“ Heatherton Park, Bradford On Tone, Taunton, Somerset, TA4 TA4 1ET. Tel:08721 077 077 „
You can find The Worlds End in Somerset on the main road between Taunton and Wellington. I'm not talking about Armageddon here: it's actually a lovely pub.
Ever since I was a little girl travelling along this road, I can remember there being a pub/ restaurant/ hotel at these premises, and the name has changed many times over the years as different people unsuccessfully tried to make a go of it. Several years ago the family brewery Hall and Woodhouse took over the pub, and after a massive renovation and rebranding, they have turned it into a lovely, welcoming place to eat, drink and be merry.
When the Worlds End first opened, it was quite expensive for what I considered to be normal pub food, and so I stayed away for a while, but when a friend recently suggested that we go there for a birthday lunch, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have reduced their prices significantly and it has won back my custom!
There is a large car park at the back of the pub, and you can enter the pub via the back door. On entering you are met by delicious home cooked aromas, and the decor of the building immediately gives you a comfortable feeling. Originally an old Coaching Inn, it has been tastefully decorated with reclaimed materials, and even though a lot of wood beams and features are present, it still feels spacious and airy and not at all dingy and enclosed. Quotes are stencilled on the walls like "I dress how I drink....Chablis" and "Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder" giving you something to discuss if your conversation lulls! The bar area is in the centre of pub, and the tables are arranged all around it. I can imagine that there originally used to be several rooms, but it is now all open plan on different levels, and divided by decorative screening. The tables (seating for around 200 covers) are well spread out allowing you plenty of space, so there's none of that bumping into the back of someone's chair every time you want to get up! The whole area is completely spotless, and even on the bar there is not a hint of stickyness.
If you don't want to sit inside, the patio area at the rear is spacious and contains several large sturdy fixed wooden tables and benches - none of that wobbly flimsy rotted furniture that you are afraid to sit on, this furniture is comfortable, stable and is partially covered by large umbrellas. The patio area is clean and well maintained, just like the rest of the premises, and because it is at the rear of the property, it is not possible to hear the busy main road that runs along the front. The toilets are immaculate, although the ladies are in need of a lick of paint - either that or they were trying to achieve the rustic look!
Starters commence at £2.25 for cheesy chips, and go up to £3.49 for the likes of chorizo on toast, pork and herb paté, blue cheese and mushroom melt and calamari. There are ten starters to choose from, six of which are vegetarian. You get a good sized tasty portion, and for a light lunch, any of these would be sufficient for a smaller appetite.
The main meals menu is extensive, and vegetarians are also well catered for here. You can get your familiar pub classics like lasagne, fish and chips, chilli, scampi, chicken jalfrezi, vegetable jalfrezi and shepherds pie (ranging from £4.99 to £7.95). Please don't be put off by the "pub grub" sounding menu, as there is not at all that kind of atmosphere. The food is all cooked freshly and presented to the highest standards, for instance, anything greasy (scampi, fish) is served on top of brown paper and the peas are served in cute tiny chrome colanders (uncontrolable urge to take them home- but not condoned by me!). The chips are cooked to perfection, and it is apparent that the oil is changed frequently.
You can also choose burgers (beef, chicken, lamb or vegetable) either plain or with various toppings like bacon, satay or chilli for £5.95 and £6.95. I can thoroughly recommend these homemade burgers; my personal favourite is called the Deepest Blue which is topped with melted blue cheese. The burgers are succulent, meaty and taste like good quality, and they are served on the softest white baps, with chips or baked potato and a side salad.
The grill section of the main course brings us grilled salmon, chicken, vegetable skewers, gammon and sirloin and rump steaks. The prices range from £6.95 to £7.95 which I think is exceptional value as everything is served with a generous portion of chips or new potatoes and salad or peas. Again, all cooked to perfection and presented immaculately. Roast chicken Caesar salad or rocket and crayfish salad offer a lighter alternative, coming in at under £7, and roast beef or roast turkey with all of the trimmings are available all day on Sundays for £5.99.
For lighter lunches, a range of filled jacket potatoes (£3.95 for a large plateful) or baguettes are available. Although chilli is not an option as a filling on the jacket potato menu, it is served as a main meal with rice, and the chef is more than happy to accommodate you and use it as a filling if asked. The baguettes are half baguette sized and filled generously - I favour the ham, new potato and grain mustard filling which is absolutely delicious and well balanced, bursting with filling and flavour. Baguettes are priced at £3.75 and are served with a dressed side salad and a large handful of kettle chips, but you can change them to chips for an extra 99p.
If you have got any room left Proper toffee pudding, banoffee pie, hot cherry pie, chocolate fudge sundae and fruit salad are your choice of deserts for £3.45 all of which are generous servings and come with custard or vanilla bean ice cream. You can also get ice cream on its own which is the most delicious, creamy, rich ice cream that I have ever encountered; two scoops are £2.99, three are £3.45 and four scoops (heaven forgive me) are £4.25. If you are fit to burst, but need that dessert hit you can get tinsy desserts like tiramisu, trifle and crème bruleé in shot glasses for £1.50 - just enough to whet your appetite!
There is a childrens menu which consists of the usual nuggets, sausages and fish fingers, but as the prices are not that much higher, children are encouraged to try something from the adults menu. I feel more than comfortable bringing my children here as there is such a relaxed atmosphere, but this pub is also a favourite for travelling business men and business meetings, so it suits all needs.
The Worlds End serves all of the usual pub drinks, both alcoholic and non alcoholic at competitive price (under £4 for a large glass of wine) and also the award winning ales: Tanglefoot and Badger Bitter which I am assured are smooth and if nothing else make your visit well worth it! I can't tell you the individual prices of the drinks as I always pay on my card and so never notice, but I have to say that I am fairly money conscious and I never feel as though I have been ripped off!
In the winter, a fire is lit in the hearth which adds to the atmosphere and although it is so spacious, the roof is fairly low (not head bangingly low) so it just feels really cosy. The staff are all smartly dressed in black, and very attentive to your individual needs, and I have never had to queue for very long before being served. I really enjoy visiting this pub, and even though it is part of a large chain, it feels unique and warming and my visits here are definitely increasing, which is encouraged by the reasonable prices and the excellent quality of the food and the service. Five delicious stars for this establishment even though I'm putting on weight at a rate of knots!
Open 11am - 11pm seven days a week
Bradford-on-Tone, Taunton, Somerset TA4 1ET