The Castle

A 'warts & all' account of the transformation of a run-down pub in Bradford-On-Avon into a 'proper' Inn (food pub with rooms). Written by Alex Reilley & Pierre Woodford

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Castle Menu

Smoked Salmon eggs Benedict – 5-50

The Works Breakfast – bacon, Cumberland sausage, tomato, black pudding, mushrooms, bubble & squeak, choice of egg – 6.85

Eggy bread & bacon tower – 5.50

Tortilla, Borlotti beans, cheese, tomato salsa, guacamole & coriander yoghurt (V) – 5.50

Veggi breakfast with sweet corn fritter, beef tomato, field mushrooms, bubble & squeak & egg (V) – 5.95

Smoked haddock with bubble & squeak, poached egg & butter sauce – 7.95

The Castle Burger with sweet dill gherkin & tomato salsa served in ciabatta – 7.50 cheese/bacon 0.50

Flatcapper Ale battered fish with mushy peas, chunky chips & tartare sauce – 9.50

Warm salad of chickpea fritters & roasted red onions with onion & coriander (V) – 7.50

Spinach & cream cheese pancakes with a Gruyere sauce – 6.50

Rump steak with cafe Paris butter & frites – 11.95

Crispy honey glazed duck confit on a creamed celeriac & rocket with bacon lardons – 10.95

Steak sandwich on ciabatta with blue cheese butter, rocket & sweet potato crisps - 7.95

Ploughman’s with a selection of English cheeses, pork terrine, pickled onions and wholemeal bread – 7.95

Pickings / Grazing

Cheesy chips with garlic mayo – 2.95

Mixed olives & parsnip crisps – 2.50

Roasted sweet peppers with herb de Provence
& spiced almonds – 2.95

Marinated char-grilled aubergines – 2.95

Sweetcorn fritters with chilli dip – 3.50

Deep fried squid rings tartare sauce – 4.95


Leek and potato soup 3.50 (S)

Country pork terrine with spiced onions and wholemeal bread
5.95 (S)

Prawn cocktail £5.50 (S)

Fresh mussels £5.50 (S) / £8.95 (M)

Salmon fishcakes with fries and tartare sauce 7.50 (M)

Pan-fried calves liver with grain mustard mash, glazed carrots, roasted red onions and Port jus 12.50 (M)

Chicken and leek pie with new potatoes and glazed carrots 8.95 (M)

Puddings all 4.95

Walnut & treacle tart with lightly whipped cream

Old English syllabub with Cape gooseberry & homemade shortbread

Chocolate St Emillion with brandy cream & grated chocolate

The transformation





On Monday at 3pm (3 hours later than we'd hoped) The Castle finally re-opened it's doors for business. It was a fantastic first night & the pub was extremely busy. Other than one of the chef's walking out at 8.40am there were no major hitches & food & much ale was enjoyed by all. Very heavy head on Tuesday not to mention strange memories of break-dancing with the builders!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


We're almost there & it's all go - builders, chefs, cleaners, all on the final push. Late gas crisis averted after the metre wasn't fitted until 2 days after the supply came in & we almost didn't have any cellar cooling until Monday. All we need to today is some dry weather so the painters can finish off the outside. In 24 hours we need to be open - WE WILL BE OPEN!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

We love the Bath Chronicle!

Our 4th feature in the Bath Chronicle!

Date : 14.06.07

One of Bradford on Avon's oldest pubs will reopen its doors to the public next week after months of restoration work.

The Castle Inn, which was originally built as two houses in the 18th century, has been transformed inside and out since its closure in September last year.

Almost a year later, the pub is back in business under the leadership of a team that includes Pierre Woodford, a former general manager at Sir Terence Conran's Bibendum restaurant in London.

Mr Woodford said the new pub would be much more family orientated, with a large garden and traditional open fireplace.

He said: "The building will be cool in the summer and lovely and warm in the winter.

"We want people to come in and utilise it all year round.

"The sense of space in the building is completely different now to when we started.

"We've moved the main entrance and we're now using a reclaimed Georgian front door."

Maintaining the history of the building was one of the priorities of the £250,000 project by Mr Woodford and his developing partners, Alex Reilley, Dave Reid, Jake Bishop, Peter Dixon and Lee Jones.

Elm floorboards reclaimed from the upper parts of the pub have been laid in the bar area, with all doors, except emergency exits, made from reclaimed Georgian timber.

The public has been able to follow the progress of the project since it began in October through the developers' online diary at .

Mr Woodford added: "The transformation now is stunning from when we first went in and looked at buying it in April last year.

"Lots of people are interested in what it will look like, and hopefully we won't disappoint."

The Castle Inn at Mount Pleasant opens at noon on Monday and the new owners plan to offer upstairs accommodation to guests from mid-August.

5 DAYS TO GO !!!!

We Have Gas! (not flatulence)

Another landmark last night when we had our brand spanking new gas main put in, we were overcome with joy, due to it being done earlier that originally thought, until we realised that they weren't attaching a meter and that the meter was to come from our supplier, a slightly nauseating moment as we have done practically everything to get this far and the appliances are supposed to be commissioned this morning. If it doesn't happen there is a possibility that our plans to open on Monday could go tits up. We just have to look on the bright side, our beer engines have arrived, we have some beer, Heineken have done their install, we have more proper ale arriving today -unfortunately there is, as yet no stillage, a somewhat essential bit of cellar equipment that should be arriving on Friday in time for us to put it up and get the beers on the stillage to settle, and hopefully ready for us to sample a couple on Sunday (just to make sure that it's alright of course) for the opening on Monday.

Meanwhile the site is total chaos with every trade & their dog clambering over each other trying to get finished. All of this whilst stuff for the pub is being delivered. It's all at critical mass & we're all bloody knackered!

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Water, water everywhere

Yesterday evening saw a major landmark in the build – we finally got our water supply upgraded. Just the gas to go now & we’re home a dry (ish). It is truly remarkable how happy such simple things as having your water supply upgraded make you feel.

Internally work is cracking on. The parquet floor is down in the hallway, the relocated elm/pine floor in the snug is being sanded, the flagstones are being laid in the bar overnight tonight & tomorrow, the plumbers & sparkies are final fixing, & the decorators are, well, decorating It’s all a bit well oiled & by far the most together build we’ve ever done with 11 days to go. How’s that for a kiss of death statement.

On the recruitment front something nothing short of a miracle has happened. From having no staff at all to speak of at the beginning of the week we are now fully staffed front of house & we’ve even been contacted by some of those rare breed ‘the chef’.

Orders have been placed for delivers next week & we’ve sample the house stout ‘Goodness’ & it is indeed very good.

This is the calm before the storm; next week’s going to be hectic.

Monday, June 04, 2007


The pubs chefs are raring to go (if only)

Two weeks today we should be funnel drinking ale & basking in the success of having seen this long project come to fruitarian. Suffice to say there’s still a shit load to do.

The gas, which has been a major potential stumbling block, looks like it may just work out for us. From a provisional date to upgrade our gas supply of the 21st June we are now informed, after twice daily pestering for 3 weeks, that this will now happen on the evening of the 13th June. This is going to be tight. The kitchen equipment arrives on Monday 11th but can’t be commissioned until 14th once the new gas metre is in. This will give the chefs a little over 3 days to get cooking in preparation for opening. Which leads nicely into another little problem, we don’t really have any chefs at the moment!

We have made a formal offer to a head chef, which we are confident he will accept. He is able to start next week & he’s very good (news on him when (!) he accepts). In addition to that we have a plan that involves using chefs from Flatcappers sister company Loungers as Loungers has a surplus of chefs waiting to start work at their new café/bar in Oldfield Park, Bath. This will get us through for the first month or so & buys us valuable time to get ourselves sorted.

Front of house staff are also a tiny bit scarce with Pierre being the only certainty, should his health hold out over the next 2 weeks! So suffice so say we trying to bust some serious moves on the recruitment front.

In addition there’s concern about when the flagstone floor for the bar will arrive. Wednesday would be wonderful but may be a bit too much to ask.

At this stage of pre-opening it gets very hectic & the trades on site all want a piece of you. The floors are being sanded on Thursday but the parquet in the hallway has not yet been laid. The kitchen is being delivered on Monday but the floor sanders might need Monday to finish & the floor that the kitchen fitters need to walk back & forth over is in the hallway. We need to sign off the proofs for the signs & the pump clips & god we need to decide on the menu presentation as that’s going to take a week to turnaround. Coke want to install, as do Heineken, we need to schedule in delivery of the stillage & who’s going to install the beer lines for the ales? The stone masons don’t think the stone we need to finish off the fire place will be with us on time, the sparkies are whinging about the antique wall lights we’ve bought, we can’t get into one of the ladies cubicles because the sink is too big, the door to the gents is too big & will look stupid if we trim it back, & the porta-loo should be condemned!! Not to mention we’ve forgotten about the bedrooms.

The 18th, the beer, the relief, & money going into the bank (we hope) instead of flowing out.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Rumours Abound

Having spoken to a few of the locals rumour would have it that we are to be somewhat of a fine dining establishment, one that has a separate restaurant and bar. In order to dispell these rumours I can with uptmost confidence say that this is not the case. What we have set out to (hopefully) achieve is to be an inn, where you can come and grab a proper pint of local beer (or three), relax with a bottle of wine, maybe have some homecooked grub if the fancy takes you and, in time, be able to stay in one of our four wonderfully decorated rooms. We won't be taking reservations and it'll be first come first serve with all orders to be placed at the bar. If all goes to plan will be starting from Monday 18th June - not that far off now and it still seems like theres a ton of work to do.

Talking about opening we are now recruiting staff for bar work and for the kitchen so if you are interested call 07703570228.

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