“ Address: 34 East Street / Warminster / Wiltshire / BA12 9BS „
The Mason Arm's is a traditional pub situated in the town of Warminster in Wiltshire. The pub was recommended to me by some people who regularly go to the pub for food. On my recent trip down to Warminster I decided to go for tea here with my mum, two sisters and baby niece. We did ring and book but on arrival it seemed we needn't have bothered.
From the outside the pub looks very small and very much like a local pub. To me it didn't look over appealing. Had my boyfriend been with me he would have loved the traditional look and said it was a drinking pub! I was pleasantly surprised to see it had a car park to the rear of the pub which is unusually considering it is a town pub. We had actually parked in the car park near Argos which is a couple of minutes walk from the pub and is free.
As soon as we walked into the pub it felt like we had walked into someone's local. The bar area was busy and there did feel like there was a buzz about the place. As we had booked earlier we were quickly taken to a quieter area of the pub which was up a couple of steps and looked like the place people sat to eat. Our initial impressions were it was quite dark and the decoration did look quite tired. They had certainly gone for the old rustic look everything was dark brown. Sitting down at a table for four a high chair for my seven month old niece was brought swiftly. I have a thing about highchairs and how clean they look and so does my sister. The straps on the highchair were no longer white and whole thing looked a bit grubby if I'm honest. Never the less my sister placed her in it. The tables were dark brown and worn looking but I guess that's the look they were after and altogether it did work. But the table was very sticky and there is no need for that. Sitting looking at the menu we weren't too sure of the pub but decided to stay as we had been assured the food was lovely.
The menu was a decent size but not too over loaded. I hate it when there is so much on the menu you don't know where to look. There were a few starters available the usual types breaded mushrooms, a soup, prawn cocktail etc all around the £4.50 mark. We decided to opt straight for a main instead. There was a good range of mains on the menu which seemed there would be something to suit everyone. There were your classics like burgers, lasagne and chicken. And a small selection of simple fish dishes and a selection of salads. They had a selection of homemade pies on their menu which they claim to be famous for and their famous black rock grill steaks. The people who recommended the pub to me often go for the steaks and say they are amazing coming out sizzling on a rock. There were also some deserts on the menu and a small children's menu too. I was happy with what the menu had to offer and just hoped the food lived up to expectations.
*****Our Food and drinks*****
I love pies and my local pub serves an amazing pie so I opted to try one of their famous homemade pies just hoping it was as good. None of the meat pies took my fancy that night so I chose the Roasted Vegetable pie in a creamy cheese sauce with hand cut chips. My mum decided to go with the same as me. It was priced at £8.50 and when it arrived I was impressed with the potion size. The pie was in an individual oval pie dish and the chips were presenting in a small metal bucket. The presentation was very good. The chips were lovely, very hot and the potato inside was fluffy. The pie was excellent and I didn't miss the fact it had no meat inside it. I didn't find the creamy cheese sauce sickly I found it very moreish mixed with a lovely range of vegetables like carrot, broccoli etc it was the perfect balance.
My youngest sister chose the Scampi with tartar sauce, mushy peas (which she asked to be changed to garden peas and they were happy to do so) and chunky handmade chips. It was priced at £9.50. Again the portion size was excellent and once again the presentation had been very well thought out. It came on a large wooden board with the scampi in a fryers basket which I thought was great touch and made us all smile. The scampi with this meal was endless and for the money you couldn't fault it. My sister fully enjoyed her meal but unfortunately couldn't finish it all.
My other sister opted for the Mason grilled chicken burger served with a roll, handmade chips and a dipping sauce. Marks for presentation this one had to top them all it looked wonderful on a large wooden board again laid out very nicely. The chips again were great but unfortunately my sister didn't enjoy the rest of her meal which was a bit of a letdown. She said the chicken tasted burnt and therefore had no flavour. Yes it did say grilled chicken but you don't expect to just taste burnt food. It really was a bit of a shame since all our other meals were fantastic.
We also ordered some garlic bread as a bit of an appetiser before our meals came costing £3. It was ok maybe a little greasy for me but did look freshly made.
We had an important event to go to the following day so none of us were drinking and to be honest I didn't really take much notice as to what was on offer. They do claim to serve some real ales and like most pubs had a large selection of drinks behind the bar. I just had half a diet Pepsi which cost me £1.25.
*****Overall opinion of the Mason Arms*****
Apart from the disappointment of my sisters grilled chicken burger I couldn't fault the other meals they were fantastic and we all really enjoyed them. We definitely left the pub feeling very full and felt we got very good value for money. I would highly recommend it for its food. The service was very attentive and we didn't have to get up once we were never left waiting for long periods of time. The waiter was polite and helpful but he could have cracked a smile!
The cleanness of the table and high chair did put me off a little bit it wouldn't have taken much to make sure the table wasn't sticky. I personally wasn't a huge fan of the style of the decor it did make it very dingy. I have been too many traditional style pubs but this seemed to have taken on the dark ages a little bit too much.
That said I would recommend this pub mainly for its quality of food and if you do decide to take a visit just be aware of the style of pub you are going too and enjoy you fill.