Muddy eats @The Squirrel Pub (Penn St)
Feeling hungry yet? I’m getting a bit twitchy about soups and stir fries and have been starting to fantasise about a juicy whopper pub lunch. Anyway, my erotic musings about dribbly burger juices and wobbly panecottas reminded me that I haven’t told you about The Squirrel pub in Penn St, a couple of miles out of Amersham, that I visited just before Christmas.
First off I should make it clear that this is not a superslick, over-styled gastropub by any stretch, it’s much more in cosy local comfort-food territory, the sort of place I’d bring the kids before or after a robust walk, or pop in for a shandy and a packet of crisps on a sunny day.
The pub is actually in fantastic walking country, with Penn St Woods directly opposite the pub across the common that doubles for the village’s cricket pitch in the summer. The woods are enormous, 436 acres, with loads of walks possible, and plans afoot to create family-friendly signage to encourage more wanderings.
The Squirrel is no doubt busiest and seen to best advantage in the summer with the cricket, decent sized back garden, the nearby woods and a pretty church about 200 metres down the road, but even now if you’re looking to take a robust stride out with the dog or the family and are looking for well-cooked basics at reasonable prices, it’s a good pub to have in your arsenal.
The bar area is attractive, adorned with cricket bats and sporting paraphernalia, and with a gorgeous large wood burner and leather sofas. There is another little area off the bar that doesn’t pack as much atmosphere, so try to reserve in the main room if possible.
I had ham, egg and chips so ostensibly easy enough though a bad pub can cock that up with tough meat and overcooked eggs. It’s not a thing of particular beauty, but it was delicious (and huge!), and for £9.50 it was incredibly good value.
My brother woofed down his 80z Rump Steak with peppercorn sauce (£14.50) in about 20 seconds (I wish I was joking, he didn’t even draw breath), and then we shared a bread and butter pudding which was really great too. Yes, eaten before I remembered to take the photo again. (*sorrrrry!*). The sort of comfort food you’d be happy to get at your mum’s after a tough week.
If you don’t want a massive meal, you can choose simple stuff like jacket potatoes and sandwiches, and kids can make their own Squirrel meal from three columns of ingredients (meat/carbs/veg style thing) which is a nice touch. They’re happy to heat up baby bottles, dogs can come in the bar and basically it’s all set up to be as family friendly and low stress as poss.
The garden was kind of redundant when I went as you’d expect, but in summer there’s a small verandah with its own wood burner and a good sized enclosed garden for kids to bomb about in.
As ever, if you make it there, let me know what you think. I always love to hear your thoughts.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: walkers, families, casual diners, drop-in-ers, snackers, anyone looking for unpretentious old-fashioned local pub grub. Relaxed cricket watchers in summer, or those with small kids who can make the most of the back garden.
Not for: special occasions, gourmands, stylised gastropub fans.
£££: Very reasonable, ideal for a lunch. Most mains £9-11, £2.95 for kids sandwiches, £6.50 jacket potatoes.
The Squirrel Pub, Penn Street, Amersham, Bucks, HP7 0PX. Tel: 01494 711291. thesquirrelpub.co.uk