The Test Match Pub on Gordon Square at the end of the High Street, run by the Greene King Pub Company, is a true classic in West Bridgford. They describe themselves as ‘a beautiful Art Deco building situated at the end of the High Street in West Brigford. Great food, a large range of local ales and a relaxed courtyard area make this a place to visit for brunch, lunch or anytime of the day whatever the weather’
It doesn’t really matter who runs this pub, once you step in through the revolving doors at the front of the pub (not always in place) you are struck by the Art Deco interior. It used to be a hotel and it still has that feeling and vibe as you enter. The front room is like the area that you might expect to be served a cup of tea and a sandwich on a fine china set (you still can have a small bite and a pot of tea with a cake), to the left a grand staircase sweeps up in a curve to the upper function room. To the right is a dining area set aside like a fine hotel restaurant from times gone by, white tablecloths adorn the tables and I imagine the west bridgford set dining in style through the years.
I love this place, it seems to be just the same as the first time I came here 30 years ago for a slightly underage drink. I think I was about 16 and it was just a half a pint of beer in those days, or maybe a shandy, basically whatever we could get away with.
Further inside it is more of your traditional hotel bar, it is very Art Deco, and perhaps what would be described as the Saloon Bar some years back. There are a number of raised areas upon which I have seen bands and singers set up in front of a lovely wooden floor which I understand is the original wooden sprung dance floor from 1938. On the wall behind is a big angular / rectangular art Deco clock which set the scene and vibe of the pub.
Out the back is one of the best and well hidden beer gardens in West Bridgford, I am not sure that I really meant to tell you about that! Lovely tables surrounded by gravelled paths, hanging baskets and flower beds adorn the nooks and crannies, basically a quiet spot to sup your pint. At the front of the pub is another more seasonal beer garden and it was there that we set up camp to drink and consider our food options.
The Main Event Menu
It was a Friday so we took advantage of the daily deal which was Two Fish dishes for £11.99. This was a choice of the “Whitby Scampi & Seasoned Chips” usually £7.49, the “Signature Fish and Seasoned Chips” normally £8.99 or / and the “Salmon Fishcake” which would be £7.99. We went for the Classic Fish and Chips option getting two plates full for just under £12, a saving of about £6. Not bad at all, as that bought us a couple of pints to go with our meal (for the record that was Screech Owl by Castle Rock Brewery)
Fish and Chips
The menu at The Test Match described our choice as “Hand-battered Fish & Seasoned Chips – Cod fillet, freshly hand-battered. Served with seasoned chips, mushy peas or peas and tartare sauce. A traditional favourite!” The Fish and Chips are pretty average, nothing amazing but there is nothing wrong either. You will have no complaints if you have these as part of the two for £11.99 deal as £6 is a great price. I wouldn’t pay the everyday price of £8.99 though.
The Fish itself was moist and the batter was crispy, excellent job of taking it out of the freezer with the chips into some sort of fryer situation and then moving them both a short time later onto the plate. My mushy peas were green and mushy, my tartar sauce was in a pot, and my lemon slice was hoping to be a garnish in someone cocktail.
It was good, tasty, and fair enough for the price and a decent honest meal. I had no complaints!
Should we have had the “Dirty burger”?
To be honest if it had not been a Friday with the whole “lets have Fish and Chips deal” I probably would have counted out the coins to just under a tenner for the ‘Dirty Burger’. now they describe it as “Our new signature burger. Succulent beef burger, gherkin and salad, covered with a mound of chilli con carne, topped with sauteéd red onions, jalapeños and French’s American mustard in a seeded brioche bun. Served with seasoned fries.” I describe that, or rather, I imagine that as a down and dirty mess of a burger that is going to end up burning my lips, my chops, my tongue, and possibly my senses, while also being a total mess that is going to end up everywhere from my cheeks, to my fingers, and probably all down my shirt and my tie.
Having said that lets be honest, you and I both know that I will be coming back at some point to order this burger, but when I do, I will not be wearing a white shirt!
Ok so I know that officially the Test Match Pub here at Gordon Square in West Bridgford is owned and managed by a chain, but you know what it is such a lovely building and design that you can just forget all of that and feel as though you are just in a local hotel bar. It is also great to see the mix of people of all ages and circles. It is not just an old mans drinking pub, or a young student crowd, there are both of those sets of people enjoying the place, alongside families and groups made up of several generations. Just what you want in a pub, everyone is welcome and everyone feels welcome.