The Atlas is my local Pub and a favourite haunt of mine. It has somehow managed to retain that traditional Pub feel while serving what is a lot better than the average pub menu and having a pretty extensive Wine list. I’m told the beer is good too – and they make excellent Pimms and Bloody Marys.
Although the menu changes quite regularly, the style of the food has been ‘casual mediterranean’ for as long as I remember. For a quick lunch, there are ‘sandwiches’ (which are substantial and made with ciabatta bread) and soup . If you are looking for a full meal, there is a range of starters and an antipasti platter for sharing, a few pasta and risotto dishes which come in small and large portions, main courses such as grilled Italian sausages with mashed potatoes & red onion marmalade, braised lamb shank in red wine, olives, nutmeg & creamy polenta and roast fillet of haddock with asparagus, leeks, broad beans & peas. Everything is served with chunks of homemade bread, olive oil and tapenade (no extra cost). There are a few puddings, good comforting chocolate cake, crumbles, ice-cream and the option of a cheese platter with grapes. But to be honest, we are usually way too full to manage to eat anything at that stage.
I am curious whether the chef has changed. We ordered the antipasti platter, something that we’ve had on numerous occasions in the past. In the past I’ve shared it with vegetarian friends with no problem – small portions of hummus, frittata, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella, caponata, tapenade, flat bread and a selection of meats and smoked fish. Today’s platter was substantial but I would estimate around 85% meat based (parma ham, salamis, chicken liver pate), with just a few slices of grilled courgettes and a tiny bowl of sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella. For our main course we chose ‘Venetian style calves liver’ with balsamic onions and beans. It turned out to be rather thick but very tender slices of calves liver served with some sweetish tiny silver skin onions in a balsamic glaze and bundles of green beans wrapped in bacon. My companion enjoyed the bean wraps and chewed his way through the entire mix although he admitted he couldn’t taste anything other than bacon, I tried a mouthful and found the bacon so overpowering that I unwrapped my bundles to enjoy sweet, crunchy bacon infused green beans.
My take on the Atlas food is that it is good, hearty and very tasty pub grub with a difference, but not real foodie standard. Maybe I am just fussy, but the liver was too thick cut and too ‘well done’ for me and the bean wraps were really not the work of a chef with a subtle palate. On previous occasions we’ve ordered fish that has been superb, mostly because it has been fresh and cooked simply. It’s ‘real food’ and first rate for lunch or a casual supper date. The Pub has a pretty and secluded walled garden with tables and a very clever electric awning that covers the entire area if the weather is inclement. There are also two private rooms upstairs which can be hired.
I count myself very lucky to have such a pleasant local just a couple of minutes from where I live!