It had been some time since I first tried the food at The Pub at Fair Play, which is located at 7915 Fairplay Road in “Downtown Fair Play.” That time, as I did this time, I took my friend Russ Salazar with me to get a second opinion.
The first time we both loved the Scotch Eggs, Bangers and Mash and the deep fried pickles, but they were having some problems with their fryers and the fish and chips (a signature pub dish) was less than it should have been.
That time we talked with two of the owners, Ian Schofield and Andrew Wyle. Schofield you probably remember from Jack Russell Brewery and Wyle, I am told, had the Streets of London Pub in Folsom. Neither were there this time and they left the selection of dishes up to their lovely and pleasant General Manager, Tiffany (McLean) Ruiz . We were delighted they did.
Our first dish was Mac & Cheese. Most mac and cheese is a bit boring, but this was fantastic. Salazar took one bite and said, “This isn’t on my diet, but I’m going to eat it anyway. It’s deadly, but at least I will die happy.”
It was made with perfectly cooked macaroni, several cheeses and heavy cream. The deeper you got into the steaming bowl, the creamier and better and better it got. We both agreed it was the best we had ever had and quite an opening dish.
Along with it came one of our favorites from our first visit, a Scotch Egg. If you have never enjoyed one, it is a hard-boiled egg, first wrapped in pork sausage, then breaded and fried and served with a local honey-bacon glaze. Absolutely delicious, and since they sliced it in two, we both agreed that all the calories had leaked out by the time we ate it.
Next we were served their version of a taco salad and two pieces of their fish.
The taco salad came in a formed, deep fried flour tortilla, which although delicious, retained a bit of fat from the frying. The salad greens were very fresh, but Salazar thought the meat had a bit too much cumin. I like cumin and I liked the dish a lot and, along with the remaining Mac & Cheese, took what was left of it home for later.
The fish was perfectly cooked large tender pieces of cod: very moist and delicious like it should be. We both agreed it could have used a bit more salt, but I like it with too little rather than too much. Salt I can add at the table. I can’t take it away.
Our next dish was what Tiffany called “Our Pub schnitzel.” It was a pounded pork loin, breaded, fried and served as a sandwich with “Sidewinder” fries. The schnitzel was nicely seasoned and very tender, but we were fascinated by the fries. They are thicker, twisty pieces of potato that are beer battered and need to be eaten hot, and we did just that – all of them.
Finally we were served their beef pasty, a Cornish style dish most often found in the deep rock gold mining areas to the north and south of us. The well made crust was full of meat and vegetables and served with a Guinness infused gravy. It was delicious. I could survive on these alone.
For dessert? No dessert for us, we were full and happy.
The menu at The Pub at Fair Play is being updated, but the present one includes lots of small plates and starters, including fried calamari, steamed mussels, Buffalo cauliflower, Pub chicken tenders, the Mac & Cheese, Scotch Egg and more. Then there are also several salads, French onion soup and tomato basil bisque.
Sandwiches include the Pub BLTA, Cuban pulled pork, the Pub Burger, a traditional burger, The Frenchy, the Pub Club Panini, roasted veggie Panini and even a ham and Swiss Panini.
You can select from quite a list of entrees: meat loaf, fish and chips, a pork chop, Bangers & Mash, beef and mushroom pie, oven roasted chicken, chicken curry and more.
Unexpectedly, they also make quite a number of pizzas, including their Supreme, Hawaiian, Irish Potato, a Pub Margarita and, if you wish, you can build your own.
Their drink list includes a huge number of domestic, imported and craft beers, along with a full list of local wines.
The Pub at Fair Play is open Monday through Friday from 11 until 11 (kitchen closes at 9) and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 until 11. On Saturday and Sunday the also serve breakfast from 9 until 2, with a number of dishes available, including a British breakfast of two eggs, toast, baked beans, bacon, a banger, sauteed tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms and coffee.
Sunday is Pub Quiz (trivia) day, starting at 7 p.m., Monday is “open mic,” Tuesday is Local Night with no corkage fee when you purchase an entree, and $1 off all draft beers from 4p.m. until close. Wednesday and Thursday they have “Happy Hour” from 4 until 6.
For more information you can call them at (530) 620-1500 or visit their webpage at http://thepubatfairplay.com.