On a dismal Saturday evening, instead of going to Pizza Express on Hadley Green we decided to try out The Old Guinea in Ridge.
This old pub was taken over and refurbished in 2011 and rather than morphing into a predictable gastropub, the food here has a clear focus as the pub now features a pizzeria. Driving from Barnet, after turning off the A1 near Borehamwood we had to pass along some dark sodden country lanes and dodging some enormous puddles. However, once in Ridge, the pub is easy to find and the only problem was finding space in the car park – much better than being the only people there.
To reach the restaurant we walked through the busy bar which still felt like a proper local, but decorated in tasteful muted tones. We were seated in the dining room overlooking countryside – there are also tables outside which would be a great option on a bright day. There are a number of paths and cycle routes nearby so it would ideal for breaking this kind of journey.
The menu features a large selection of pizzas (23 in two sizes), with starters of bread and olives, home made soup, pasta, salads and sandwiches. We had the set menu (£16 for three courses) and a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (£16) from the mainly Italian list and a child’s menu (£6.35). We shared our starters – Caesar salad and the particularly tasty ‘Fontina’ garlic bread with Fontal (Fontina style) cheese and caramelised onions. Our daughter loved her dough balls with whipped garlic cream. For main course we had pizzas from a smaller selection of seven – the highly flavoured Temporum (mozzarella, pepperoni, mushroom, anchovies, capers and olives) and spicy Diabola (mozzarella, pepperoni, hot green peppers and jalapeño) and both were generously topped and reassuringly rustic looking. The child’s pasta with meaty bolognaise sauce also went down very well.
We finished with tiramisu, apple and berry crumble with ice cream and one of the coffee and small desert options: ‘Luxuria’ home made biscuit/tart filled with a rum, walnut and cream filling (figs in syrup with mascarpone and torta were other tempting options). All good.
The service was friendly and helpful, however the room was a bit noisy (an issue I have with our local Pizza Express) and could do with some soft furnishings to improve the acoustics which also made the music sound a bit tinny. That said, it was great value for money for tasty, freshly prepared food and we’ll certainly return – but probably during daylight to make the most of those views and on bikes on the more direct cross country route from Trotters Bottom.
Crossoaks Lane, Ridge, Potters Bar, Herts EN6 3LH