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“Fine dining”

Salisbury Arms Hotel
Ranked #7 of 97 Restaurants in Hertford
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: British
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Smart clothes, fine dining. Ideal for entertaining guest.
Very nice restaurant, in house CHEF, not a made up microwave title. I would give it a 10 out of 10 Best call forward and reserve. If you have not been here for a long while I can say the spruce up has give the place a lighter feel.

1  Thank FloridaSun2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (233)
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158 - 162 of 233 reviews

Reviewed 27 May 2014

Highly recommend a visit here. Excellent food, great room, great staff, cant ask for much more from a pub! Very nice atmosphere in a nice town.

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Thank Wendy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2014

The Salisbury Arms is a bit gloomy, but their recently renovated restaurant is actually quite nice inside, but the good ends there. My steak was awful, it seemed to be cooked OK but I can only assume the meat is very poorly sourced. The veg was very stingy in it's portions and the whitebait was clearly frozen and bought in.

The waitresses were lovely though, and that's the only reason I'm leaving any stars.

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Thank Bob L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

Easter Sunday, so what better way to celebrate with family than to eat out? Seeking a traditional Sunday lunch, we opted to eat at the very traditional 'Salisbury Arms Hotel', an historic (c.1500s) coaching inn in the centre of Hertford. The building oozes past charms... wood pannelling, timeless paintings, the smell of real ale. In fact the only atmospheric ingredient missing was the deeply impreganted scent of Hamlet cigars fused with a decade's Benson & Hedges finest smoke. Add these, and one really would feel transported back to a bygone era of steam trains, chalk and blackboards, Morris Oxfords, Austin Cambridges and monochrome 405 line televisions. Some things are beyond a hotel's control.

What is not beyond the hotel's control, however, is the quality of its food. And this is where the charm and ambience of the Salisbury sadly evaporates, all the more so because the dining room's presentation, with its pale grey painted wood panelled walls, plush carpet, crisp ironed white table linen, weighted cutlery and elegant 'polished-to-a-sparkle' wine glasses sets an expectation of decent food to come. Friendly staff dressed in smart and formal attire only adds to the pleasing ambiance. Beware, however, of being deceived by viusal cues: the indifferent delights of 'mass catering' are coming your way from behind those swinging one way doors.

Whilst hardly challenging, the menu nevertheless offered all the usual suspects associated with a quintessential English hotel restaurant: starters of Gravadlax of Salmon with honey mustard dressing, Cashel Blue and Pear Salad with walnut dressing and Honeydew Melon with Parma Ham were followed by all the popular roasts, pies, grilled fillet of cod with five bean salad plus a vegetarian alternative or two. All the usual suspects. What's not to like? What could possibly go wrong???

Just about everything it seems. Take the Honeydew Melon with Parma Ham: 10/10 for presentation, the melon nicely cut and fanned, but sadly accompanied by only a single, miserly slice of ham (I don't think it was genuine 'Parma' which is paler and sweeter than the ham I was served) garnished with a solitary stawberry to add sweetness and decoration and all tastefully drizzled with fruity sauce. Yummy. Until you tasted, or rather didn't taste, the flavourless and somewhat hard melon. There is no excuse for tasteless melon but there are three explanations: 1) it's out of season - in which case what's it doing on the menu? 2) the person who buys the melon has not been properly trained in what to look for when buying them 3) the supplier is not deserving of the hotel's business. Or all three.

For the main course, roast leg of lamb beckoned. It's Easter Sunday after all. Oh dear. Slices of dried cardboard with watery tasteless gravy. An average Yorkshire pud, soggy cabbage that would struggle to be appreciated in a care home and only passable roast potatoes. The mint sauce - so quick and easy to make and infinitely superior to bought mint sauce - was industrial.

Others in our party expressed delight with the Salmon Gravadlax, one wishing he'd had it for a main course too as it was so good in stark contrast with the roast beef which was also of the dried cardboard variety; hopelessly over cooked and, like the lamb, of a dryness and consistency that suggested it might have been carved a couple of hours before being plated and then kept warm under a hot lamp or in an oven. The 'Homemade Chicken and Ham Pie' got a resounding 'thumbs up' for flavour and its sense of being a genuinely good homemade pie. But is it made in the same kitchen that cremates joints of meat or is it bought in from a local supplier? Whichever, it was good.

Now I know there are still some who like their meat 'well done dear' so a kitchen of the Salisbury's size and tradition should give thought to roasting several joints for different lengths of time to satisfy the preferences of its clientele rather than disdainfully turn out a 'well done fits all' joint. Roast beef surely should be rare in the middle and 'medium' at either end. Ask Deliah. Lamb too should be pink, and any half decent restaurant asks diners whether they have a preference for pink or well done meat. And should the only beef or lamb available be of the 'thin sliced cardboard' variety, then the customer should be advised of the fact so that he or she can choose an alternative rather than be disapppointed. I know what Gordon Ramsay would have said if he'd been presented with my meal - I can hear the expletives from here.

We declined desserts and coffee - based on the quality of the food we'd probably have been brought a cup of stewed filter coffee that had been sitting on a hot plate for two hours rather than a freshly brewed cup. That might be a cruel and mistaken perception but based on what had gone before it was a reasonable conclusion to draw.

If you're looking for a traditional and comfortable dining room and formally attired and friendly staff, then The Salisbury Arms will tick your boxes. But if you're a 'foodie' give the place a wide berth and go to Lussman's just a few doors down from The Salisbury where they obsess about good cooking and the use of top quality, locally sourced ingredients is de rigueur. The Salisbury ought to be Hertford's finest dining room. It is owned by the town's brewery who have plenty of experience and money. It needs to try harder. Much harder.

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1  Thank EpicureanPursuits
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2014

Went for lunch on Saturday to the Salisbury Arms - the food was good as there were four of us we chose between the set menu and the a la carte. Both were good but the set menu was very good value. Although there were not many guests in the restaurant it was very pleasant and the staff were friendly and helpful.

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Thank vacationgirl001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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