Christmas should be magical, but it’s generally a bloody miserable, guilt-laden time of year for me.
I suspect the lovely Labrador at The Partridge sensed my gloomy disposition before I even arrived in Bromley, as he had positioned himself right in front of the pub’s door to cheer me up.
Short of wearing a tinsel necklace and a Santa hat, this golden angel couldn’t have made us feel more welcome in his pub.
Along with the beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the converted bank’s foyer and twinkling embellishments on the walls, I dare say a warm, fuzzy festive feeling began thawing my bah, humbug heart.
The Partridge is a sensible, wise and well turned-out older brother to the dreaded TP’s bar next door – a place PubSpy would certainly not expect to catch Christmas cheer.
Here, you can settle in with a pint of rich biscuit-flavoured Discovery beer and treat yourself to a good meal in peace.
The friendly barman told us chips were off the menu temporarily as the fryers were being cleaned.
So I went for the piping hot Smoked Fish and Leek Pie (£8.95), full of smoked haddock, salmon and mackerel with leeks, onion and dill and covered in luxuriously cheesy mash.
Served with veggies, my over-eagerness resulted in a burnt mouth but it was all worth it.
My friend could not stop repeating the word ‘puff’ and adding several extra fs every time he looked down at his extraordinarily puffy chicken and chorizo pie.
The light and fluffy short-crust pastry had risen to within an inch of its life, and it certainly seemed to hit the spot.
Our new four-legged chum wandered over and sat at my side – because he wanted to continue the Christmas well-wishing of course, not because he was interested in the food.
Giving him a friendly pat, I checked his rather stylish Union Jack bone ID tag for a name, but alas only discovered a phone number.
My eccentric colleague wondered what might happen if we dialled the dog’s digits.
“Imagine if you ring it, and he runs off and comes back talking on his mobile.” He said.
Not quite sure how to top that one, I looked around at the surprisingly empty boozer.
Unfortuantely, there were more busts over the bar than living, breathing and, more importantly, paying customers in the cosy pub.
But I’m sure it fills up nicely as the night goes on.
With an impressive list of ales on offer including Chiswick, London Pride, Organic Honey Dew and Bengal Lancer, there are golden nectars to suit all tastes – and the wine list is pretty expansive too.
So if your festive feelings are lacking this season, make your way to The Partridge asap for swift pint, a piping hot pie and a cuddle from Bromley’s finest Christmas cheer-spreading canine.
Address: The Partridge 194 High Street Bromley, BR1 1HE
Decor *** (traditional pub with a warm, sophisticated edge)
Drink **** (oodles of ales and wines to choose from)
Price *** (a little expensive but worth it)
Food *** (satisfying comfort food)
Atmosphere *** (very welcoming)
Staff **** (friendly and helpful)