Down the Hatch
A traditional neighbourhood pub serving quality food that's homespun, good value and unpretentious.
THE LOWDOWN / LOCATION
Smack bang in the middle of Reigate and Redhill, this pub on Hatchlands Road is a classic and traditional public house in almost every way. It dates back to the 17th century when it was part of a former workhouse with a hayloft for horses, and retains much of its original character.
Originally called The Forresters Arms – the name is inscribed on a beam above one of the original fireplaces – it became known as The Hatch in the early Nineties. It’s had a bit of a chequered history, but a new landlord moved in just over a year ago and it’s been on the up ever since.
The Hatch is a friendly neighbourhood pub – it feels cosy and unpretentious like the best locals do. It’s the kind of place you’d pop into if you fancy a quick drink, or if you can’t be bothered cooking but want wholesome and good quality grub.
The recent refurb saw the replacement of sticky swirly dark carpets with a light checked pattern carpets and exposed timber flooring creating a warm, earthy vibe without losing the traditional feel. Add to the the mix-and-match furniture adorned with cushions and throws and the place has a rare cosy and homely feel. The pub is set out in an L-shape, with a small nook just to the left of the bar which leads through to another small dining room and out to a patio dining area.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The food, like the pub itself, is unpretentious and homespun with a mix of traditional pub classics and seasonal dishes that change monthly. Everything is cooked fresh, delivered in generous portions with flair, and good value.
I went with Mr Muddy on a Friday for lunch, nabbing a cosy table for two in front of the fire. It was fairly quiet when we arrived at noon, and while not packed to the rafters when we left a couple of hours later, it was certainly busier.
There’s a decent wine list – and good selection of ales both local and from further afield – Mr Muddy sampled the Redgate Ale made especially for The Hatch by The Godstone Brewers – and was very impressed. Unusually for me, I stuck to water.
I started with the Smoked mackerel & horseradish pâté with red onion marmalade and melba toast (£5.75) followed by the chilli, lime and prawn tagliatelle (£12.75). Both were delicious and filling (and very good value). Mr Muddy started with Arancini topped with a tomato and herb salsa, and followed it with a traditional Redgate-battered fillet of haddock and chips which comes with peas and homemade tartare. I’m a fuss-pot when it comes to battered fish – on the face it such an easy dish, but in reality so easy to get wrong – and at The Hatch it was perfectly cooked.
Pudding? Why not, despite the fact I was stuffed to the gills, shared a pecan tart with Mr M. No complaints here – it was scrummy. But I did have to roll myself home!
Yep, it’s relaxed and friendly. And on Sunday they do kid-sized roast dinners. They’ll also be opening for weekend brunch quite soon too. Watch this space!
OUT & ABOUT
Reigate is a great market town for a wander and a window shop, and of course there’s always Priory Park with it’s brilliant kids play area, woods and lake.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Sunday lunchers on a day out, relaxed groups, those looking for good value quality food.
Not for: Those looking for fine dining, formality or quirkiness. This is an honest, traditional pub using quality ingredients.
The damage: Starters £5-£6; mains £11-£18, smaller plates £7-£9, sandwiches £6-£9, puddings £5-£6.
The Hatch, 44 Hatchlands Road, Redhill, RH1 6AT. Tel: 01737 42 33 42. thehatch.pub