It could be possible that this venue is having a little bit of an identity crisis as it is not quite clear whether this is a restaurant with a pub attached or vice versa. It certainly does vigorously promote its food, but the bar is of generous proportions, and sweeps around into a smaller room to the side.
At the weekend it is a popular family destination. During the week, customers seem to get rather lost in the vast space.
Having said that, their beers are well-kept (Pedigree is a popular choice) and there is a decent selection of lagers and spirits, even if the wine list has got quite a hefty mark-up on one or two of its staples. Plates returning to the kitchen were all cleaned of food, so customers were clearly satisfied. It is part of the Marston’s chain.
It seems that Hatfields was once a large town house, standing on a cross-roads on the outskirts of the (then) small community. It definitely belonged to someone with a bit of cash, as the proportions are bold.
The loos are spotless, and someone takes a lot of trouble in keeping it all ship-shape. But, as they say, the devil is in the detail, and a few basic misspellings on a theme-night menu do make you lift an eyebrow. Which chef was it who once said “If you can’t spell it, don’t cook it”? If some of this sounds negative, then that is a pity, for the bar staff are attentive, and the service is efficient, and Hatfields is certainly better than many. But with a tweak here and there it could be even more engaging and a bit of a beacon.
• Hatfields, Ash Hill Road, Hatfield, DN7 6JH. 01302 842255.
DRINKS SELECTION 4/5