Greene King’s new concept, Seared, launched last month at the Castle in Droitwich with plans to roll out across the Midlands and indeed the country.
Seared’s tagline is ‘Pub with Global Grub’ which we had reservations about. Rather than a single-minded specialist food offering, Seared’s menu is globetrotting from the Caribbean to India and there’s jeopardy in that. The danger is a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ outcome, but having met the people at Greene King, we trust it’s not their first rodeo.
Interiors are fresh and zingy. There’s a cracking bar area and an upgraded drinks menu with increased new world beers, wine and cocktails and decent alcohol-free options too. The bar still has the pool table and cosy nooks that the locals enjoy just with added va va voom.
The dining area feels more modern bistro than country pub and the menu, as expected, is big and wide ranging. A section of small plates quickly became our favourite thing – specifically a punchy sticky Korean fried chicken (£4.95) and a delicious lamb kofta (£5.25).
There were a few sharing options like a plate of loaded nachos (£7.95) that would have fed four people – ideal for tucking into with a bunch of mates and a few drinks. Then there were sharing platters from around the world, including A Taste of the Middle East, India, Caribbean, South America and the Mediterranean. We didn’t sample these, but plenty of them were winging their way from the kitchen looking mighty fine. At £24.95 they looked like great value.
Slow cooked Korean beef rib coated in a BBQ glaze was falling off the bone tender served with sharp kimchi and a crunchy slaw (£15.95). It was also served with a hefty helping of fries which felt out of place. A South American rump steak skewer served with Texan BBQ sauce (£13.95) was punctuated with charred padron peppers served on grilled veg and with a side of fries. Cooked pink, the steak was succulent and tasty and the crisp skin on fries hit the spot.
We visited on a Monday a couple of weeks after opening and the place was encouragingly busy. There were still a few finishing touches happening, but other than that, it felt pretty polished. A few dishes on the menu were sold out, but I guess it takes time to get to grips with ordering patterns and volumes. Our lunch was fairly meaty, but there were plenty of plant-based dishes too and a dedicated gluten-free menu. The danger of being a Jack of all trades we initially feared doesn’t actually matter. Seared isn’t promising fine dining, it’s a lively pub serving great value, tasty food with a fab drinks offering.