Just off the main road on a quiet side street, it would be easy to miss The East Hill if you didn’t know it was there. However, the pub’s smart interior, good food and friendly atmosphere makes it worth scoping out.
The bar area is bright and friendly, with a flagstone floor and open fire being just a couple of original touches. There is a definite country pub vibe and both the bar and restaurant area are dotted with attractive mismatched furniture and vintage paraphernalia. A small dividing wall separates the two areas, with a large mirror on the restaurant side maintaining the open and bright feel. The focus at The East hill is more on dining than drinking, with the restaurant area slightly larger and with more seating.
This pub is lively, even on a Monday, with plenty of people drinking and eating and a number of dining tables reserved. The clientele covers a broad range of ages, although the typical custom comes from young locals stopping for dinner or a drink after work. In both the bar and dining area tables are not too cramped, so even when it’s busy it doesn’t feel overcrowded.
For starters, the herb crumbed Somerset Brie with Cumberland sauce (£6.50) is a nice option. The Brie is satisfyingly crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, although it is a little bit chewy at times. The portion is the perfect size for a starter and comes accompanied with a chutney and well dressed salad. Alternatively, the chicken liver parfait with pear chutney and toast (£6.95) is packed full of flavour, the pate smooth and not too rich or overpowering.
Corn-fed chicken, bacon, mushroom, red wine and gratin potato (£13.50) is well cooked and tender, with the crispy bacon adding a nice crunch to the dish. It comes with a very decent portion of potatoes. For something completely different, have the roast lamb loin, spiced chick peas, chorizo, cavalo nero and sweet onion puree (£15.95) - the chickpeas and chorizo make an excellent accompaniment to well cooked lamb. However, the cabbage is a little overdone and watery.
As desserts go, you can’t beat a chocolate fondant, but sadly The East Hill’s version with vanilla ice cream (£5.95) doesn’t quite hit the mark - cooked in a shallow dish, it is slightly underdone and too gooey. That said, the vanilla ice cream is a delicious accompaniment. Likewise, the doughnut with vanilla cream and cherry jam (£5.95) is a disappointment, and although the doughnut is soft and fluffy it is missing the promised warm jam centre. However, the custard is creamy and not overly sweet.
On the comprehensive wine list whites range from £15.50 for a bottle of the house and extend up to £23.50. Reds cover a broad range, from £15.50 up to £26.70. There is a small but good selection of lager and ales on the bar too, with a pint of ale costing from £3.65 for Doombar, a pint of lager starting at £3.75 for Carlsberg and a pint of Guinness costing £4.15. A single gin and tonic is £5.25.
The Last Word
The East Hill serves up great food in a homely environment, with a friendly atmosphere and equally friendly staff.