The quirky village pub near Bristol where diners can enjoy great food in a train carriage
The food is also good quality and reasonably priced
and live on Freeview channel 276
There can’t be too many pubs offering elegant dining on a railway carriage - but then The Old Station Inn, which is a 35-minute drive from Bristol, isn’t an ordinary pub. Situated on the busy Wells Road in the quaint village of Hallatrow, this friendly local is full of surprises.
Having arrived on a footpath at the rear of the pub, I soon got my first clue that this place was a bit special. Passing through a gate, I trod over a small embankment I later discovered to be the remains of the old Bristol and North Somerset Railway, which at one time linked Bristol to Weymouth.
Then, as I walked through the rear garden scattered with wooden tables, I caught my first glimpse of it; an old Pullman railway carriage rather awkwardly sticking out of the back of the pub which had been transformed into an impressive dining car.
But that wasn’t the only quirk to the place. Once inside the front door, the pub turned out to be an Aladdin’s Cave with treasures from yesteryear, from Victorian trumpets hanging from the ceiling to framed newspapers documenting the sinking of the Lusitania in the First World War.
It took me a minute to take it all in before ordering a drink at the bar, also covered in ornaments.
Being a Monday lunchtime, my family and I were the only ones inside and we were kindly shown to a table already laid out for us. ‘But what about the carriage?’ I hopefully asked. ‘Heating was off this morning so it’s a bid cold,’ replied the man behind the bar.
I couldn’t tell if this was him protecting the charms of the carriage from my two very young children, or if it was the truth!
The friendly barman promised to show us the carriage later while informing me that the pub once served as a hotel for the nearby Hallatrow railway station. The station had since been demolished to make way for a trading estate, however black and white pictures in the pub showed what it once looked like.
Back to the table and we were all impressed by the menu, plus an additional ‘credit crunch’ menu offering two courses for under £15. I chose the beef chilli nachos with melted cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and jalapenos for a reasonable £12.95.
As I waited, I sipped a perfect pint of Doom Bar while I continued to look around at the eclectic range of items spread all around the pub. With items including old railway signs, shooting practice targets and even the front of a car, it was like being in a museum.
Being so quiet, we didn’t have to wait long for the food. My chilli nachos were both crunchy and gooey with cheese and sauce. My wife’s fish and chips was delicious and the children’s spag bol was homemade and filling.
So good was the food that we even ordered dessert; chocolate and cranberry bread and butter pudding and chocolate profiteroles - which gave us the chance to walk to the back of the pub and view the railway carriage.
And it was beautiful. The back garden scenery through the windows might not have been moving, but the standard of restoration combined with the chairs, cultery and even place mats made it possible to believe you could be on the Orient Express, just maybe.
Back at our table we finished off the desserts happily before heading back out into the cold air with our bellies full and our minds swamped with railway nostalgia.
The Old Station Inn, Wells Road, Hallatrow. BS39 6EN