Brewhouse and Kitchen opened to much excitement in Milton Keynes last month and it’s just what the revamp of 12th Street needed.
When the £20million redevelopment of MK’s theatre district was given the go-ahead three years ago it came with the promise of new shops, bars, restaurants and a seven-storey hotel.
What it really needed, though, to reignite interest and bring footfall back to flagging part of MK was a pub-restaurant with soul.
And it appears 12th Street has found just that after the £1 million Brewhouse and Kitchen opened its doors last month.
In what is a first for Milton Keynes, the pub boasts its very own on-site microbrewery and drinks named after famous MK figures.
They are called 12th Street, Webber’s Vision, Leaping Man (with a nod to our very own Greg Rutherford) and Colussus. They are all really interesting flavours and after sampling all four my favourite was the latter Colussus, a traditional IPA with a citrus flavour perfect for a spring drink.
Spanning a massive 6,300 square feet across three floors, the pub can cater for 250 dining covers internally, together with an additional 80 external seats for customers looking to enjoy alfresco dining in the warmer months.
And that makes for a real buzz about the place and 12th Street as a result.
The microbrewey makes for a spectacular centrepiece which has been nicknamed ‘the upside down’ - a phrase instantly recognisable to Stranger Things fans - but more a nod to the fact the brewing kegs are literally upside down in their configuration.
A month in staff are still learning the ropes but there were no noticeable teething problems and they are eager to please, friendly and always smiling and it is amazing what a difference that can make to your experience.
The menu is packed full of variety and it’s actually really hard to choose so good do all the dishes sound. We had to keep asking for more time to make our minds up but we got there in the end and it’s a taste sensation.
The sticky bbq chicken wings, soft shell tacos, sticky bbq ribs and loaded nachos were expertly prepared with the meat falling off the bone and beautifully seasoned.
The star of the starters, though, has to be the mac and cheese melts with chilli jam... if that doesn’t make your mouth water nothing will.
The burgers are huge and my personal recommendation would be the aptly named ‘The Ridiculous’ which is the most expensive of the lot but worth every penny and will probably fill you up for an entire weekend.
It is made with two 6oz 21-day aged Birchstead beef patties, BBQ maple smoked ham hock, smoked streaky bacon and Swiss cheese and is served with IPA battered onion rings with cask ale relish,tomato, lettuce, red onion & dill pickle. Just wow.
The Ay Chiwawa Chilli Dog is another hit, a cheaper but just as filling option with a 100% British smoked Frank topped with beef chilli, nacho cheese sauce, sweet pink onion, jalapeños and fresh sweetcorn salsa in a brioche roll.
The Sri Lankan Vegetable Curry offers a lighter main packed full of flavour while if it is a meat feast you are after the whole rack of sticky BBQ ribs is a must.
The dessert menu - if you’re not full up by then! - isn’t extensive but what is on offer is plenty to satisfy even the sweetest tooth and there are a range of coffees on offer too.
Brewhouse and Kitchen may be a chain but it doesn’t feel like one and this beast of a pub-restaurant really has breathed new life into the eatinbg out scene in MK and is sure to bring much-needed footfall back over to the theatre district.
The pub also offers a private function room ideal for parties, meetings and events.
And in order to create the wow factor for customers, it also features a stunning balcony which overlooks 12th Street square.
A triumph in all aspects, the challenge now is to keep the standards high and it can’t help to be a long-term success.