Review: Why the relaunch of the Hatton Arms was worth the wait

When a popular pub and restaurant closes for several weeks to be enhanced and improved it's fascinating to see if the wait for it to reopen was worth it.

The Hatton Arms at night.
The Hatton Arms at night.

The Hatton Arms, which was shut for refurbishment from late January to the end of February, is now back in business and customers are already returning in numbers to experience the new aesthetics and try the new menu.

The pub's evening dishes will cost customers up to £8.25 per head for an individual starter, or £16.50 for a sharing platter, while the most expensive dish on the list of mains - an 8oz fillet steak- is £28.

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Puddings cost around the price of a starter too.

The Hatton Arms in the daytime.

Ingredients are sourced from suppliers based near the pub and the Hatton Estate, which it is a prominent part of.

This adds to the menu's rustic appeal.

For my starter, I chose chicken liver pate with plum chutney and toasted sourdough but was keen to have a taste of what my partner had ordered - the Devon crab and avocado toast with tomato and chilli salsa.

It's not as if I didn't like my choice - it was very nice and the serving of pate was generous.

Interior shot of the recently refurbished Hatton Arms.

But the crab was amazing and I was slightly jealous that my partner got to have the lion's share of it.

I also fancied having the pan-roasted sea trout fillet spinach and samphire risotto, crispy ham and lobster butter sauce but for the sake of us both trying something different and having a taste of each other's dishes for review purposes I chose the grilled Wellesbourne venison haunch with root vegetable dauphinoise, tender stem broccoli, game jus and beetroot jam.

This time I didn't feel so envious.

The sea trout was a fine dish, which my partner found to be hearty and filling.

Interior shot of the recently refurbished Hatton Arms

But the rich venison, doused in the jus and with an ample serving of the jam was a treat.

I didn't even mind that there was no dauphinoise left to be served with the meat as I really enjoyed dipping the chunky chips I had chose as a replacement into the sauce.

This was high-end good pub grub.

Neither of us would compromise on our choice of pudding so we both opted for a slice of Bailey's cheesecake with was sweet, smooth, mellow and had just the right dash of booze in it.

The restaurant now has a team of 35 full and part-time staff and a large number of waitresses and waiters were buzzing around to ensure waiting times were kept at a minimum and the sense of hospitality kept at a maximum at the many full tables in the venue.

Our waiter Calum deserves a special mention for his friendly and attentive, though never intrusive, service.

Manager Steph Ward, bursting with pride about the pub, told me that the Hatton Arms' main customer base comes from the nearby Hatton Park housing estate and Hatton village.

But with its new look, lovely new menu, new overall outlook but the same cosy charm, the pub should not have any problems continuing to attract people from further afield to its idyllic canalside location.