Home Pub bar Secret Drinker reviews the Flying Horse pub in Boughton Lees, Ashford

Secret Drinker reviews the Flying Horse pub in Boughton Lees, Ashford

0

“This table is so sticky it’s peeling off my skin” – now I’m not saying Mrs. SD is exaggerating, but it seemed unlikely.

It wasn’t until I appreciated my own forearms from the same table and saw the outer layer of epidermis left imprinted into the surface that I realized it was spot on.

At this point the waitress was not serving anyone and had her face glued to her phone screen, there was no risk of dirty dishes or glasses being picked up and definitely no sign of her picking up a damp cloth .

The Flying Horse is a vacant house opposite the cricket ground in the village green at Boughton Aluph or Boughton Lees – I would be grateful if anyone could confirm which address is correct?

However, despite this unwanted grip, you might be surprised to learn that I was quite stuck on the Flying Horse at Boughton Aluph, near Ashford.

It’s a real village pub, which doesn’t take itself too seriously and doesn’t care too much about the smallest details.

An impressive 15th-century coaching inn, with dramatic arched windows, it faces the Cricket Square in the village square and is full of impressive beams and cantous.

Most people were taking advantage of the nice weather and enjoying the garden, but there were plenty of tables available for anyone who chose to sit inside.
Most people were taking advantage of the nice weather and enjoying the garden, but there were plenty of tables available for anyone who chose to sit inside.
The back garden is huge so there is plenty of room between the picnic tables
The back garden is huge so there is plenty of room between the picnic tables

Our bartender greeted us politely, without being overly cheerful, and we were served right after a guy who came up to the bar just a moment after us.

Whether that was because he was a local or because he was wearing work boots and what appeared to be boxer shorts, I’m not sure. Since it was Thursday, her Fosters for Friday t-shirt peaked a little early.

I selected an IPA from Butcombe Brewery in Somerset, a 3.8% Rare Breed by Adam Henson. It’s reasonably well balanced, quite light and a touch fruity, but ultimately a fairly bland beer. Mrs. SD opted for her usual Sauvignon Blanc (she only knows one size).

Nod to the nearby cricket ground, there's a bat in the chimney
Nod to the nearby cricket ground, there’s a bat in the chimney

We returned to the garden, which is absolutely huge, with a decent sized outdoor bar and 18 large picnic tables laid out on the grass with plenty of space between each.

There’s a dog bar and next to it a special box for dogs – including a sign inviting you to ‘feel free to help yourself’.

And, the humor doesn’t end there, on the menu, the Steak and Beer Pie describes itself as a “real pie, not the fashionable puff pastry lid on the stew business.”

I've had a few pints of Ghost Ship from Adnam before, so decided to try Adam Henson's Rare Breed from Butcombe Brewery.  Unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing.
I’ve had a few pints of Ghost Ship from Adnam before, so decided to try Adam Henson’s Rare Breed from Butcombe Brewery. Unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing.

If you choose ham and eggs you are told “the chickens are raised with love and pampered nearby” and regarding the peas “they are potentially raised with love nearby but it’s a pea so who knows “.

I particularly liked the sign on the toilet cubicle ‘No handle on the door, very stiff to open!!!!!! We’re trying to fix this as soon as possible – maybe the crossed out graffiti was also funny, but I couldn’t read it.

Ok a faucet had a mind of its own and wasn’t connected and even a world record attempt for the number of blue toilet blocks in a urinal wasn’t going to mask all the smell but it’s a real one pub with a real gentlemen. The ladies, if you check the pictures, were much more lavish, but even here the toilet flush was broken.

The gentlemen have been decorated fairly recently but the traditional porcelain urinal has been retained.  The faucet on the left looks fine in this photo, but believe me, it has a mind of its own.
The gentlemen have been decorated fairly recently but the traditional porcelain urinal has been retained. The faucet on the left looks fine in this photo, but believe me, it has a mind of its own.
You definitely can't accuse the Flying Horse of holding back on the blue blocks in the gentlemen
You definitely can’t accuse the Flying Horse of holding back on the blue blocks in the gentlemen
There has clearly been a lot more work undertaken in the ladies' room than the gentlemen's and Ms SD said they looked very smart
There has clearly been a lot more work undertaken in the ladies’ room than the gentlemen’s and Ms SD said they looked very smart
A great idea - there was a basket at the ladies with a number of free products made available
A great idea – there was a basket at the ladies with a number of free products made available

Gardening was going on and there was even a trendy wilderness area, or did they just cut back on the weeding?

After exploring the exterior, we headed inside for a closer look at this down-to-earth village boozer.

There are a few box games on the piano but no darts, pool table or jukebox although there is a mix of 70s and 80s tunes played at a decent level in the background.

The bartender was no longer on the phone while she prepared meals, but each time she came inside, her fellow bartender entertained her with her impressions of a variety of regional accents.

Other entertainment is available and the pub regularly hosts live music.

Beyond the road to the front of the pub is a cricket ground in the center of the village green
Beyond the road to the front of the pub is a cricket ground in the center of the village green

Also, like many other pubs, the Flying Horse is planning an Oktoberfest for the next Bank Holiday, starting at noon on Saturday 27th August. As this is also a hotel with four en-suite bedrooms, you can even choose to book a B&B for £95.

We had sat down and experienced the unfortunate sticky table when we saw the bowl of conkers in the window, probably to discourage spiders, but it certainly doesn’t work for dead flies.

As the bartender left with more meals, I noticed that a generously filled bowl of chips for £3 looked particularly appetizing.

The arched windows to the front of this 15th century coaching inn are also a feature to the rear of the pub
The arched windows to the front of this 15th century coaching inn are also a feature to the rear of the pub

I accept that it could be seen that there are some minor imperfections here, but I think they make this pub what it is and it would be a shame to have it any other way. Sure, it’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s better and I’m sure the locals either don’t care or don’t notice.

Throwback to the days when the village pub welcomed everyone, local drinkers, music lovers, diners, day trip visitors, children, dogs and even your grandmother – everyone is welcome to enjoy the Flying Horse.

Finally, don’t be confused by the address because Boughton Aluph and Boughton Lees seem not only acceptable, but almost interchangeable.

There is a good sized outdoor bar in the garden for those busier days
There is a good sized outdoor bar in the garden for those busier days

Flying Horse, Wye Road, Boughton Lees, Ashford TN25 4HH

Decor: A little shabby in places, but the pub is full of character and, with its beams and inglenook ings, it exudes history. I especially liked the windows, but the tables needed to be wiped down. ***

Beverage: Adam Henson’s Rare Breed was a disappointing IPA and lacked any real flavor. The wine too, was declared very good and also led by Mrs. SD’s experienced taste buds. **

Price: The fries looked fantastic for £3 and the person who ordered them was delighted with them. The bitter was 4.50 and the grand vin 6. ***

Personal: When called to action, the bartender and fellow impressionist did a reasonable job, but there are times when they need to show a little more initiative. **

Someone has been busy in the garden and it looks like more work is planned as the tools are still out.  The dog bar is visible on the right side.
Someone has been busy in the garden and it looks like more work is planned as the tools are still out. The dog bar is visible on the right.
This area has either been left wild or it might be on the list to be weeded later
This area has either been left wild or it might be on the list to be weeded later
Someone here has a sense of humor - 'doggy doos, help yourself
Someone here has a sense of humor – ‘doggy doos, help yourself

Find all Secret Drinker’s Kent pub reviews here

Click on here to follow Secret Drinker on Twitter

Want more Secret Drinker? Sign up here for his monthly newsletter