Review: The Travellers Rest in Edlesborough is “a special treat at a well-located pub”
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Walking into the recently renovated Travellers Rest pub in Edlesborough, I was welcomed by warm air, smiles and the smell of delicious food.
The restaurant on Tring Road closed for five weeks at the end of 2022 and had nearly £500,000 spent on giving the interior and garden a complete facelift. General manager, Krystina Franks was happy with the end result, taking the “tatty and dated” to something breathable and modern.
There are still features of the building’s history, having been used as a place for weary travellers to stop since 1851, with exposed brickwork and beams throughout the bar and dining areas. The three fireplaces dotted around the restaurant helped me get warmed up, feeling like a weary traveller myself.
When I arrived, there were families, couples and friends sitting at tables. It was quite busy for a Thursday evening so juggling tables is an art form for the friendly front-of-house team.
I was seated at a bright yet secluded table in the new dining area. The smiling staff took my cocktail order: a passion fruit martini. As I waited for my drink, I took in my surroundings. A mix of the old and the new, and low ceilings but still spacious. The renovation has kept a rural, country home feel to the pub.
The location of this pub (right on the cusp of two counties) seems to make it an ideal place to meet friends from across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. From Tring, it was less than 20 minutes in the car. Through the window, I could see a steady stream of cars from the main road but there was no noise from it to disturb me.
The cocktail, which the bar staff checked was vegan-friendly, was very sweet and not too strong - just how I like it. The zing from the passionfruit cut through the sweetness and balanced the shot of Prosecco well. It was a very good cocktail for £9.25.
Despite it being my first time there, the pub had a sense of community, with guests bumping into friends while walking to their tables. I was upset as I saw lovely dishes of meat and fish glide past me, all of which I could not eat while I stick to my vegan diet for the month.
My soup (potato and broccoli) arrived with a wedge of white bread and a watercress garnish. It needed a pinch or two of salt to satisfy my tastebuds and was not anything especially impressive. Nevertheless, it was filling.
I wanted to try the other plant-based starter on offer - a tomato and herb arancini. The rice balls were served with beetroot puree, pesto and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds. While the soup was as I had expected, this dish exceeded my exceptions and was my favourite of the two. The earthiness of the puree paired with the sweetness of the pomegranate added a new element to the arancini. It was presented nicely and I didn’t feel like I was missing out too much by not eating meat.
A rapid turnaround for my main, I had a tasty Malaysian curry with jasmine rice. There were red chillies sliced on top, which I did my best to avoid. While £15.95 for a curry is expensive in my opinion, the balanced spices, edamame and sticky rice left me with a fresh taste in my mouth. If I were to order this again, I would ask to have this without the chillies as I cannot handle too much heat.
On the side, I ordered some sweet potato fries. These were not as hot as I would have hoped so they didn’t have that all-important crunch. The vegan mayo was the saving grace and I washed it down with an ice-cold Diet Coke.
While I finished off my main, I heard customers picking up their takeaway orders, something I was surprised by. The staff know the regulars, taking time to chat through the new menu with them. As I continued to scan the bar, I saw a French Bulldog enjoying a complimentary treat and a much-needed bowl of water.
As soon as a table left, there was no time spared in cleaning and setting it up for the next hungry customers to sit down. Booking in advance would be a good idea as there was a real rush around 6.30 pm.
I couldn’t resist trying the only dessert I could have: vanilla and coconut panna cotta. It was almost too beautiful to eat but I tucked in and was not disappointed. The vanilla was complimented perfectly by the sweet and sharp fresh fruit and coulis. It was refreshing and the best way to finish my meal.
The best part of the trip for me was the cocktail and pudding because of my sweet tooth, while the only downside was the annoyingly squeaky stairs to the toilets! Krystina and her team were on hand to help answer all my burning questions.
For a special treat out at a well-located pub, the Travellers Rest is a great option. The prices are more than I would usually expect to pay at a county pub but the staff’s happy attitude and the ambience made my experience great.