The Fitzwilliam Arms at Marholm has been a staple on the Peterborough eating out scene for as long as I can remember - and there has certainly been no let up in its popularity if our Saturday afternoon visit is anything to go by.
It’s a great looking hostelry,bigger than it looks, nicely done out inside and as it was packed there was quite a buzz about the place.
There are lots of little areas to eat, which must make it a nightmare for staff keeping track - to the point where after ordering and receiving our drinks we were beginning to think we had been forgotten.
Nevertheless our waitress eventually arrived and the service was pretty good for the rest of our stay.
It’s a chain pub (Vintage Inns) but as menus go, it is certainly one of the more creative ones - not just pub grub.
But while the offerings were certainly quite enticing, the delivery was slightly disappointing.
First up for me was the salt beef hash – slow-cooked British beef brisket, pan fried with baby potatoes and onions, topped with a fried free-range egg. Now the beef to be fair had a nice flavour about it but it was just swimming in oil from the fried potatoes which were well cooked but spoiled by the drenching of oil. Ditto the fried egg.
For me it should have been dry, letting the yolk drizzle down all over it.
Donna felt equally let down by the fried spiced calamari - the coating was a little powdery but the calamari quite rubbery. There was a lot of it but give me quality over quantity anytime. The one redeeming feature was the very tangy tomato chutney.
Pork belly is right up there in my list of favourite meats - so the fact that I didn’t finish my main course tells a story. There was nothing wrong with the way it was cooked (panfried) or the presentation, it just didn’t set the tastebuds alight.
I did enjoy the cheddar and leak sausage stuffing, which perhaps overpowered the pork, and the mash was fine, but the black pudding was incredibly dry and I have no idea what half an apple was doing on top!
The smoked haddock and wholegrain mustard fishcakes Donna was served up were soft and fluffy inside, crispy on the outside and improved by a lovely cockle and mussel sauce – which unfortunately made the dressed leaf salad a bit of a mush.
Brad’s rating: 6
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Arms, Stamford Road, Marholm, Peterborough, Telephone: 01733 267913