Decided that, as I like to write about food I might as well write about other people’s cooking too. We went to the Mason’s Arms (http://www.masonsarmspub.com/page1.htm) to treat my brother to a meal for his 21st birthday and it did not disappoint. We moved into Warminster 2 1/2 months ago, and have been going to the pub around once a fortnight for its excellent meat raffle. We ate there the first time we went in, having chosen it for no particular reason and were really chuffed to have another excuse to eat there. To be honest, it’s all about the steak! We were lucky enough a couple of weeks ago to win a free Black Rock in the aforementioned raffle – a nice little bonus considering we’d already planned to eat there yesterday.
The way they serve steak at the Mason’s Arms is a spectacle. Your meat comes on a “Black Rock” – essentially a superheated lump of granite, designed to cook your steak to its desired done-ness at the table. Instead of the broad-and-flat steak to which people are accustomed at ordinary pubs, you get what looks like a miniature roasting joint, to prevent it overcooking whilst you eat.
A Man and I both love super-rare beef, and to be honest this is the best way to eat it and ensure that it’s still hot when you do. The rock stays unbelievably hot throughout your meal, allowing you to take your time over your food instead of wolfing it down (not that my brother seemed to understand that premise…) and to make sure that it’s cooked to perfection. I particularly enjoyed the last few mouthfuls of my 8 oz ribeye, which had gone beautifully crispy on the bottom, but was still virtually untouched in the middle. Perfect!
Of course, if you prefer the sacrilege of a well-done steak, it’s perfect for you too – just cut it up into tiny pieces as soon as it arrives and it’ll soon be just as cremated as you like 🙂
The steak is served up with fantastic chips, onion, mushroom and tomato. Top tip – don’t copy A Man and place half a tomato on the Black Rock and straight into your mouth. Tomatoes retain heat like a bitch. Also (as we were discussing last night) don’t lick your plate. That instant cooking you’ve seen of your steak? Yeah, that’ll happen to your tongue too…
Quick shout-out for CJ Robbins (http://www.cjrobbins.co.uk/) too – the local butcher which supplies the Mason’s with their meat. Fab local butcher’s which provides great meat. We’ve won their breakfast pack in the raffle (free range eggs, delicious sausages and thick thick bacon) and I’ve bought some bits from there too – always had great service and great products.
In terms of drinks, there’s lots of traditional ales, some great “rough” ciders (I’m a particular fan of Bristol Port – a dark, almost orange cider which has a faint hint of vinegar about it. Probably not selling it to you very well!) and we bought a rather nice bottle of Rioja last night. Staff are lovely and the patrons are pretty friendly too (if somewhat older than we are 🙂 ). The ladies’ loo contains all sorts of extra little bits like hand cream, hair spray and a hairdryer provided by Helen, which is a nice touch. All in all, a pub which I anticipate spending a fair amount of time at as long as we’re living here.