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The Robin Hood Tavern in The Avenue on 2nd Road


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#1 Evil Penevil

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 02:35 AM

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A hero has emerged who, together with his band of merry men and women, may be able to break the Curse of The Avenue.  The Robin Hood Tavern, part of the Retox group,.was jammed with customers when I had a late supper there. on Friday night. 

 

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It's on the second level of The Avenue shopping plaza on 2nd Road in the premises once occupied by failed ventures like Shenanigans, Acorn and most recently, All American Restaurant.

 
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The exciting news is that Bite Me Bistro, formerly on 3rd Road,  has entered into an arrangement with Robin Hood Tavern to prepare and serve it's standard dishes and specials from the new premises. More on that later.

 

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The Robin Hood Tavern had only been open since Dec. 27 and Friday was its Grand Opening.  I wasn't aware of that when I walked in, otherwise I probably wouldn't have gone there that night.  But there weren't any balloons adorning the entrance nor any signs announcing a party.  I thought the place was packed because of a televised sport event or the novelty of a new Retox-associated pub.  I didn't learn about the Grand Opening until I checked the Robin Hood's Web site for a copy of the menu while writing this review.
 
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At 9.30 p.m., I got the last small table for dining.  There were a few open seats at the bar, but that was about it.  The restaurant was full and it isn't a small place.  While The Avenue has proved unlucky for a whole string of businesses and probably three-quarters of the floor space is now empty or under renovation,  The Robin Hood Tavern has every chance of succeeding.  The Retox "brand" is strong and has a lot of  loyal customers.  The second-level location isn't necessarily a major disadvantage as long as customers know about the bar/restaurant and want to go there..  An Oishi branch has prospered for years on the second level of The Avenue because it's popular with Thais and Asian tourists. It's easy to get to The Avenue and there's plenty of parking for those with vehicles.  I doubt the location of The Robin Hood Tavern will deter many Retox fans, although it will prove more difficult to attract walk-ins by customers who've never heard of Retox.
 
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Essentially, TRHT is Retox Game On in a more comfortable and spacious incarnation.  You can sit on chairs at tables to have your meal, rather than on bar stools as at Retox Game On.  For me at least,  that's a big attraction.  I'm not sure what the official policy is on smoking.  I saw no one smoking, nor did I see any ashtrays on tables. The smokers seemed to be gathered around the outside tables.  The Robin Hood claims to have Pattaya's biggest TV screen, but I don't know the details.
 
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I chose the "tender slow cooked rich beef casserole" at 285 baht.  Here I have to note that "casserole," a word borrowed from French, has a different meaning in the U.K, Australia and N. Zealand than in N. America.  I would call what came down in front of me oven-braised beef stew or beef pot pie. If I had tasted a piece of the beef while blindfolded, I would have guessed it was pot roast.  In U.S. and Canadian English, a casserole consists of layers of ingredients baked uncovered in the oven. 
 
 
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Whatever the name, it was very tasty.  There was a lot- and I mean a lot- of chunks of beef that had been slow-cooked until tender but not falling apart.  Same-same with the veggies.  The sauce had been seasoned with thyme and I believe sage. One nice touch was that celery had been added, but late in the cooking process, so that the bits retained their flavor and a bit of crunch. 
 
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However, the puff pastry top wasn't the crown of the dish except in the literal sense.  It was tough and soggy.  That usually happens when rough puff  has been baked ahead and reheated. I took only one bite. The warm bread that came on the side was much better and served admirably to sop up the sauce.
 
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 The menu at TRHT is very close to that at Retox Game On. It's basically British comfort food and "international" dishes like hamburgers, pizza and pasta.
 
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The prices for draft and bottled beer are reasonable- my pint of draft Tiger cost 120 baht,  but cocktails and other fancy drinks seem a bit steep.
 
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  It will be very interesting to see how the Bite Me dishes will be incorporated into the overall menu.  Bite Me offered modern Mediterranean "fusion," with creative takes on old favorites something of a hallmark.  Top quality ingredients prepared and presented skillfully in casual surroundings made one of the best restaurants in Pattaya when the modest prices are taken into consideration. I would really be sad to see Bite Me disappear, or even worse, go downhill.  I just hope it doesn't lose its originality or compromise on quality.
 
By 10.30 p.m., the crowd had thinned a bit, but new customers were arriving as I was leaving.
 
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Bottom line:  I'll be back and if the Bite Me "fusion" is successful, very regularly.
 
Evil

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This is view from the area outside the Robin Hood.  Whatever else happens in Pattaya, the cocktail vans always do a brisk trade.

 

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Edited by Evil Penevil, 02 January 2017 - 02:51 AM.

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#2 Bullfrog

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 03:03 AM

The eggs Royale sound tasty....


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#3 Evil Penevil

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 12:14 PM

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It's still early days, but Robin Hood continues to pack them in.

 

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At 9.00 p.m. last night,  about 90% of the dining area was full.

 

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I went back to the Robin Hood because a dish on the menu had caught my eye.  I wanted to try the "3 hour slow braised ham hock"  with English mustard mash in a giant Yorkshire pudding for 295 baht.   I was curious to try a ham hock done British style as I usually associate ham hocks with U.S. regional or ethnic-group cooking.

 

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Not only was Robin Hood's version really good, it was one of the biggest single-plate portions I've ever gotten in a Pattaya restaurant. Maybe Little John or Friar Tuck could have polished it off, but not Will Scarlet or Much the Miller's Son.  There was quite literally enough food for two meals.

 

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I'm a fan of big flavors and the Retox group doesn't disappoint in that respect.  The flavors may not be sophisticated, but they are bold. The braised ham hock was not an exception.  Good ham flavor, not too salty or smokey. The red wine gravy added the right accent.  

 

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The mashed potatoes with English mustard were also good, but I would have liked an even more pronounced mustard taste.  I asked the waitress if I could have some extra mustard to put on both the ham and mash, but I don't think she understood and I never got it.

 

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The giant Yorkshire pudding harks back not only to the time of Robin Hood but even earlier.  While the puffy individual-style Yorkshires date from the 1800s, batter and dripping puddings go back many centuries in Britain, probably to Roman times.  The giant Yorkshire that provided the bottom layer for the ham hock is closer to the type of batter pudding Maid Marian would have served to the Merry Men.

 

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I'll definitely order the braised ham hock again, but as a take-away dish.  There's just too much to eat in one sitting, plus the soi dogs will really like the bone.

 

For me, the most interesting thing about  the Robin Hood is that willbe the new home of Bite Me.  While I like the food at Retox/Robin Hood, it falls way short of the masterpieces offered at Bite Me, which, for the price, was the best food in Pattaya. Bite Me became popular quickly with Pattaya visitors and resident ex-pats who know and appreciate truly good food. The difficulty for Bite Me to "fit in" at the Robin Hood Tavern is that most Retox customers use transport cafes and truck stops as their benchmark of culinary excellence.  Nothing wrong with truck stop food; in fact, it can at times be excellent, but it is very, very different to what Bite Me offers.  I think the management will have to figure out a way to make clear the distinction between Robin Hood and Bite Me dishes, otherwise, you risk disappointing one group of diners or the other.  This could be a particularly sore point when it comes to portion size.

 

Evil

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#4 js007

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 02:22 PM

Isn't there a Robin Hood tavern in Bangkok?  I wonder if it's the same owner.


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#5 tallguy

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 02:30 PM

Isn't there a Robin Hood tavern in Bangkok?  I wonder if it's the same owner.

Don't think so. The main owner is a guy called Simon who owns Retox on Soi Lengkee and Retox Game On in Soi Honey before that he was the main shareholder at I-Rovers.


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#6 Odense

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:43 PM

That ham-hock and mash looks great.
After eating such a plate the desire is probably more for a nap than for a go go crawl though :-D

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#7 LBJ

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 09:58 PM

The Avenue is a tough place for whatever reason. I ate at that All American last year and knew then that it's days were numbered.


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#8 Harvey

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:14 AM

That ham-hock and mash looks great.
After eating such a plate the desire is probably more for a nap than for a go go crawl though :-D

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

 

 

I was thinking the exact same thing.

 

I *need* that ham hock in my life.  But then a long nap afterwards.  Perhaps grabbing it at a time that's between lunch and dinner (4ish?) and letting it carry me food-wise for the rest of the day and night.  

 

I'm in town next month.  I'm eating that damn thing.


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#9 SimplySam

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 06:19 AM

Don't think so. The main owner is a guy called Simon who owns Retox on Soi Lengkee and Retox Game On in Soi Honey before that he was the main shareholder at I-Rovers.

 

Nope, Simon is involved but the big money is from a silent partner. 

 

Similarly, Bryan of the PA mafia is/was a minor partner in BMB.


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#10 Evil Penevil

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 05:50 AM

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I went to TRHT on Sunday looking to have the once-a-week roast dinner. The inside area was packed full at 2.30 p.m., not a single seat open and people standing with drinks in hand.  But there were plenty of seats outside, probably because of the impending rain.  Although I'm not a big fan of al fresco dining, I was more disappointed to find the roast dinners weren't available that Sunday.  Whether it was due to staff shortages or other hassles, I don't know.
 
In fact, TRHT was using an abbreviated menu with about half of its usual offering:
 
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That's not a bad idea at all when a restaurant is forced for any reason to operate on a limited basis.  There's still plenty of choice, but customers won't have to constantly hear, "No hab" or wait for many minutes before the food arrives on the table.  I had my heart set on a roast dinner and if it hadn't been for the heavy rain, I would have gone elsewhere.
 
I swallowed my disappointment and ordered the cottage pie. 
 
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It was excellent- a generous portion of minced meat topped with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese.  Three pieces of warm French bread accompanied it.
 
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It was made from quality ingredients cooked properly.
 
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The mince mixture had a good beef-and-vegetable flavor, but was perhaps a bit bland. However, that what the condiment basket is for.  Cottage pie isn't supposed to be a tongue-tingling dish and with Worcestershire sauce or Tabasco, you can add as much zip as you like.  
 
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No complaints on my part and I wouldn't hesitate to order it again.  It 275 baht, it wasn't cheap, but the quality ingredients justified a premium price.
 
I went back again Wednesday night, not so much because I love TRHT, but The Avenue is five minutes from where I live and the Internet was down in my building.  TRHT has free WiFi that's both strong and fast.  The Internet is still down in my building and I'm filing this report from the Robin Hood. It's the WiFi rather than the food that is the immediate draw this time round.
 
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Somewhat to my surprise, it was nearly empty at 8.00 p.m.
 
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I stayed until nearly 1.00 a.m. and there weren't many customers the whole time.  At one point, around 9.30 p.m., I was the ONLY customer.  
 
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Things picked up a smidgen when a group of twelve guys entered a half-hour later.  They were still there when I left, eating and drinking heartily.  Without them, the night would have been a real bust for TRHT.
 
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Every other time I've been to the Robin Hood, it's had plenty of customers and the service staff really had to rush. Such are the vagaries of the bar/restaurant branch in Pattaya.
 
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At least the lack of customers allowed me to get clear pics of the layout of the main inside area.
 
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For my meal, I had the lamb burger for 395 baht.  The longer Robin Hood menu was back on Wednesday.
 
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The burger consisted of a 180-gram patty of Australian lamb, three slices of feta cheese, tomato and lettuce on a sesame bun.
 
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The sides were thick-cut chips (they would be called potato wedges in the U.S.) and coleslaw. The menu said it was mint yogurt slaw, but that wasn't the case.  The mint yogurt sauce came in a separate little dish and the coleslaw was doused   with the usual mayonnaise-based dressing.
 
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It was good, but not the most exciting burger I've had.  The feta cheese and lamb went well together.  I know imported lamb is expensive in Thailand, but 395 baht did seem a bit on the high side for what you got.  
 
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I ordered the bread-and-butter pudding for dessert along with a coffee latte.  
 
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Both were excellent. The bread-and-butter pudding was just like Grandma used to make. 
 
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Plenty of egg/cream mixture and butter and baked perfectly so it got a great topping of caramelized sugar but not too sweet. The cook had been a bit stingy regarding raisins, but so was my Grandma.
 
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The custard sauce was also lovely, smooth, full-flavored and again, not too sweet. The pudding went for a very reasonable 140 baht. I would have liked to have had another portion, but that would have been overindulgence, so I'll post another picture instead.  Less fattening!
 
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Bottom line: So far I've been very happy with the food at the Robin Hood. It's not inexpensive, but the quality is higher than in a lot of places that serve English food.
 
Two other points: 1) I saw no evidence of any Bite Me Bistro dishes on the menu, but I was served Sunday by Apple, who used to work at Bite Me; and 2) smoking is not allowed inside.  Half of the guys in the group of 12 went outside to smoke.  If TRHT had been flexible on smoking, I'm sure they would have allowed them to smoke inside on a night with almost no other customers. 
 
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#11 Bullfrog

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 06:05 AM

The chips look good..

Wasn't last weekend the darts tournemount as advertised on the radio..???
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#12 MM

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 07:34 AM

I might pop in there just for the bread and butter pudding. It looks delicious...maybe I can request a heavy dose of raisins, since we've been forewarned.


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#13 Bullfrog

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 08:22 AM

I like my B&B pudding hot with a crispy top with hot custard poured over it with a portion of ice cream on the side....mmmmmmm
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#14 Evil Penevil

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 07:40 PM

Breakfast is a beloved topic on the Pattaya, but I'm not usually a good source of information as I seldom eat a farang breakfast.  However,  due to the problems with the Internet in my building, I've had more Western breakfasts this week than I would normally have in six months.  Internet connectivity, rather than the food, has been my reason for visiting restaurants in the morning.

 

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Yesterday I had the Sheriff of Nottingham breakfast at TRHT for 179 baht.  

 

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It was a big plate of food and what came down in front of me closely corresponded to the pic in the ad for the Sheriff of Nottingham breakfast.  It included  a cup of coffee or tea and a small glass of orange juice.  I added a watermelon smoothie for 85 baht. According to traditional Chinese medicine, watermelon juice is a cold food that helps dispel the heat of  a tropical climate.  The coldness doesn't have to do with the temperature of the juice, but its position on the yin-yang scale.  The yin of the watermelon juice helps balance the both the yang of the outside heat and humidity and the other components of the breakfast.

 

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Others are more qualified to discuss the details of an English breakfast, so I'll abstain.  It tasted pretty good to me, even though English sausage and tinned beans don't rank among my favorites for breakfast. However, there was no mistaking the ingredients were quality.  The eggs were fried nicely, once over lightly.  The grilled tomato, fried mushroom and potato were also tasty, as was the back bacon, sometimes called Irish bacon in the U.S.

 

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Look at the knife and fork in relation to the size of the plate.  That's a lot of food!  And it wasn't greasy, which is often the case with English fry-ups.

 

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In terms of value-for-money, the quality of ingredients as well as the portion size make the Sheriff's breakfast a reasonable deal.  However, the other Retrox restaurants have similar breakfasts at about 100 baht.  If you add another 61 baht to your breakfast outlay, you can have the buffet at Casa Pascal, without question the best breakfast offer in central Pattaya and just a hop, skip and jump from TRHT.

 

Evil

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#15 jacko

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 08:32 PM

Not enough toast!!!


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#16 nkped

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 12:52 AM

Not enough toast!!!


And you would probably do something perverted such as put the eggs or beans on it.

Edited by nkped, 14 January 2017 - 01:14 AM.

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#17 Bullfrog

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 01:00 AM

And you would do something perverted such as put the eggs or beans on it.


Funnily enough it was their inability to do a decent poached egg on toast in Retox that was one reason I stopped going...The other reasons were the price of soda water and the "Yelling" woman manager..

Edited by Bullfrog, 14 January 2017 - 01:01 AM.

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#18 jacko

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 03:27 AM

And you would probably do something perverted such as put the eggs or beans on it.

One for dippy, 2 more to make a bacon, egg and sausage butty with a god drizzle of HP!

If that is perversion, I can live with it!


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