Located on busy Canal Street with its lit-up red-brick exterior, Fellows, Morton & Clayton has reopened after its refurbishment and stands as a welcoming retreat from the constant flow of traffic. The seemingly traditional pub now offers a new modern menu and a wide range of craft ales and draft beer, maintaining its localised outlook.
At first impression with its wood-panelled bar, gambling machines and dark interior, Fellows, Morton & Clayton appeared to be a typical pub which, on days other than a Tuesday evening, would have been filled with locals. However, the closer I looked, the more I began to realise the direction of the pub following its revamp.
“I loved the menu design and it certainly suits the fashionable new menu but, for me, it didn’t really fit with the overall decor of the pub”
In-keeping with its location, canal memorabilia has been placed around the rooms along with dark leather benches and white printed lettering on the walls, giving it a retro yet still pub-like feel. But this is thrown off by the club-style music that was being played and the menus which would be every Instagrammer’s dream: pastel-coloured and littered with simplistic yet bold food and drink cartoons. I loved the menu design and it certainly suits the fashionable new menu but, for me, it didn’t really fit with the overall decor of the pub, looking rather out of place on the dark wooden tables with no chance of good lighting for an Insta-worthy photo.
After a bit of awkward confusion about the arrangement of the meal review, we eventually sat down in the lower section of the pub opposite the flat screen TV where they show live matches, and ordered a bottle of rosé to share. The staff served us promptly and I immediately appreciated the drink choice as it was one of the best rosés I’ve ever had (and I’m a proper wine mum), being both fruity but not too sweet and extremely refreshing. The bottle of Jack & Gina Zinfandel would have cost £15.50, which is probably not what students would be willing to pay but is a reasonable price for such a good wine.
With a wide selection of local craft ales and draft beer as well as a decent wine list and summer drinks menu, there was lots of choice. The summer drinks menu looked particularly appealing, with one attractive offer consisting of two summer long drinks for £8 available Monday to Friday between 4pm and 7pm, but I’m sure this menu won’t be around for long as we enter into the cold nights of winter.
Following a much-appreciated apology from the staff once they’d got through to their manager and realised we were actually from a magazine, the service was great. Like most traditional pubs it was order at the bar but I think we got special table service… They were smiley and gave good recommendations for food orders, checking up on us regularly.
“The pub appears to be getting down with kids whilst also trying to maintain its traditional atmosphere which, for me, didn’t really work.”
The menu covers a range of options including pub classics, Sunday roasts, pizzas, burgers, salads, small plates and sharers, and the prices match expected pub pricing – most mains being around £10. Fellows, Morton & Clayton also certainly seem to be keeping up with food fads following the refurbishment, serving grilled halloumi, sweet potato fries, sourdough garlic breads and lots of avocado, including the introduction of smashed avocado as part of their brunch menu served Monday to Saturday 10am to noon. The pub appears to be getting down with kids whilst also trying to maintain its traditional atmosphere which, for me, didn’t really work.
“It came served in a tin bowl with brown paper, giving it an authentic shack-style look and its appearance alone made me eager to tuck in.”
Having perused the mouth-watering menu for way too long, I eventually settled on the loaded burger with sweet potato fries. You can tell whether a pub is good from the quality of their burgers (as well as their fish and chips) and based on the burger alone I was impressed. It came served in a tin bowl with brown paper, giving it an authentic shack-style look and its appearance alone made me eager to tuck in.
The beef itself was delicious and the brioche bun, smoked cheddar, rarebit cheese sauce, sweet cured bacon and beer glaze all worked so well together meaning every bite was heavenly. The lightly salted sweet potato fries were cooked to perfection being crunchy on the outside but soft in the middle and the smoked chilli ketchup added another welcomed twist to a classic pub meal. This was served with pickled slaw which gave some relief from the heavy components of the course. Truly beautiful for £12.50.
Although we were very full after our main, we couldn’t resist getting dessert, so I ordered a sticky toffee pudding hard sundae. This consisted of rumbullion ice cream, whipped cream, warm sticky toffee pudding and butterscotch sauce and was served in a tall sundae glass looking extremely appetizing. It was difficult to eat and rather messy, but definitely worth the struggle. For the size of the pudding and the fact it contained alcoholic ice cream I would say that £5 is a reasonable price to pay, ending the meal on a maintained high note.
Fellows, Morton & Clayton seem to be targeting younger customers with their new menu and aesthetics, but I don’t think it would be a suitable place for students to eat regularly as it isn’t cheap, there aren’t student offers and we seemed to be the youngest people there. There are deals running such as ‘Happy Mondays’ where selected beers are £3, you can grab soup, half a sandwich and a soft drink for £6.50 Monday to Friday 12-4pm and cake and a coffee for £4, but these are probably still too expensive for the average broke student. However, the food is incredible so it would be a great place to ‘treat yourself’ and I’d love to go back to try more of their new menu.
Images courtesy of Katie Moncur.