Thursday, June 23, 2011
No. 62 The Peacock
Visited on 23/6/11. This is a big 1930s pub built in the ‘roadhouse’ style which, over recent years, limped along in a dilapidated state, barely turning a profit before finally closing in mid 2010. It was boarded up for several months and there were rumours that it was to be turned into flats. However, Punch Taverns then surprised everyone by investing a significant amount of money in order to re-launch it as the latest outlet in their ‘Flaming Grill’ portfolio of ‘eat as much cheap, rubbish, unhealthy, badly cooked food as you can – then more’, conceptual pub dining emporia. This ethos is epitomised by the ‘Flaming Challenge’, their signature dish, consisting of 1 kg of meat in a bun accompanied by chips. Customers are encouraged to eat this monstrosity within 15 minutes in order to get their photograph on the ‘Wall of Flame’. Jesus Christ, they should have defibrillators stationed at every table. Anyhow, when we arrived, late evening, the place was practically empty apart from one or two refugees from the past, curious to see how their local had been transformed by the costly refurbishment. Nobody appeared to be that impressed – and with good reason. I can only assume that most of the investment has been in the kitchen, to finance the installation of the massive grillers and fryers needed to produce crap food on an industrial scale, because the interior of the pub itself has only been changed cosmetically. Everything has been painted or varnished and there are new carpets and furniture, all of which look cheap, modern and totally at odds with the style of the building. The first thing that hits you though is the oppressive smell, which is a mixture of paint fumes and fat. Highly unpleasant. Incidentally, for those of you not familiar with the area, the background picture to this blog is the Peacock, mid-refurb. At the point it was taken, everyone thought the lurid orange was the just the undercoat. Unfortunately for the residents of Boughton however, that’s the finished colour – a familiar old building transformed into an eyesore. Surprisingly, two real ales (Hobgoblin and Bombardier) are available here – if you believe ‘fast cask’ is indeed real ale – personally, I think the jury’s still out. The Bombardier came flat and warm as expected and we didn’t bother with the Hobgoblin - one round and we were gone ! We won’t be back either, but as a sort of postscript, it’s been drawn to our attention that some of the pubs we’ve visited on the CBP have printed off their blog entries and put them on the wall. Well of course, the manager of the Peacock is quite welcome to do the same. Maybe this could even go on the ‘Wall of Flame’ ! Just a suggestion.