We had to wait for the train to go through and the fellow in an orange suit to open the gate before we could trundle over the line and round the corner to the Tickled Trout in Wye.
There was a space right outside the door so parking wasn’t as issue but I believe there’s also a good size car park at the back of the pub.
Inside we were immediately greeted by a lovely waitress called Sarah who showed us to a table on the right hand side of the bar.
There were a good selection of beers on offer and I decided to start with a Shipyard IPA and Mrs SD chose her usual Sauvignon Blanc.
It was a Friday lunchtime and the place was busy and buzzing. It was mainly diners as you might expect but there were also a number of guys in who just wanted a pint at the bar and it’s a pub ably equipped to entertain everyone.
We’d hardly had time to order our food before striking up a conversation with a couple of fellows on neighbouring tables and after chatting for just a few moments already had a potted history of the village.
Apparently we were lucky to get the bloke operating the railway crossing as there’s another operator who locals reckon enjoys leaving the traffic waiting as long as possible.
This is definitely a family-friendly pub so you won’t find darts, pool, fruit machines or even a jukebox, although there was background music being played at a sensible level. What you do find are locals who are very happy to chat and welcome visitors.
At the table next to us was a fellow by the name of Corker and you couldn’t wish to meet a nicer gent. He, in turn, introduced us to Mick who kindly popped outside for a moment to fix the slightly faulty salt cellar on our table.
We’d ordered a pair of ciabattas, a chicken club with fries for me and a fish finger one with sweet potato fries for her.
The food arrived promptly, everything was extremely fresh and very tasty. Although Corker reckoned we missed an opportunity with the pork belly.
At this point we were joined by two-year-old Archie who brought along a small selection of sweets and a much larger set of colouring pencils. He also kindly brought mum Steph with him and they joined our new circle of friends with everyone chatting as though we’d known each other for years.
Topics of discussion included the pretty looking flower shop across the road, the door to the private doctor’s surgery, the fact that years ago every pub, including this one, had a dartboard and the life of ‘Brian’ - who as he wasn't there to defend himself, we will leave at that.
Unsurprisingly the garden was deserted in January but with a large patio area and grassy banks running down to the river must be absolutely packed in the summer – I’ve seen few more inviting pub gardens.
There was also a colourful caravan advertising homemade ice cream out front and I imagine this does a roaring trade when the sun is out.
And, especially for my growing legion of Kent pub toilet fans, I can report the gents are as well maintained as everything else here – nicely decorated and spotlessly clean.
No matter how fascinating the history of the building is, and even if it has great facilities, good food and drink, we all know what really makes a great pub – it’s the people, on both sides of the bar.
The welcome from Sandra could not have been warmer and the service she offered, combined with a lively sense of humour, made the visit a pleasure.
Add to this the collection of real, local characters we met: Corker, Mick, Steph, and incredibly well behaved Archie are what really make the Tickled Trout exactly the sort of village pub you’d want to keep returning to.
Who knows Corker, maybe we will be back to say hello and sample that pork belly.
Tickled Trout, 2 Bridge Street, Why, Ashford TN25 5EB
Decor: A typical, charming Kent pub with a whole host of fascinating items dotted about. Mrs SD loved the tartan carpet and says she’d like one at home. I was more taken by the undulating floor perfectly demonstrating the age of this riverside tavern. *****
Drink: Hard to fault with a great selection of decent beers on offer. I followed up a Shipyard IPA with a Trout Pout from Canterbury Ales – if anything, the second pint was even better. *****
Price: The price of a large Sauvignon Blanc, albeit Chilean, isn’t bad at £5.25 but it’s unusual for my pint (Shipyard IPA) to be more expensive than the wine, at £5.30. The Trout Pout was £4.40 and the sandwiches £14 for two, fries £5 for two and the jam roly poly £6. **
Food: Both sandwiches were excellent and the accompanying fries were good too. The jam roly poly with custard was the crowning glory. ****
Staff: A wonderfully warm welcome and just the right level of attentive service from a busy, cheery waitress. *****
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