Stretford is a very different place to where I moved 20+ years ago.
We’ve gone from the nearest options for food and drink being McDonald’s (I mean there’s now a drive through), and a couple of pubs – The Old Cock, The Robin Hood, The Melville – to Stretford Foodhall, pubs including the Longford Tap, and Head (though we’ve lost some, and there is a campaign to help save the Robin Hood), and more coming.
And of course, we have our somewhat regular spot, The Hive.
After a bumpy road – barely opening before having to close again (Pandemic lockdown), they’ve just launched their new menu and, spoiler alert, its delish.
Some things are staying the same – burgers and fries are still on the menu, as is their stunner of a Sunday roast. But there are new starters and mains and a couple of new cocktails, ready for the sunshine.
Let’s start with the new cocktails – the Hive Tropical is a blend of blood orange gin, Passoa liqueur and passion fruit juice – think a boozy Rio Tropical. It’s not too sweet, not too sharp, delightfully juicy. The Vimto Sour, is exactly what you think it is. A mix of gin, egg white and Vimto. Another childhood favourite in boozy form.
Onto the food.
Summery new additions to the starters include prawns and peppers on a slice of toasted ciabatta, a mini fish pie with a filo pastry crust that brings a whole heap of crunch, warmed goats cheese with leek and asparagus, thick pork char siu pork ribs, and my personal favourite, the chicken bon bon with crispy bacon, and caesar sauce. I must admit, I’m going through a bit of a caesar salad phase currently, so that may be why it’s my favourite. Or it could be that the crisp outer hides pieces of full flavoured roast chicken. Who can say?
Onto mains and the two new big hitters coming to the menu is the Spring lamb rump, with lamb kofta, spring vegetables and a yogurt and lamb sauce, and the cod loin with new potatoes, asparagus and warm tartare sauce.
The rump is cooked pink and tender, with the kofta adding a little bit of extra depth and meatiness, with fresh sweetness coming from the vegetables and yogurt to cut through. The cod is cooked til the skin is light and crispy, the warm tartare sauce adding cream and sharpness to the dish.
Then came dessert.
Don’t worry – the infamous stick toffee pudding is staying, now served with salted caramel ice cream (I still miss the Guinness ice cream though, sorry). New additions feature the squidgy and rich chocolate brownie with coffee ice cream, and the lemon cheesecake with lemon and lime curd and a thyme meringue.
I suspect, at least for the summer, the cheesecake may be my go to – as it’s cool and light. But that STP is something special.
That’s a decision for future me to make.
Overall, fantastic new additions to the menu, and these were just a taster – there are also more veggie and vegan options, and of course options for the kids.
Something to keep everyone happy.