Thursday, 23 August 2012

Review: The Waggoners (Ayot Green, Welwyn)

Date of visit: 22nd August 2012

WOW, WOW and WOW again.  My first perfect score has finally arrived, for both service and food.  We had the pleasure of going to The Waggoners set in Ayot Green near Welwyn last night to celebrate David’s Birthday.   Once again we had taken advantage of the vouchers from 106 Jack FM, which allows you to pay £25 and you get £50 off your bill.  The Waggoners is a refurbished 17th century coaching Inn and is set between pretty houses and cottages around a beautiful English green.  Even though it is an English pub the cuisine is French.

On arrival we were greated by a lovely lady, wish I had got her name.  Our table was in the second room in the restaurant, the décor is lovely and really pub like.  Make sure you duck as you go through doorways as the English must have been very short in the good old days.  The service from the time of our arrival was very professional and yet not stuck up at all.  The staff was there when you needed them, but never in your face.  We started off with a lovely little canapé of battered prawns.  I unfortunately had to stick to soft drinks as it was David’s Birthday and it was only fair to let him have a couple of beers.  He had one of his favourites London Pride from Fullers

Danielle attempted for the first time, to eat frog’s legs.  She has a lot more guts than me, there is no way I would ever eat them.  It was a treat; it took a couple of minutes for her to pluck up the courage to take the first bite.  She managed to eat two of the four, but eventually put them on David’s plate.  She said all that was going through her mind was little green frogs jumping around.  Although she said it did taste very nice. Cuissesde grenouilles panes:  Breaded frog legs with a shitake and mouli cake served with a garlic and parsley mayonnaise, cost £8.20.  I had had and lovely cheese tart for my started, I don’t see it on their website menu.  It was absolutely divine.  David also had frogs legs as well as Danielle’s left overs.

My starter
For mains Danielle had Aile de canard sure pain d’epice a l’orange et porto:  Duck breast with ginger bread red onion and plum chutney, sautéed potato, orange and port sauce, cost £17.00.  She said it was mouth-watering, the best she had ever eaten. 

David had, Coeur de boeuf au vin rouge:  Rump of beef with croquette campagnard potato, melted leeks and red wine sauce Joue de boeuf a la Guardian, cost £18.50.  It was David who decided that the food at The Waggoners was going to be my first five stars.  Having lived in South Africa for most of his life, he knows his meat and until now he had not found a steak in the UK that could match South African meat.  He gave me a taste and it was out of this world.  Even though it had a red wine sauce that he normally hates, if he could lick his plate I am sure he would have.

I had Ballotine de poulet:   Chicken ballotine with cumin Savoy cabbage and butternut squash mash, light curry sauce, cost £15.00.  This requires another Wow, gorgeous are just a few of the words I can use. 

 I did surcome to the dessert menu and had Pithivier glace a la pistache:  Almond and cream pastry served with a pistachio ice cream, cost £6.50.

Overall Experience

A truly wonderful experience, but I think it will be a place for special occasions only as it is a bit on the pricey side, our total bill was £105 for the three of us, and that did not include my usual bottle of wine. If you are looking for perfection in a perfect setting The Waggoners is the place for you.

History of The Waggoners

The Waggoners has not changed its use for over 400 years, although when first built it is believed to have been housing for workers at Brocket Hall. It has always served drink and food but the custom that visits the area has changed as it was primarily used as a coaching inn, hence the name.
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The Waggoners, along with The Shoulder of Mutton (The Red Lion) was the last pub at the top of the Mountain Slow. During its oldest period The Waggoners would have been the more dominant of pubs catering for commercial transport of the times. The Waggoners was built on level ground enabling waggon drivers not to labour their horses immediately after their rest by pulling loads up-hill from a standing start especially after still being worn out from the long drag up Mountain Slow.
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Infamous brothers, the Fox twins would drink in The Waggoners, well remembered as poachers; they looked so alike their best friends could not tell them apart. The story told about the two characters is whenever one was summoned to appear at the police court the other would present himself to answer the charge. Needless to say they were invariably able to prove ones innocence every time and consistently made the prosecution look foolish.

Brickwall Close, Ayot Green, Welwyn, AL6 9AA

Tel: 01707 324241
The Waggoners on Urbanspoon

Rating Guide

5 Stars - Perfect
4.5 Stars - Exceptional
4 Stars - Excellent
3.5 Stars - Very good
3 Stars - Good
2.5 Stars - Average
2 Stars - Bad
1.5 Stars - Very bad
1 Star - Dire


  1. That sounds delicious, hubby liked the sound of Danielles dish, and when I read Davids he was even more interested. It must have been tip top to get top marks. The beer is good too, we often stop there for a shandy whilst walking the dogs. might have to persuade hubby to take me there for lunch. Nx

  2. A friend was chef there a few years ago and it was great then; good to know it is still. Last night, we ate in The Red Lion, just a couple of minutes away, which has also raised its game and is definitely worth a visit.

    1. Thanks, I will have to give them a try

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