The Watermans Arms will cook fish and chips should you wish, but it is much more interesting to try the Japanese dishes. Its landlord and chef Gordon Fry has a Japanese wife and lived in Japan for some time. He prepares izakaya style, hearty dishes such as yakisoba (fried noodles) and yakitori (skewered chicken). As long as you give at least 48 hours notice then the chef will prepare for you four Japanese courses rather than just offering the specials listed on the blackboard. At this meal we tried this little tasting menu.
This meal began with chicken yakitori, the meat avoiding dryness and having a good glaze that added some interest to the flavour (12/20). Kakiage tempura was a mix of shredded vegetables and prawns bundled up into a ball and then deep-fried. The prawns were carefully cooked and this was a hearty, fun dish (12/20).
Salmon teriyaki was glazed with soy sauce and mirin before cooking, and although inevitably the farmed salmon had limited flavour, the soy lifted the dish (12/20). Yakisoba had buckwheat noodles stir-fried with vegetables and prawns, another carefully cooked and enjoyable dish, the noodles having good texture (13/20).
The bill for all this, with some beer, was just £35 a head (the four courses were just £24.95). Service was friendly and Mr Fry is an excellent host, always happy to chat about his time in Japan. If you are ever in this area and want a hearty and great value meal then it is well worth seeking out the Watermans Arms.