The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear…or so Buddy the Elf says. Personally, I believe the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by spending time with your family and friends (which may or may not also involve some rather out-of-tune singing). So when I was invited along to check out the newly renovated Norman Jepson Beefeater in Preston, it was the perfect opportunity to treat my Mum and Sister to some good food and quality family time.
If there’s one thing I have in common with my Mum and Sister, it’s our love for food. Bearing that in mind, it’s fair to say that excitement levels were pretty high on our way to the pub. In fact, the thought of food was so thrilling that I actually had to tuck into the emergency flapjack that I kept in my bag…please tell me I’m not the only person who always carries some sort of snack in her bag, no matter what? Seriously, if I get hungry, I get hangry and you don’t want to see me when I’m hangry. Luckily, whilst my hanger was temporarily curbed by a flapjack, we arrived at the Norman Jepson Beefeater feeling super giddy.
The decor of the pub wasn’t like that of your typical pub-chain. It had quirks, personality and a fresh, welcoming atmosphere. We’d booked a table for 8pm but arrived there about 20 minutes early…our punctualilty probably had something to do with our hunger-induced states of excitement. Thankfully, our early arrival was no problem and we were immediately walked round to our table. We settled into our seats and hastily picked up the menu’s to feast our eyes on the many options before us. After scouring the menu, eyes lighting up at the sound of almost every meal, I finally decided on a Cheese and Mushroom Steak Burger and we placed our orders.
It’s rare that my Mum, Sister and I get to spend time together. If we do, it’s usually on a girls night in or whilst we’re all out running errands like headless chickens. So, it was lovely to kick off the weekend by spending our Friday evening having a giggle over food and drinks together. I can’t really remember the last time we got together, just the three of us, for some quality girl-time. Christmas reminds us all of the importance of spending time with your nearest and dearest. After such a fun-filled night of food and laughter, I’m making a mental note to arrange more family days.
I was pleasantly surprised by our main meals. Excuse my pessimistic attitude, but usually when I go for pub-grub I build myself up to expect sub-standard food. Well, that wasn’t the case here. My burger was way bigger than expected…I almost half-regretted eating that flapjack en-route. It definitely ticked all the right boxes for taste too. I can also say that my mum and sister couldn’t fault their main meals either with my sister even daring to say it was tastier than the food at our favourite pub at home! Now that is a pretty bold statement to make, especially as she’s so difficult to please when it comes to food.
The atmosphere of the pub was warm and welcoming. It’s decor drew me in with all it’s minor details from the copper lamp hanging over one of the tables, to glass-jar lamps above another, to wooden crates filled with flowers and cow-focused artwork adorning the walls. I could have spent hours wandering around the pub, discovering all it’s sweet little quirks. Though, I imagine all the other families wouldn’t have been so fond of me interrupting their meal just to get a closer peak at whatever artwork rested on the wall behind them.
I think it’s safe to assume that the pub is making a come-back. But not as the grimy, dingy local you may be familiar with. Instead, it’s returning as a fun, friendly and creative space that serves up dishes that will keep you smiling. I definitely felt welcomed by the cozy yet modern atmosphere at the Beefeater. Plus, you can’t argue with being spoilt for choice when looking at the menu. Their starters ranged from pulled beef and yorkshire pud slices to whole baked camembert and (almost) everything in-between. Whilst the main courses included more grills than I even realised existed, house favourites, and even tasty alternatives if you want something a little bit different to the usual ‘pub-grub’ of steak or burgers.
Here’s to the first, of what I imagine will be, many meals out with family and friends over the festive period.