Have you got the Christmas bar snacks ready?

 

The focus on doing a Christmas roast menu can often mean pubs miss another obvious opportunity: festive bar snacks. 

James Scott, who is the executive chef for the multi-award-winning New World Trading Company, has a few tricks up his sleeve that can help you create a great festive snacks menu.

James stresses it is a good idea to get ahead of the game and plan your pub’s festive snacks early. He says: “We find customers are making enquiries for Christmas parties a lot earlier than previous years, so it makes sense to be ready.”The process all begins as soon as one Christmas ends and we start collecting feedback in preparation for the following year. This way it is still fresh in our minds and we start getting some ideas and inspiration down on paper around January/February.”

Simple snacks

If you keep things simple and use a template similar to your existing snacks menu you can avoid making too much extra work for yourself.

“The price points for the Christmas nibbles are based on our current menu price points for bar snacks,” James continues, “just with a festive theme. The key is to make them affordable to guests.

“We used our normal suppliers — we asked them if they had any ideas for the nibbles. Christmas pudding sausage meat was intriguing to us, so we played around with it and decided to do it as a sausage roll.”

So when he sat down to put together the Christmas snack menu, where did he start?

“We haven’t previously done a Christmas nibbles menu,” James says, “so we wanted to have a bit of fun with it. If you are in the bar having a drink rather than a sit-down meal, these are the perfect Christmas-themed snack for that.

“We took this as our focus, alongside the wider feedback we received on Christmas, what has worked in the past and what we believe guests want.”

Getting the look

Presentation of snacks is central to their success and for delivering the wow factor for people — although practicality plays a part as well.

James says: “The dishes are presented in small cast iron pots — they are the perfect size for nibbles and are robust enough for the wear and tear of a busy period.”

Another vital element is to make sure the new menu does not have a negative impact on the back-of-house team.

“It will mean a little extra work for the kitchen team,” James says, “but we use some of the ingredients or recipes in the main menu anyway.

“Training will be given to the chefs and general managers over November to ensure it is fresh in their minds and they will get to sit down and have a pre-Christmas meal where they will be served the menu and nibbles to get them into the festive spirit,” he adds.

And do not forget to push the menu out to your customers when you are ready to share it — after all, you will need to drive footfall to make it a success.

New World’s festive menu will be presented to local punters before being rolled out across the company’s pubs.

James continues: “We will also be including it in our email marketing, point-of-sale and shared with members of our new loyalty scheme ‘My New World’.

“Once we get in the festive period, these will also form a key part of our Christmas and social media campaigns.” [ . . . ]

Read More at: Inapub News – Have you got the Christmas bar snacks ready?

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Glasgow whisky bar named Scotland’s Pub of the Year

Pub of the Year in Glasgow

A Glasgow bar that has found fame worldwide for its extensive whisky collection and knowledgeable staff has been crowned Scotland’s Pub of the Year.

The Pot Still Bar received the prestigious prize at the AA Hospitality Awards in a glittering ceremony at Grosvenor House in London.To mark the twenty-first anniversary of the awards, this year’s event was presented by Claudia Winkleman, with the best establishments in the UK being honoured across twenty-three categories, including Chefs’ Chef, Lifetime Achievement Award and Housekeeper of the Year.

The AA Pub of the Year accolade is awarded to those pubs that successfully combine the “provision of enjoyable food, a great pub atmosphere and a warm welcome with a high standard of management”.

Previous Scottish winners have included The Bow Bar in Edinburgh and The Ship Inn in Elie, Fife.The Pot Still, which is located on Glasgow’s Hope Street, was chosen due to its extensive whisky range, highly knowledgeable staff and ‘traditional pies.’

Source: Glasgow whisky bar named Scotland’s Pub of the Year – Scotsman Food and Drink

Camra: more than half of UK adults struggle to afford to drink in pubs

More than half of adults in the UK are struggling to afford to drink in pubs, according to the Campaign for Real Ale

The average price of a pint of beer in London is now £5.20 and regularly tops £6. Across the country, the average is about £3.50, leading to many drinkers staying at home with cans of beer bought in supermarkets instead, said Camra, which warned that more than a dozen pubs a week were closing as a result.It said its research found that 56% of drinkers believe the price of a pint of beer in a pub in the UK has become unaffordable.Prices have risen steeply in recent years, with various taxes including beer duty, business rates and VAT accounting for a third of the cost, said Camra.

The most expensive places for a pint outside London are Oxford (£4.57), Edinburgh and Bristol (£4.35), and Brighton (£4.24). The cheapest is Carlisle £2.35, which is two-thirds of the UK average.

Craft beer in supermarkets costs about £1.50 per bottle or can (330ml) and while mass-produced lager and bitters averages less than £1.

Camra is concerned that the government is planning to increase the tax paid by pubs in the November budget. Beer duty is to rise by about 2p per pint under Treasury plans, and small pubs are to lose the £1,000 in business rate relief introduced in 2017, but scheduled to end in 2019. [ . . . ]

Continue reading at THE GUARDIAN: Camra: more than half of UK adults struggle to afford to drink in pubs | Money | The Guardian

Trappist ales: why monks have always brewed beer

What’s the historic connection between abbeys and brewing?

Monks in Leicestershire are brewing up a storm, the first batch of a new Trappist ale. The monks of the Mount Saint Bernard abbey have revived the craft of brewing beer. But, how far back does the tradition go in the UK? Helen Castor spoke to the beer historian Martyn Cornell to discover a tradition that goes back for centuries before the Reformation, when beer was given as hospitality but also drunk by the monks themselves who needed something nutritious to quench their thirst when working hard in the fields or in workshops around their Abbey.

Listen at: BBC Radio 4 – Radio 4 in Four, Trappist ales: why monks have always brewed beer

Holborn Dining Room: ‘Its pork pie is a bold expression of pig’

If you come here and don’t order a pie, you’ll only have yourself to blame. Don’t let me down, says Jay Rayner

My late mother had no truck with religious observance. She preferred cultural signifiers of her Jewishness like a full fridge, a belief in the utilitarian qualities of cake liberally applied and a hatred of silence at the table. There was, however, one way in which she observed Jewish religious ritual, though she was utterly bewildered when I pointed it out to her. She liked to cook gefilte fish, that sustaining mix of ground white fish, bound with matzo meal and sweetened with sugar. It comes in two forms. There is the boiled, served cold with its own fishy jelly, an abomination I always regarded as the closest food could come to cruel and unusual punishment. And then there is the fried, which is a different matter altogether. It should be crisp and golden outside and light and fluffy inside. Cooking them made the house smell of indulgence. I would watch them being lifted from the oil with a slotted spoon to the rack to cool a little. At which point I would try to take one and would have my hand verbally slapped away. “Not until they’re cold.”

I was baffled. Eventually I became old enough to do a bit of reading and investigation. Gefilte fish is food for the Sabbath, when no work can be done. They are to be cooked in advance, so the family has something ready for after sundown. Hence, by necessity they are served cold. My mother, who saw religious dogma (rightly) as the cause of so much suffering, had carried one small piece of it into her kitchen, from her adored grandmother’s. When I pointed this out, she was horrified. She let me eat one hot. God, it was good: the just-fried shell, yielding beneath my teeth, giving way to gusts of hot, sweet fishy steam and soft white flesh. Oy, and as I believe some people still say, Vey.

In what I recognise may be one of the greatest dietary non-sequiturs of all time, I have long felt the same way about pork pies. I bloody love a pork pie. All culinary traditions have a way of using up bits of animal that might otherwise go to waste, and the pork pie is one of our noblest. I love the interplay of crisp, animal fat-boosted hot water pastry, the dense meaty filling, punched up with white pepper, and then the jelly, reintroduced back to the tight cavities from which it has leaked during cooking. The thing is, I have always wondered how marvellous one would be straight out of the oven.

[ . . . ]

Continue this wonderful restaurant review at THE GUARDIAN : Holborn Dining Room: ‘Its pork pie is a bold expression of pig’ – restaurant review | Life and style | The Guardian