Over the past two weeks I’ve eaten at the newly opened British Beer Company in Framingham several times and can see myself continuing to go back.
My impression of the atmosphere is that it seems to be the corporate interpretation of an English pub, that is a commercialized “homeyness.” I also get kind of a TGI Friday’s vibe. There is plenty of use of dark stained woods and along the walls are funny quotes (most of which are about drinking) from celebrities. Quoted are Dean Martin, W.C. Fields, writer Dorothy Parker, and even a line from the band Spinal Tap. The bar area has plenty of wide screen TVs.
Overall, the menu isn’t purely English cuisine. They do offer fish & chips, shepherd’s pie, pasty pies, and bangers & mash, as well as a burger topped with a truly English cheese, Wenslydale with cranberries. The other notable English menu item is plenty of English beer and ale. One fun thing about the beer list is they have a section titled “crappy beer of the week”; this week it was Pabst Blue Ribbon (I didn’t know they still made it), last week it was Busch.
Two of the times I was there, I had the Cuban Sandwich, which was a “just o.k.” non-traditional version. What made it “just o.k.” was a missing key element, the Swiss cheese. At first I couldn’t put my finger on what was missing but there was something about the pork and ham that was throwing me. The second time I noticed it, the overt “meatiness” of the sandwich, all you could taste was the texture of the meat. The sandwich was served on toasted Ciabatta bread instead of Cuban bread or the more common French bread. I did mention the lack of cheese to the waitress when she asked how the meal was, and she said she’d pass it along to the kitchen.
The third time I tried the Mac & Cheese, which was also “just o.k.” It wasn’t lacking, it just didn’t do it for me.
As a side dish (also available as an appetizer), I had Panko encrusted green beans that came with a parmesan peppercorn dipping sauce. The beans with the coating were tasty enough without the need to sauce them. I could see myself getting addicted to them.
For dessert I had an awesome lemon mascarpone cheese filled yellow cake with blueberries and raspberries. A nice finishing touch was that the cake was dusted with confectionaire’s sugar.
The only downside was that on one of my visits the service was lacking. The waitress lacked enthusiasm (she was like a wet blanket on the party), brought the appetizer too close to the entrée, and brought the check before we were even done with dinner. I got the sense she was trying to rush our party out.
Overall, I found the place worth my repeat business. And, if you’re a beer fan, I think it would be worth checking out for that alone.
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