Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Midas Well

With 'The Midas Touch' set to open its doors later this week, The Worcester Park Blog brings you an exclusive sneak-preview of the town's newest drinking establishment!



When 'The Hunstmans Hall' closed its doors for the final time earlier this year there were undoubtedly some who shed a tear for the passing of Worcester Park's oldest pub and one of the last visible reminders of the origins of the area.

There were perhaps more who were relieved to see the end of an institution with a troubled recent past, along with the promise of a new and revitalised future for the premises.

For the last seven weeks round-the-clock work has been underway to transform 'The Huntsmans Hall' into an exciting new venue - 'Midas Touch'.

The original bar has been retained, but painstakingly stripped down and restored. Out has gone the faux-traditional clone pub interior and in has come a new decadent (and occasionally bling) interior with indulgent browns, luxurious black leather sofas and splashes of gold (as, of course, befits to the Midas name).

Turning a profit from an established pub is tricky at the best of times, let alone starting afresh in the current gloomy economic climate. For the new owner Vicky (whose background is in running a nightclub in the West End) and her husband, setting up and running the 'Midas Touch' is already proving an exhilerating but exhauasting learning curve.

So what is 'Midas Touch'? Vicky admits that the vision for the establishment has changed since its inception, moving away from the traditional pub concept to more of a lounge/bar feel (complete with cocktails). Her vision is for a comfortable informal atmosphere where Mums meeting up during the daytime will feel as welcome as families, couples and evening drinkers.

There is talk too of introducing WiFi Internet access (and who could resist the opportunity to catch up with Worcester Park Blog over a relaxing pint or two).

The vision of a 'home from home' is a laudable one, although perhaps slightly incongruous with the opulent feel of the new establishment. It will be intersting to see whether the daytime trade and families more accustomed to cafes and traditional pubs will feel at home in the slightly upmarket 'evening venue' feel of the Midas Touch.

Along with 'meet' and 'drink' comes 'dine'. The menu of the Midas Touch comprises surprisingly traditional pub fare at accessible prices, although a range of more 'funky' and adventurous specials is promised. With time and an undoubted amount of 'trial and error' with various menu options, the food could well prove to be the making of the Midas Touch (and it is certainly well placed with little competition locally in this market).

What sets the Midas Touch apart is that it is unique and personal, driven by the passion of its creators and not by the edicts of a franchise or the soulless vision of pub-chain owners. The new creation is hard to define, and I suspect its uniqueness will prove either its crowning glory or Achilles heel (if you'll excuse me mixing my Greek myths).

Either way, it is an exciting new departure for Worcester Park. If its new and energetic owners can succeed in breathing new life into this old building then I'll certainly drink to that!

43 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

NS said...

Cool! Will have to check it out. If they allow kids, have Wi-fi and comfy sofas and do a decent cocktail I'll be there a lot.

SC said...

Actually I do hope that it works out. The name is a bit 80s but that notwithstanding I really hope that it helps bring a little positivity to the High Street. And if all of the "busy moms" can go there with their little darlings then maybe Costas will be visitable again too!

coffee man said...

so true SC. You can hardly get into Costas for all the 4 wheel drive push chairs and when you do get a seat all you can hear is screaming babies and rug rats climbing the walls.hope you are right so we can look forward to some peace and quite when drinking our coffee and reading the paper.Good luck to the 'New Huntsman Hall'

axlrocky said...

best of luck to them, many have tried and none have succeeded in the past to shake the image of the old Huntsman's Hall, the name change was sensible and now the new owners must try to really polish this turd on our high street, will they be able to remove the stench though? only time will tell.

Jennifer said...

Wow, I almost wish I still lived in WP to visit ;)

Andrew said...

I hereby, on the behalf of all parents of 'screaming babies' and 'rugrats', apologise to the masses for being so selfish as to bother continuing the human race. Furthermore, i pledge that i will sit in my own house and never let my child see the light of day until they reach an age where they can walk by themselves, and be able to sit quietly and happily watch people read their papers in peace.

And 4 wheel drive pushchairs? What kind of a dig is that? What about all those '4 wheel drive' wheelchairs taking up all the space? So selfish arent they!... Dont be so miserable, why not stay at home if you want to read your paper in silence?

SC said...

Thank you Andrew for realising that while you love kids, not everyone needs to have them running around while they read the paper in a cafe for grown ups. It's a wonder that Costas hasn't been sued for hot coffee being spilled on little Timmy who thinks it's OK to run around in an establishment where hot drinks are served. If only all the busy moms with *exactly* the same shade blonde hair understood that.

It's no real surprise that the child-and-parent cafe further down the road is always empty. Though it is a shame as it seems to be an ideal space for parents to catch up and children to play. But hey, what do I know...

Having said that it's nice that parents take their kids out. I just wish people understand that a cafe != a daycare center, and that instead of chatting to other parents while their kids ran amok that they, oh I don't know, actually engaged with their children.

Hopefully the Midas Touch will provide a greater spread for everyone.

Another coffee guy said...

Oh come now Andrew, you didn't have children as some altruistic act to continue the human race. You had children because you wanted to.

And to the point, socialising children by bringing them into cafes and coffee houses and the like is a great thing. Letting them run riot while their parents ignore them is not. Do try to see the difference.

Anonymous said...

Well said Andrew, as a mum of two I am allowed out too and I am fed up with people looking down their noses if my child makes a noise.

coffee man said...

Andrew,the reason for leaving the home for a quiet latte and to read the paper is to get away from the 'little darlings'at home . If we wanted noise, we would read the paper in a 'nursery'.Good luck to the wheelchair users it's great to see they now have access to many buildings and shops and enjoying themselves.
Good luck to the 'Midas Touch' i wish it every success.

Anonymous said...

Oooooooo, someone's tired

axlrocky said...

sorry andrew couldnt hear you over the babies screaming what did you say again? lol

Jacey said...

Sorry but coffeeman is right and entitled to his opinion, as are we all. You could never move in Sutton library for pushcahirs, now its Starbucks at North Cheam. Not that I like Starbucks at all BUT some of us wihtout children do appreciate a cuppa without nonstop noise.
And while I'm going to be accused of grumbling I'd also like to sit upstairs on a bus or in a tube and NOT listen to everyone's rubbish. Where has peace and quiet gone? And for those parents please don't write in and tell me to sit indoors - I have inconsiderate neighbours and don't get peace often.
Yours grumpily, Jacey of Worcester Park

NS said...

I used to be grumpy about kids in cafes before I had them myself. And when I go there without them, I'm still grumpy about it. But now I remind myself what an unrealistic twat I'm being to expect a public meeting place to be quiet or for adults only. That's what the library or my own house is for. And then I turn up my iPod or put some earplugs in while I read and am just glad I'm not the kids' parents that day.

Because the very next day I'll be in there with my brood (and yes, my pushchair), the one ignoring your disapproving face like a cat's arse. Earplugs are under £2 at Superdrug. Being a grown-up and realising the world doesn't revolve around you and your reading environment desires is priceless.

Better yet, go have a cocktail. No kids there, and all the parents will be jealous!

Anonymous said...

children are not a different lifeform they have as much right to be in a cafe enjoying themselves as much as anyone else....

Anonymous said...

We had a great lunch at Midas Touch on Saturday. The place looks great, nice and modern but not pretentious. We took our two kids (and small pushchair!) and were made very welcome, the kids meal came quickly and was delicious, more than big enough. Adults' food even tastier (burger and pie) so we will definitely be returning.

Anonymous said...

In my day children respected their elders and knew what a hard days work was, and they were properly disciplined. Not like today where they run amok and are just a real nuisance, not to mention spoiled by their parents - can't possibly have the dear little darling being told to behave, lest it somehow damages their demanding sense of self and entitlement. Brats the lot of them, and I blame the parents.

Jacey said...

Well thank you Anonymous, I think, unless you were being sarcastic which I don't think you were.
When I was young there were no free holidays and travel. Also I was taught table manners and general behaviour. It isn't a case of those who have kids thinking we're all against you, stop being so melodramatic. And yes before you start again, my kids are off my hands. I 've always been a quiet person and would just like a bit of quiet that's all! Is it really too much to ask? Obviously a lot of people with kids now think they can do whatever they like and the rest of us have to lump it. What a selfish world we live in now.

Anonymous said...

...'a comfortable informal atmosphere where Mums meeting up during the daytime will feel as welcome as families, couples and evening drinkers.'

Saturday 5-6pm:
Pushchair count: 5, including 1 double.

Not being funny but all i wanted was a quiet afternoon drink. My drink was quiet enough, hardly a sound made, but the babies/toddlers crying and screaming and their pushchairs parked all over the place made the time quite UNcomfortable. I didn't feel welcome as was in the minority of being without a mini-human in tow.

You have your own dedicated place or worship at Mumas'n'Cuppas. Or is being up the top end of the hill too far to climb with the pushchair?

*Crawls back under stone*

The Colonel said...

The Colonel welcomes everyone to his fried chicken esablishment, especially kids. The Colonel wants a new generation to experience the goodness that is the Bargain Bucket (only £9.99, mmm, mmm thats a finger lickin' good price)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think it's great you can take the children to Midas Touch! For those of you whingers who don't like kids (or can't have them) I suggest you go to The Worcester Tavern - they stopped kids going about 2 years ago. Leave the Midads Touch to happy families not miserable singletons and barren couples!

InTheKnow said...

Sorry Anonymous, the Worcester Tavern is now full of teenagers using the f word every other! Have I opened another can of worms ?????

Anonymous said...

How dare anonymous bring up "barren couples" as an example of people who hate children. Most couples who can't have children would give their left arm to be able to conceive. The problem with most of these places is not the children, it is the moronic parents who let them run riot and then try and seek blame elsewhere when the little angels hurt themselves (or someone else!!)

Lord K Taylor said...

There is a time and a place for women and young children, and that is at home in the kitchen, not socialising in coffee establishments.

Anonymous said...

How long before the scum of WP return to ruin the new place???

NB said...

my children never cried like a spoilt brats in public places/home. it's today's society spoiling their children that has led to a disgusting, ear piercing shrill of very old, but very spoilt pretend crying from people's children. get a grip worcester park - kid's need discipline - it's character building and good practice for adulthood.

Anonymous said...

Why do my comments get removed ?

Trevor Fletcher said...

My my, aren't we all being unkind to each other.

Children are lovely (usually) and parents should be able to take them to public places without having to face disapproving glares but parents must accept some responsibility for ensuring that they behave reasonably.

That said, what's a four wheel drive push chair?! I've never seen a two wheel drive one. And what's with 'mom' and 'center' SC? Not guilty of the heinous crime of being American are you?

Anonymous said...

Are these comments moderated? I don't think someones comment about barren couples should have been allowed.

There are many reasons someone may not conceive but that doesnt mean that they then hate children.

Time and a place.

avenuetop said...

I went with a couple of friends to The Midas Touch for dinner last Friday.
We parked in the car park and went in the back entrance (ahem) so didn't get to see it in all its splendor, but from what we saw (the dinina area with leather seats and solid wood floor!!), we were impressed!
The food was as good as it gets in Worcester Park as far as I'm concerned. There were 3 of us, had 2 courses each and a bottle of Pinot. All in all came to just over £50, so not too pricey. We had Soup, Bruschetta and Pate followed by Tuna, a Burger and Ribs. All was very tasty and fresh!

Good luck to them, it'll be a real effort to shrug off The Huntsman's reputation, but hopefully the plush new interior and now name, this'll happen over time.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know stephan norinder???

The colonel said...

Does he like fried chicken?

Worcester Park said...

Who doesn't, Colonel?

The Colonel said...

Just those damn hippy veggies. Why I orta' Kentucky Fry them all.

Anonymous said...

The problem with this venue is it's past reputation.

It would have been better to open this type of business elsewhere but I wish the new owners all the best as they have invested in a building that many upstanding & decent folk avoid like the plague due to it's previous chav scum customer base.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with the comment above. Why would it have been best to open this business elswhere? Surely it is much better that the new owners have transformed this venue and turned it into a viable business for Worcester Park? Or would you really rather the place stay empty or continued as a rough chav scum magnet?

Anonymous said...

I agree, Midas Touch will hopefully attract decent people and in turn bring about regeneration to the area. Now, if only they could bring back Marks & Spencers....

WPGal said...

My hubby and I love it and go often :-) Their pies are fantastic and always fresh, burger, lamb and steak a winner too!
Frienly service
lovely decor
I think they do have the golden touch!

Anonymous said...

The Midas Touch is fantastic!

DSDodge said...

Recently went and experienced the lunchtime meal deal - absolutely fantastic!
Beautifully presented food and very friendly service! Tasted superb and was excellent value for money!
Shall definitely be returning in the very near future! A GREAT addition to Worcester Park!

Anonymous said...

I went to the Midas Touch on Friday night. To be recommednded if you like 80's music. Had a great night.

Anonymous said...

Have been here twice now, food and service is very good. However the place is spoilt by badly behaved children and screaming babies. Even had the pleasure of a Mum breast feeding her baby in the restaurant. Gave up going to Costas which is like a kids playgroup, lets hope the Midas Touch isn't going the same way. How do Mums or Child Minders expect young children to sit quietly for a few hours, while they sit and talk to their friends.

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