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How Halse villagers came to love ‘fish and chip’ takeaway Friday – and a lot more

There is a Japanese word that is almost impossible to translate. It is pronounced ‘karerento’ and the closest you’ll get to it is a state of mind which experiences sadness and regret about a  certain set of circumstances while admitting to getting some pleasure from it all. You could forgive those who are now enjoying the many delights of takeaways from the New Inn for having similar feelings. Of course everyone is sad the pub is closed and lockdown has meant it just isn’t possible to eat out, enjoy company and friends and meet over a meal and drinks.

Yet at the same time the enforced closure has brought with it a secondary yet considerable pleasure- the delights of takeaways of exceptional quality and diversity to take home and enjoy at home. Whether it is forming an orderly queue to be served with a takeaway pizza on a Thursday night; fish and chips on a Friday night or Sunday lunch, anyone who has got involved in the takeaway service has only been able to admire and congratulate Ellie and the team in the pub kitchen.

Takeaways have taken off!

Explains Ellie: “The village support for the takeaways has been overwhelming. From having only been open for a short period of time we and the village have had to adapt quickly to be able to produce a menu to suit all. We have seen many people in the village and surrounding villages have takeaways from us not once, not twice but sometimes three times a week.

We have built up a great customer base and great relationships with our customers who come to us. Many customers’ faces we hadn’t seen yet in the pub when we were open we now know. We are super keen to keep ideas fresh and interesting for the customers during this lockdown. We like to make sure that when people read our menu, they feel excited to come back. We make sure we put an exciting new special on each week. Something a little different! We change our vegetarian/vegan option fortnightly too.

So for Jake and I, the hours we are working are most definitely different to what we are used to. As our normal working hours take us up to midnight normally before we head off. Myself. I like to get in earlier in the morning to be able to keep up with orders and other emails that come in. Jake and Harrison’s day looks a little different as the takeaway menus are a little less prep intensive. But as we are expanding our options with for example the frozen food, they are having to change the way they are used to working. We still do lots of things behind the scenes.

For Jake this has been a very different experience to what he is used too. But I think we could say the same for all chefs considering no one has been in this position before. We have had to adjust to different volume levels for certain foods that might not have been the case when we were open.

For myself, I definitely miss having the customers and of course our staff around. That is what I have had to adapt to the most. When you work front of house you strive to give the best customer service with the biggest smile. You enjoy the great stories that the customers bring in each day for you. You enjoy the little things that make you and your member of staff smile about their day.

So, this is definitely what is different for me. The most popular meal? Easy, the fish and chips with the posh mushy peas and tartare sauce. The village love having their fish and chip Friday as we call it! And Fridays are also by far the most popular night. Because, let’s be honest, when you have finished a busy week at work the last thing you want to do is cook and wash up. Why not leave it to us!

Another dish that is popular is our specials we put on. It brings the inquisitive side out of people when they want to try something different. The favourite dish on the pizza night is the seafood pizza. We have worked out that the village of Halse and surrounding villages love fish!”