have in my terraced
his wallet out and in front of the bar manager, said he would pay for
them out of his own pocket and would I come back in two weeks' time to
see that they could do a decent meal? I said I would, but that he
absolutely should not pay for the meals himself. No one should. You
can't charge for such a poor product.
manager said he would have to ring the owner…
next thing, the staff are a combination of shocked and mortified… if I
didn't pay my bill, I would be barred.
fine, I will call him tomorrow to discuss. I sometimes review
restaurants in my line of work as a journalist nd I understand that
tempers can fly but that if a customer has an appalling experience, of
course they shouldn't be charged.
left and rang on Monday morning to straighten things out. I left a
message asking him to call me. He didn't.
a few more times during the week to no avail.
on Saturday night, the manager told me on the phone that he ws really
embarrassed but … I was barred.
Fine. At £14 for a Sunday roast and £4.75 for a pint of Perroni on draught, I will try to save money by lunching in Mayfair or Knightsbridge.
Yesterday we were barred from the Castle, our local for the
past six years, and where we’d been going regularly with friends,
family and just the three of us. Since our son was born nearly three
years ago, it’s been a staple for Sunday lunch, as children seem to
have been welcome, making up half the numbers sometimes.
We were barred from this self-styled ‘family friendly’
pub because our two-year-old son was fetching a book from the bookshelf,
on a very quiet lunchtime, rather than in his seat, in a bizarre, sudden
and aggressive tirade from the owner.
We were the second group in on Jubilee bank holiday Monday.
Our son saw the owner, cashing up at a window table and wandered over to
say hello. Admittedly, not everyone finds this endearing, and the owner
just told us to keep him in his seat, as it was a ‘pub rule’. OK,
Fatally, at our instruction he went to get a book from the
bookshelf – presumably provided for us pesky customers – and the
owner stormed over, saying he didn’t want children wandering about as
it’s ‘not the sort of pub we want to be’. With no further debate,
he told us to: “Piss off and don’t come back”. Adding the blinder:
“It’s people like you that are ruining pubs.”
Au contraire. It’s people like us that are keeping his gaff
in business. Every weekend lunchtime it’s rammed with young families,
paying through the nose for frankly average food, seemingly under the
impression it’s as ‘family friendly’ as its marketing blurb
suggests. I’m sure they’d be interested to know the landlord’s
true feelings on the matter.
If well-behaved children aren’t welcome, perhaps this could
be made clearer, rather than policed in a randomly despotic manner. With
his attitude, I’m wondering if the ‘sort of pub he wants it to be’
a family lunch today and the real gripe was the size of the portions and
value for money. The Spanish Omlette (just shy of £10) was tiny - a
wedge that was 2.5-3 inches at its widest point and accompanied by small
green leaf salad with four cherry tomatoes. And I thought nouvelle
cuisine died in the 80s.
Only recently discovered this fantastic pub. Took the kids
out for a Sunday lunch yesterday which was first rate. I love the fact
their children's menu is simply smaller/cheaper versions of main menu,
rather than usual chips etc. This pub is very family friendly but
manages to avoid being a no-go zone for other adults (like pizza
express/giraffe etc at weekend). Excellent selection of real ale and
friendly staff too. Food on a recent evening out with friend also
excellent. I love the fact you can book tables, unlike during the day at
Eat17. More like this in the Stow please!
Take out the individual incidences (everybody makes a few
mistakes and good staff in London are hard to maintain) and I think the
reviews here speak volumes, the menu and food was great in 2010/11, and
I really enjoyed eating out there. I'm not sure when the menu was
changed, but 2012 has seen a real drumming down in the food that's
offered here. I was told that this was in response to demand, which I
could have accepted if the prices were lower, but there not, and I don't
think the pub now offers value for money. I suspect (as indicated below)
that they may have lost a great chef some time over the last 6 months
and not been able to replace him/her.
person with the 19 year old daughter: I was next to get served after
your daughter. I thought something was up behind the bar when the
chap who served her said he'd check the till, and "it should be
three or four pounds out" if she had indeed handed over a tenner
rather than a fiver. Now I'm no Grigory
Perelman but I think even my seven
year old niece could have worked out the till would have been five
pounds out. Bar staff do work hard and can occasionally stumble
around in more of a daze than their customers but certainly your
daughter was due an apology.
I'm happy to put this down to a rogue staff-member, or even a staff-member having a rogue day (this was in the middle of the long bank holiday) but I do hope they end the practice of keeping hold of your cards, especially if they can't be trusted with them. It's a nice pub, now with a couple of veggie options, good atmosphere, well kept beers and maybe a bit too much bisto in the gravy.
A sad tale from my 19 year old daughter who was appallingly treated by staff here tonight. They gave her change for £5 when she'd paid with £10. They made her wait a couple of hours until closing time before cashing up and then, realising she was correct, grudgingly returned her money with no apology. Disgusting, bullying behaviour. I certainly won't be going there again.
I have logged here to get the postal code for the gastro
pub..and then read some reviews...we are about to go for Sunday
roast..the difference being...we know the new head chef and once we have
found where he's working we are making our way there from west
London..lewis is modest chef and i felt that people should know..he
cooked meals that where enjoyed not just by ordinary folks..but royalty
and politicians..we followed him from gastro pubs to fine dining
restaurants..all our family and friends will be joining us to...we
simply adore his food!
I went for Sunday lunch at the Castle today with friends and the food was frankly disappointing, not up to their usual standards at all, then we heard that the Head chef, James, has left – Aah that explains it then.
Posted 5th February 2012
Feel I have to pitch in to defend the Castle here. While I wasn't there on the night this girl was so clearly offended I do go there a lot and have nothing but praise for the place. Sure, the Nags might be cosier or the Orford Saloon her preference (its a similar price bracket mind) but The Castle offers something else to the area. When they started a few years back they were most certainly in the 'could do better' bracket but they've listened and a week or so back I had the best steak there I've had in London outside of some pretty high-end restaurants in the city. That doesn't come easy.
So first off, kudos to their kitchen, I guess you just can't please everyone. But more importantly - and the reason I'm writing this - is that I've run a review site before and its all too easy for the naysayers to have a detrimental effect on a local business. Constructive criticism is always useful and is the essence of review sites but her tone suggests something else. I'm pretty sure if she'd returned her food with a reasonable request something would have been done to remedy the situation.
Posted 26th January 2012
Just to say that that lady that is moaning about the vegetarian food at the castle is out of order. I heard her complain as I was at the bar. If that is her being polite I would not like to hear her rude!
paid for the food that she got and there was nothing wrong with it. Even
if there was I think only if they had offered her gold and a helicopter
home would it have been enough to satisfy her. I would have banned her if
I were them.
In short I don’t think she should be able to write that review when she is the one being rude and it is very one sided.
20th January 2012
Firstly, I would like to introduce myself and my sister, Ross and Ria. We are the owners of The Castle in the Village Ltd. (The Castle Gastro Pub). This is the first and last time I will be writing in response to comments regarding The Castle, so I hope what I write will answer any questions.
I love the concept of the review sites. I would love to use constructive criticism from these sites to better my business and give people what they want. If we could use genuine feedback to create and improve our menu and service it would be fantastic. We have received comments in the past and with some I agree, it has helped us grow, thank you. This advice benefits everyone, the community that frequent the pub and us. We have read and heard comments and it has helped us to make the business better and more efficient. The Castle is now a thriving family friendly food pub which is a stark contrast to three years ago, before we took over.
Unfortunately these sites can provide platform for fake, malicious and sometimes ridiculous reviews that are not always the truth. This is a shame. I find it disturbing that anyone would take to a review site to talk about a member of staffs physical appearance, one reviewer mentions ‘the manager with the pretentious awful moustache’. This quite frankly is not acceptable. This reviewer is known to The Castle and was asked to leave due to her drunken behaviour and foul language towards staff.
I am not saying we are always perfect, mistakes happen, but we do strive for excellence and I believe we provide good quality food at a reasonable price. All our meat is free range, our vegetables are delivered daily and our menu is produced by us fresh. Nothing bought in ready made, nothing frozen. Every dish has been designed by our Chefs, from the Burger recipe to the Cheese Sauce on your pasta. We even pipe our own Sausage mix from a recipe our Head Chef James created. How many Gastro pubs could say that?
I would like to advise booking on a Sunday for a roast as it does get extremely busy. We will always try to accommodate anyone that hasn’t pre-booked but we may not always be able to find a table for you immediately. At peak times we can have up to 90 -100 customers in at any one time, so it may take 30-45 minutes from ordering to receive your food. Nothing is precooked the night before and reheated like many other establishments do. We cook our meat to order.
We have recently changed our wet offering, so far these choices seem to have gone down well. Please let us know what you think.
I felt obliged to write this response today out of respect for our staff. The kitchen team especially work extremely long hours and are passionate about getting it right. It’s not on for business rivals and drunken fools to condemn the work they do.
Ross Newham 11th January 2012
The post below has been edited, 13th January 2012 - Editor.
the owner and the manager said that 'no one EVER complains about their food'. its pretentious,over-priced place for the quality and portion sizes and if I can put any of you not going there I will. If you want food there are far more superior places to go in the village than here (the tapas restaurant,amazing food) and if you want a drink the nag's head is a far more down to earth friendlier place. Its a shame as one or two of the bar staff are very nice. but need retraining in the art of good customer service and making you feeled valued and your opinions validated as a customer.please,do yourself a favour and do not leave the Orford road. As they say on the Eurovision song contest ..the castle gets 'nil poi'.For them to tell me ' no one complains about the food is a joke. there are plenty of complaints about them on the various food/pub guide sites.
Posted 8th January 2012
Went to the Castle for the first time for about a year. They've certainly upped the anti since our first visit. The food was of a very good standard and the presentation excellent. It was busy in there and despite the small kitchen the food arrived in good time and I'll be going back next time in town. Great chips too!
Posted 10th November 2011
Today a group of 9
of us went to The Castle for [presumably
Sunday - ed] lunch. This pub seems to have a strange method
of retaining customer’s credit cards behind the bar as this, we were
informed by bar staff, is apparently company policy if a customer
wishes to run a tab! We are strongly advised by all credit card
companies never to let your card out of sight in this age of credit
experience today we will not be visiting here for a meal any time soon
and I would not recommend this ‘Gastro pub’ to anyone else.
Good to see the Castle doing well on my
return to the Stow. I was in there last weekend in need of some
emergency food and ordered the burger - not always a good idea, but
this was one of the best I've had in a pub. It took me back to the
days in the late 70s when me and the lads used to go up West to queue
for several hours to get a burger at the Hard Rock Cafe. The burger
was pretty nearly that good and the bun crisply toasted. Nothing like
a crispy bun. The chips had aspirations of greatness - plump in their
skins and clearly twice or possibly thrice-cooked. But there were
problems with the fryer that night so they came up just shy of
excellence. You could guess what they could have been, though. Service
was good, too, the waiter refreshingly honest in his confusion, a side
order of more chips supplemented by good string fries because of that
fryer problem. Unfortunately I can't be as positive about the beer.
Choosing a decent pint from the three cask ales on offer was a
lottery, though we eventually found a winner in the Young's Gold.
Greater consistency is required on the wet side.
The Castle's new chef does really lovely food. When it comes to chips I am a real fusspot, but I have to say that his are probably the best chips in the world, he cooks them in a very special way & it shows, yummy!
We really think the Castle's turned a corner. The current chef has got his finger on the pulse and the food is now top quality pub grub. Numbers are up and there's a buzz to the pub that has been seriously lacking over the past few years. Good luck to them and let's hope it continues. Editor Posted 20th September 2011
I recently took 70 odd people from a wedding for a quick drink in this pub before heading off to our reception. I had also arranged for 40 odd people to have Sunday lunch the next day as part of our wedding celebrations. We found the pub to have no problems with having such a large group descend upon them [we had given the manager notice]. We had a very pleasant drink in there and the drinks varied from champagne to pints of real ale. The cost was no more than anywhere else. The pub is very clean, with an agreeable ambience and a nice if small garden. The next day we assembled there for Sunday lunch. The food was of a good quality and everybody enjoyed themselves. We did not find the food expensive but we had pre-ordered for 28 people which seemed to go out the window. The staff were very young but courteous and pleasant although they did make some fundamental mistakes such as bringing out starters after the main meal. However we will forgive them that and we stayed all afternoon and had a very good time indeed! I found the selection of drinks available of a very good quality. Tim Gardner Posted 28th April 2011
The Castle is now serving breakfast including a full English, a veggie option and other lighter choices including organic yoghurt with seasonal berries. Breakfasts are available 9am until 2pm weekdays only.
It's taken a while, and with a little trepidation following some mixed reviews ‘e17’ visited the Castle for a what we hoped would be a fully gastronomic experience.
There's a definite
'bums on seats' improvement at the Castle which would help the
atmosphere of any pub and with the tasteful patio garden now finished
the Castle really seems to be on the up.
I mentioned bums on seats - well there were fourteen of them around one table and unfortunately the bums had ordered their food just before us. And not surprisingly it took a while for our food to arrive.
We had goat's cheese soufflé for starters - always a good chef test, this was cooked well with just the right amount of cheese and the black olive tapenade was a pleasant tangy accompaniment.
Mains were char-grilled red mullet on a bed of aubergine and tomato, and pan-fried sea bass on a bed of crushed new potatoes with buttered baby spinach and black olive vinaigarette. (This was the same dressing that came with the starter - when does a tapenade become a vinaigarette I wonder?) The sea bass was delicately flavoured, fully seasoned and nicely cooked as were the vegetables, but to be honest, although very nicely presented, on a very large plate. It could have been a larger portion - especially at £12.
The red mullet at £9
was equally disappointing in size. Again fully seasoned and well cooked
(though a little over-charred) with the aubergine and tomato creating a
good balance of flavours. There was, however, some doubt over the
freshness of the fish - by no means was it 'off' but it did have a very
10th October 2010
We went to the Castle on Friday night with some friends. We thought that we would eat before watching the game. We had a great evening and the food was really lovely.
We had the scallops to start with, mine minus the meaty bits & the soup, which was tomato & basil. Two had the chicken, one the fish & chips & mine the veggie option, mushroom strogonoff. I have to say, the scallops were cooked to perfection and all the food that was served was very enjoyable, needless to say, our friends who had never tried the Castle to eat before will definitely be going back. They have two chefs now, one English & one French.
The one thing I like about the Castle is the relaxed atmosphere & I must say, I have never ever seen any shouting at staff going on ever.
This place looks better -
nothing amazing but that's about it. I have been to a lot better pubs in
Walthamstow and I don't think that this place warrants a second visit.
The bar staff on the
other had were really nice. The food is ok with very very limited menu
which tasted like average pub food - nowhere near the gastro pub
standard. One veggie option only.
All in all ok but not very welcoming and very little atmosphere...lots of better pubs in the area run by people who have a sense for the area and a smile on there faces.
very carnivorous menu has made its way to the Castle, without a single
vegetarian option as a starter (apart from maybe 'soup of the day', but
who knows) and only one main course, 'vegetarian dish of the day', which
could also be anything, I cant help wondering - although not a veggie
myself - what is so difficult about offering at least one, or maybe even
two, carefully thought-out vegetarian options?
bad news for pescetarians too - only one fish dish and that's
beer-battered coley (a cheap fish generally used for fish fingers) with
chunky chips. Fish fingers and chips - I mean, come on chaps!
The Castle has changed its menu
and now has only four starters,
Editor March 23rd 2010
Utter rubbish, will never go there again.
I took my In-laws there for lunch on a Saturday. We ordered and waited I'd say near 40 mins for the food to arrive (there were four of us and a child, ordering 4 main courses only, there were only 2 other people in the pub), when it arrived, one of the dishes was missing (despite the fact that it was a double order!). We were informed that the remaining dish would be just 2 mins...
After enquiring what was going on, the final dish arrived about 20 minutes later, just as everyone had finished eating, with a frankly 'can't be arsed' apology. Needless to say I sent it straight back. And to note, oddly it looked nothing like the other half of the double order.
Dear 'The Castle', if you are going to call yourself a Gastro-Pub, then at least have the decency to behave like one....
of March 2010 the Castle has got itself a chef (called David) and a
meaty gastropub menu. Two of the veggie starters can be chosen as a main
course and there is one fish dish - 'catch of the day' - which is
advertised as freshly-caught fish. Other mains are chicken, pork, duck,
steak, lamb and venison. Not many animals left, surely. But they do
offer a veggie/vegan option which according to the menu 'can be whatever
you like', and the chef will endeavor to please your
Editor March 2010
has been a fair amount of money spent on renovating the 'new' Castle and
the new owners have managed to throw off the image of being the
slightly uglier sister pub to the Nags Head and have created a
The castle is open from 5-30 till 11 during the week and 5-30 till 1am weekends.
Went to the opening night of the Castle, on 9th July 2009. It was quite full & it would have been nice if they had supplied a few nibbles, not a banquet, just some crisps and nuts even, but alas you had to buy them.
Popped in again on Sunday lunchtime and only a few tables were occupied, Sky news was showing with the sound down, (not good), not that we wanted it turned up, but it is very off putting.
Hopefully, when they start the food, (about a month we were told), it will have a little more soul. I hope it works well for them, because they have put a lot of hard work and effort into it.
Foodie (19th July 2009)
Castle is sister pub to The Nags Head and is run
in a similar way. The decor remains tasteful despite a rather striking
gold painted Artex wall. The Castle's big attraction for the local
clientele is late opening on Friday and Saturday nights when it makes
the most of being licensed for entertainment. Live music, karaoke, DJs
and even live comedy have been known to take the small stage. There is a
small screen above the bar and a larger pull-down screen in the lounge
which is used mainly for showing music videos(and the occasional film).
They now also boast free broadband internet access for those with
wireless laptops, helping to ease E17 into the 21st century.
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