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Several years ago the Nascot Arms pub used to be a quiet local with a good selection of draft beers. There was a Thai kitchen at a nearby pub and they moved to the Nascot. There weren’t that many tables, the staff were friendly, the main courses were good, plentiful and at a good price. We started visiting on a regular basis during mid week after work. This became a regular thing and we’d often be a table for ten.

They have Thai dim sum on the starters list and that’s normally one of my favourite dishes. Sadly, every time I’ve tried their version – it has a bleachy taste and was a big disappointment.

The kitchen and pub are separately run – you can’t order food from the bar staff, nor can you order drinks from the restaurant staff. But the bar staff do visit the restaurant tables and you can order drinks from them. That may not suit everyone, but works well with a group from the office as it’s easy to split the food bill without recriminations over who drank what.

News soon got around and the place was busy every night. Some two years ago, they extended the rear of the pub to accommodate more tables for the restaurant. The place has remained busy ever since.

It’s noisy, busy, slightly frantic now – still a good place for a group but not for a dinner for two.

The main courses are still good, plentiful and a good price – dim sum still bleachy. Unfortunately, the success of the place has resulted in a decline in customer service and lack of recognition of those who were there at the beginning.

Now, when I call to book for eight people I have to recite my credit card details and leave a deposit of £5 per person – more than half the cost of a main course. I always explain that I book a large table every month and have always arrived, but they ignore that. When we arrive around 6pm for pre-dinner drinks in the bar, I pop round to the restaurant and let them know we’re still good for the 7.45pm booking and sometimes ask to add extra seats. This year there’s been no recognition of a regular customer, just a brusque acknowledgement. We always feel like first-time visitors rather than valued returning guests.

We used to receive a basket of prawn crackers when we were seated. Now these are only provided after we order food. The food arrives amazingly quickly as does the bill as soon as the last plate is cleared. It’s a pity, as they must be making a good income, but have decided to try and serve as many people as quickly as possible and re-use the table several times throughout the evening. It’s a bit like having dinner in the Pound Shop.

On our last visit, a couple of people couldn’t make it for various last minute reasons. I had a table for eight booked for 8pm. At 7.30pm I advised that we would only be six but could be seated straight away if that helped – there were several empty tables. I was shocked when they advised that I would lose £10 of my deposit as we weren’t eight. After some long discussions, where various members of the group explained that we were long-time regulars and have never missed a booking, it was agreed that the deposit would be refunded in full. But that really highlighted the difference between how things were and how things are now.

I’m sure we’ll still visit as a group. I’ll still need to leave a deposit and now advise those who say they will attend, that they may need to pay £5 if they don’t. The goodwill from our side has gone.

http://www.nascotarms.co.uk/

http://www.mrtingthaicuisine.co.uk/

Nascot Arms
11 Stamford Rd
Watford
Hertfordshire WD17 4QS
Tel: 01923 215 442

Pub Opening times
Friday – Saturday
12:00 – 00:00

Sunday
12:00 – 22:30

Monday – Thursday
12:00 – 23:30

Thai Food served
Monday – Saturday
12:00 – 15:00 / 17:00 – 22:00

Takeaway until 9:30pm

Sunday
13:00 – 21:00

Closed
Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year Day