The Toll Bar – A Friendly Welcome, Real Ale and Pieminister Pies

 

The Toll Bar is the latest resident of the pub space at Tollhouse Hill  by the big roundabout that joins up Maid Marian Way, Derby road and Lower Parliament Street. It has been back open about a couple of weeks now and it is offering up Real Ales, Pieminister Pies,  and 200 degrees coffee as its main selling points. It also does all the other stuff that pubs and bars do and I suppose beyond that it will be as good as the people that drink and eat there 🙂

We popped into the Toll Bar to see what was going on and basically to get a Pint and a Pie. We got a great welcome, all the people behind the bar were really bubbly and friendly and seemed genuinely excited with the new place. Inside it was a lot cleaner and well more welcoming that the Gatehouse had been. It was a good start and I had fairly high hopes as I ordered a couple of pints of Harvest Pale from the ‘Real Ale Bar’ at one end of the countertop . I think you could order it anywhere (within sight of the pumps) 🙂

Pieminister Pie menu

There was a big ‘chalkboard’ with all the Pieminister Pie options on it up against the far wall, but there were also menus for those of us with short sight who forgot their glasses. Now I am a big fan of the Pieminister concept and pies, I have the cookbook and I have eaten some lovely pies from their stall in London’s Borough market and at the Covered Market in Oxford.

I have also dined on occasion at the restaurant in Nottingham on Long Row with mixed success. Check out one of the more favourable reviews here

So I was quite optimistic of the whole pie situation as I pondered my options. Moo and Blue is always a great shout if you like a bit of stilton in your steak pie. I am more a fan of the MooDog which is your classic Steak and Ale effort. The Free Ranger with its fillings of Chicken, Ham and Leek in a creamy sauce is always a winning combination as well.

MooDog with Peas, Mash and Gravy

I had the Moodog Pie with peas, mash and gravy for £8.95 and I was pretty satisfied with my plateful. The Pie itself was really well cooked ( I know they just put them in the oven) I think it was better prepared than the ones from the restaurant which I find sometimes to have soggy pastry. This one was heated up well, the pastry was crisp and flakey and it just seemed to have enjoyed its time in the oven.

I like the beef stew filling of the MooDog, it has a very rich and thick gravy, flavour wise it is a bit malty from the Brew Dog beer that they use. You also get the beef taste and there is plenty of meat inside the pastry crust as well. The pot of gravy that came with my pie was good too, it was almost as if they had matched it up with the gravy of the stew (they probably have in Pieminister land)

You get a decent amount of mash potato, perhaps a little too much if you are planning to drink more than a few pints, but plenty to fill you up on a cold night. I also had a pot of their slightly minted mushy peas that I had scooped out onto my plate. I kind of like them just because I love a bit of mint sauce, but I know that not everyone is a fan of the minty tang.

All in all I enjoyed my meal and I actually preferred having my Pieminister moment up here at the Toll bar. The surroundings were more convivial, I got a decent pint of Castle Rock ale, and the staff were so welcoming, it would perhaps be a little much to say that they lit up the place with a smile, but that was kind of how it went down 🙂

The Toll Bar is in the space formerly occupied by the Gatehouse Pub that was open and closed more often than my fridge door when I get back from the pub at closing time looking for a snack. We kind of liked the Gatehouse, mainly because you just didn’t know what or whom you were going to encounter when you popped up there 🙂 We only came in every couple of months and well Lets just say it was a lottery.

I think that it seems to be a much more focused and welcoming spot now. I hope that they are able to make a success of the place, just so that I know I have another spot in the city to get a decent pint and a bit of pub grub in a relaxed atmosphere.

The Toll Bar is located at Tollhouse Hill in Nottingham at NG1 5FS.

As I said up top it is pretty much by the big roundabout that joins up Maid Marian Way, Derby road and Lower Parliament Street.

Check them out on their Facebook Page or by walking in through the door between 10am and 11pm each day 🙂

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