Hull – Minerva

And carrying on my tour of Hull pubs which are listed in the Good Beer Guide, the Minerva is located by the old docks area of the city. There was quite a vibrant feel (I sometime use that word to subtly suggest that there was a riot taking place, but in this instance, it was relaxed and lively) in that area of the city, somewhere that I haven’t been before.

My first impressions were very positive, as I had hoped to get food and beer, but they looked full so I was planning to move on. However, a staff member was more than keen to assist and she found me a table that I could have for 90 minutes to myself. Although this transpired to be a table for 14 people, it more than met my needs. I sat towards one end, but on reflection I should have perhaps sat in the middle and tried to look important. The reason for seating me here was that they had the 14 people arriving around 90 minutes later, so I had a marginally limited window of time, although I was nowhere near to needing that long.

Anyway, that welcome is also wonderful, as a pub doesn’t know why someone might be visiting on their own. They might just be on a seemingly endless tour of British pubs (oops….) or they might have made a real effort to go out so they weren’t on their own. Some pubs deal with this really badly, their set-up isn’t designed for single visitors and they don’t make it particularly easy. This pub managed to offer the perfect welcome and this sort of effort makes it much easier to encourage single diners and drinkers out, with Wetherspoons and Greene King now having apps to order at the table also making the process a little less stressful.

I nearly added this pub to my list of the best of the year, but this beer selection just isn’t really relevant to me. They’ve got six ales on, which are all light and some of them are quite generic. They’ve lined up six sample jars in front of the pumps and I was struggling to see much difference in the colour of any of them. They did have Tetley’s best bitter on, which I’m quite partial to, and it’s the only permanent fixture here, but I was hoping for something a little different.

There’s the only real option open to me, Marston’s Oyster Stout, and I do like the taste of this, smooth but with a taste of molasses or something similar. But, the temperature of the beer was a little cold for my liking, that was served at a chiller temperature rather than cellar temperature, and I prefer the latter. That reminds me of when a rep came to a pub I had many years ago and told me how excited they were about the new trend of extra cold beers. He then admitted that the extra cold version of his beer was proving very popular, but they themselves thought it tasted of nearly nothing as the taste had been knocked out by the extra chilled temperature. That wasn’t a problem here, but it’s why I was a little disappointed there wasn’t something more interesting in the real ale section.

The fish and chips, which was well presented and the portion size was more than adequate. The tartare sauce was homemade and is one of the best I’ve had, it had what I think were large pieces of gherkin in and it was creamy and very moreish. The fish batter could have perhaps been drained just a little more, but it was flavoursome and the fish flaked away nicely. The chips were again home-made and the mushy peas actually tasted of peas, which is something I’ve yet to have in a Greene King pub, where I’ve wondered what they make their peas from. I think it’s flour mixed with green paint and water. Anyway, I shouldn’t be mentioning Greene King, that’s twice in one blog post.

CAMRA mention that this pub is owned by the city council and it was built on reclaimed land in 1829. I saw the smallest pub room in the country, which is really just a small snug which can only hold a couple of people. I couldn’t really take a photo as there were two people in there eating, although I suppose I could have done a a walk-by photo and hoped they didn’t notice. Not really good to invade privacy that much, but it was a fun little part of the pub. And apparently, although I didn’t see it, they’ve got a theatre and brewery area to the side of the pub.

Anyway, I thought that this pub was excellent, and the staff were all customer service orientated, including the serving staff and those behind the bar. Customers were served in turn, the staff were friendly and the serving staff made a big effort to find me a table. I could have done with a better selection of real ale, which seems a bizarre comment for somewhere that serves six different ones, as then I could have elevated the pub into exceptional status. As it was, it was just excellent, so all very lovely.