Hugely popular canalside pub in Tring reopens after £1.2m renovation
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The Grand Junction Arms in Bulbourne is once again open for business serving its well-known seafood menu.
The Victorian canal-side pub was acquired by The Oakman Group and will serve as its flagship seafood joint in the south.
One year ago, the same pub group acquired Joycelyn Neve’s six North West pubs to form a Seafood PubCo division.
Peter Borg-Neal, the founder and executive chairman of The Oakman Group said he always wanted to own the popular Tring pub: : “This was bubbling away in the back of my mind for some time.
“A long time ago, my son Éamonn and I had discussed what we’d do to improve it after years of insensitive piecemeal alterations.
"We knew the building and the garden would require a great deal of work and when I showed it to Joycelyn, she could immediately see its potential as a Seafood Pub.”
This opening holds extra significance for Peter as Tring is the location where he first opened an Oakman Inn establishment in 2007 and his son Éamonn is The Grand Junction Arms' general manager.
Éamonn said: “This has been such a great journey. We saw a gap in the market in Tring for fresh seafood. Joycelyn has a wealth of specialist seafood knowledge and the team training she has initiated has been inspiring.
"We source the best of the day's catch for our seafood specials using south coast day boats, which are then prepared by our head chef James Norie and his team.
"But our menu offers so much more – we are serving British pub classics, using the best seasonal and regional ingredients, traceable and sustainable, from both land and sea.
"Whether it’s a pie and a pint on a Tuesday night or Lobster and Champagne at the weekend, we want to be the locals’ pub of choice for every occasion.”
A glance at the menu reveals devilled kidneys, oysters, goan king prawn curry (a nod to the pub’s past popularity for curries) and different cuts of grilled steak, sitting alongside homemade pies, syrup sponge pudding, and a kids’ menu.
As one might expect, the lunch menu is lighter and includes a lobster brioche roll and eggs benedict. For those wanting to treat themselves, fruits de mer and 32oz t-Bone steak to share are available to pre order with 48 hours’ notice.
Sundays will of course have a selection of roasts including a vegetarian option.
Workers have attempted to maintain a design which promotes the pub’s Victorian heritage.
With wood panelled and dark painted walls, varnished wooden flooring; traditional banquettes and carver chairs upholstered in a mix of Prussian blue and oxblood leather with herringbone backs.
The popular horseshoe-shaped bar survived the refit, a wood-burning stove remains in place for those winter months, and additional seating means there is room for 80 diners.
It boasts an all-weather heated outdoor dining terrace, which has a communal circular fire pit and dedicated bar.
The Towpath Beer Garden alongside the canal has been levelled and is overlooked by three glazed igloos known as ‘oak pods’ where groups of six can enjoy a private dining experience in their own personal bubble.