Sunday, 18 March 2018

REVIEW: The Akeman, Tring

Review of The Akeman in Tring, part of the Oakman Inns group - where to eat in Tring, food blogger, gastropub, pizza, burger
Review of The Akeman in Tring, part of the Oakman Inns group - where to eat in Tring, food blogger, gastropub, pizza, burger

One of the things that appealed to us about Tring when we chose to move here was all the awesome independent shops and restaurants around. You can count the chain restaurants on one hand. One hand that's missing three fingers. And that's nice. I'm all for a chain every now and then, but it often means you miss out on discovering new things. And new things are good.

On one of those first visits to Tring, we walked to a few houses we'd seen for sale to see what the area was like, and finished up with a light lunch at The Akeman, which we chose because we were big fans of its sister restaurant, The Beech House, back in St Albans. And actually since we've moved, it's become one of our favourite places. It's a great combination of restaurant and bar - you can go for a great night out and drink all the gins, grab brunch or a quick pizza, or have a slap up three course meal. I was overjoyed a few months ago to be invited to their reopening night after they expanded into the building next door, and it looks great now - there's all these extra little cosy nooks that are just crying out for a date night and a couple of bottles of wine.

At the reopening night, I got the chance to chat to Eamonn Borg-Neal, the general manager of The Akeman. His family owns all the pubs in the Oakman Inns group (there are a few around, including The King's Arms in Berkhamsted which is another favourite of mine) and I discovered that it's a small, beloved family business with their HQ in Tring. And I think that's my point about chains - when I was chatting to Eamonn, it was clear how much he and his family cared about the restaurants and it comes across when you visit them. We even got talking about Eamonn's plans to run a half marathon this month, in aid of Epilepsy Action, which is close to his heart as he's lived with epilepsy for several years.

We popped back a few weeks later to have a proper meal and see how the restaurant had changed since the renovation. Grab a snack - this will make you hungry.

Review of The Akeman in Tring, part of the Oakman Inns group - where to eat in Tring, food blogger, gastropub, pizza, burger

The Akeman - and in fact, Tring - are known for gin, so we had to start with that! Matt had a Hendricks and tonic while I went for one of their gin cocktails, the Rhubarb and Custard, which contained Whitley Neil Rhubarb gin and Absolut Vanilla, and was amazing! It honestly tasted exactly like rhubarb and custard sweeties. Big fan.

Review of The Akeman in Tring, part of the Oakman Inns group - where to eat in Tring, food blogger, gastropub, pizza, burger

I chose the burrata salad for my starter, which was pretty mindblowing. I'm sure most of you have had burrata, but just in case you haven't, it's a big ball of mozzarella cheese stuffed with cream. Yeah. This came with prosciutto and tomatoes, roasted in garlic and basil and was rich and creamy and totally delicious.

Matt chose the special, which was BBQ chicken wings with chipotle mayo. These were sooo good. While the mayo was delicious, it was unnecessary - the wings were super moist and flavoursome, and stood on their own perfectly without needing any sauce.

Review of The Akeman in Tring, part of the Oakman Inns group - where to eat in Tring, food blogger, gastropub, pizza, burger

I went for the Greek salad for dinner, which sounds a bit miserable and light for a Saturday night dinner but trust me - it's kind of an insult to call this a salad. Yes, there was the expected lettuce, tomatoes and feta combo, but the feta was marinated in spices and totally delicious, and the tomatoes were incredibly fresh and juicy. Oh - and the whole thing was topped with a perfectly pink leg of lamb. Daaamn.

Also, I had chips. Obvs.

Review of The Akeman in Tring, part of the Oakman Inns group - where to eat in Tring, food blogger, gastropub, pizza, burger

I really loved the twist on a salad, because I still had a huge plate of food in front of me and didn't feel like I'd gone for the healthy option (which, to be honest, I hadn't deliberately, I just really fancied it). The lamb was beaaautifully cooked. So good.

Matt went for the lemon sole, which I think was one of the specials again - he said it was super buttery and perfectly cooked, and really enjoyed it (it's our usual issue of Matt ordering the fish option and me not eating fish, sorry).

Review of The Akeman in Tring, part of the Oakman Inns group - where to eat in Tring, food blogger, gastropub, pizza, burger

We were pretty stuffed by this point but had to have something for pudding, right? Matt went for the banoffee sundae, which he LOVED. He said it was much better than any he'd had recently - huge, but not too sickly with a good mix of fillings including caramel and brownie. It would be enough for 2 to share. And I went for the white chocolate cheesecake, which was a wee bit sickly but still really good - I loved the honeycomb ice cream.

Review of The Akeman in Tring, part of the Oakman Inns group - where to eat in Tring, food blogger, gastropub, pizza, burger

Often when I write a review, I'm experiencing a restaurant for the first time, but in this case I was already a big fan of the Akeman. I'd urge you to visit if you're in Tring, or near one of their sister restaurants (take a look here for the full list). Lovely food, great drinks, fab service and excellent ambience.

Oh, and Eamonn has raised over £1,200 for Epilepsy Action by running his half-marathon. If you'd like to contribute, his JustGiving page is here.

The Akeman is at 9 Akeman Street, Tring HP23 6AA. The restaurant kindly paid for our meal in exchange for this honest review.
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2 comments

  1. I went here after my bridal hair/makeup trial - their white pizza was absolutely delicious, and the service so friendly. We really enjoyed it!

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Foodie Blog

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  2. Hi Sarah, I've been reading your blog for a while and wonder if I could ask a favour. I'm visiting St Albans in the summer with my husband. Could you recommend a good place for an early dinner and breakfast/brunch please? I always prefer to ask a local (albeit erstwhile) rather than rely on generic websites. Thanks for your advice x

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