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New bar & restaurant brings more real ale to Lichfield

Pictures by Nick Brickett

Pictures by Nick Brickett

Having sat empty for many months the old Couch Potato opposite the Garrick on Wade Street has re-opened as a bar and restaurant called Malt.

An opening night was held and The Lichfield Blog were invited along to see what’s changed.

Anyone who went to Couch will see that inside the decor has changed very little. There have been no changes to the structural layout and the furniture is very similar to the old bar. A good lick of paint has helped the place to feel much lighter though and gives it a more relaxed air.

What has changed is the offering. The menu proudly boasts it’s provision of Real Ale and Malt doesn’t disappoint. A selection of 16 ales lines the bar featuring those from local breweries, Shenstone Brew Co. and The Beowulf Brewing Company. The Bar is part of the two year old Aston Brewing Company (ABC) and so naturally offers ales from ABC as well.

A large selection of wines and champagne are also on offer so there’ll be no trouble finding something to go with a meal. Talking of food, Malt also offers a reasonable menu. You’ll find the typical English restaurant food like Sausage and Mash, Steak and Ale Pie and 12oz Sirloin Steak.

There’s a children’s menu, a large breakfast selection and appealing starters like Calamari and Spicy Fishcakes. Malt say that all their food is home made and wherever possible local produce is used. Food is served every day till 9pm.

Malt is open every day of the week from 10am till 10pm except on Friday and Saturday when it stays open till 11pm.

Photos by Nick Brickett

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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27 Comments

  1. Natalie Kempton-Smith

    24th August, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Visited Malt at the weekend. Absolutely awful. Couch Potato was renowned for very poor service and average food and this seems to be a continuing theme. Staff didn’t acknowledge us when we arrived other than instructing us to find our own seat and we needed to pay by cash as their card facility wasn’t working. Unbelievable as there were only a couple of other people in there. We had to ask to place our order. We were informed they were out of Steak when we ordered drinks they advised they were out of Coors amongst other things (its only been open a week)! When the food arrived it was without any veg or side salads detailed on the menu (3 of the 4 meals ordered weren’t as described) when we asked for veg a bowl of microwaved veg was provided 5 mins later. The pies were cleary microwaved contents with a pasty top. I’d ordered a baked potato and was disappointed when I was presented with a microwaved potato with a smidge of topping. Overall the experience was very poor. We were sat in the restaurant next two three young girls who had ordered sandwiches and were visibly un happy with what had been presented to them. Will definitely not be going back again!

  2. J

    26th August, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I also paid a visit to The Malt recently, however my experience was rather different to the one above. When arriving we were greeted at the bar by friendly and attentive staff who informed us where the dining area was and to take our own seats and they would be over to take our order, which they were along with the drinks that we ordered at the bar. We were also informed before we sat down that their card machine was unavailable. We were very impressed with the excellent selection of ales they had on tap, along with bottled beers, wines and non alcoholic drinks.
    The food which we had was excellent. One of the dishes in which we had was ale battered fish and chips which was very impressive. The fish was freshly battered in a light batter and was cooked perfectly. Accompanying this was home made chips which were equally impressive. Very well seasoned and again cooked perfect, the best fish and chips I have ever had. Our other meals which included two pies were equally impressive.
    We will be visiting The Malt again in the near future as our experience was so impressive.

  3. Neil

    26th August, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I have been to Malt 4 times since it opened; I’ve tried numerous real ales and the Ploughman’s platter. I have found the bar staff to be exremely pleasant and efficient and Paul, one of the business partners, has taken time out from his busy duties to introduce himself and discuss his business venture: The business is a joint venture between Paul and Sunny, who own and run the Aston Brewing Company. The brewery has been operating for 2 1/2 years and in order to expand the company and offer their portfolio of real ales they have opened a bar: After considering various towns in the Midlands region Lichfield is the lucky benefactor. Malt sells a number of their own ales, together with other ales from local microbreweries such as the Ironbridge brewery, Wye Valley brewery and the Backyard brewery in Brownhills. I found the beers to be varied and interesting and different to the real ales that some other local pubs offer. The food I ate was very nice and well presented; when I go for a drink I pay cash so I can’t comment on whether the card machine is working. My only criticism is that the seating is limited; I feel they could do with more chairs and tables. Overall, Malt is something a bit different to the excellent numerous real ale pubs that Lichfield already offers.

  4. Hmm

    29th August, 2010 at 11:25 am

    The grammar on this post is appalling.

  5. NW

    29th August, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    A bit like the food and service at Malt!

  6. Dave

    1st September, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Id rather have a buger king its fresher than malt and tastier. The staff wew pleasent but didnt really know what they was doing. Beer was good and a wide varierty i would go again for a drink but never again for food as it was apalling. It is more like a wine bar than a resturant as the food is not resturant quality.

  7. Foxy

    1st September, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Hats off to anyone taking a gamble in the recession – empty shops and restaurants are no good for Lichfield. I think any new outlet is going to have teething troubles – best of luck to them.

  8. Nedge

    3rd September, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Have to agree with Foxy on this one.. it’s not like Malt are charging Ego & Ask prices (who, coincidently, offer an utterly awful service between the two of them. Food may be ok, but service is shocking).

    We need more independent places like this in Lichfield – English House is a good example of how it should be done. I’d say fair cop to the owners of Malt who are clearly trying to add to Lichfield’s wonderful real ale market. Personally I wouldn’t know the first thing about opening up an establishment of this kind. All I know is there are much, much worse places to go for a drink and some food in Lichfield – Acorn is the first that rings alarm bells.. I could go on.

  9. Rob Dunn

    5th September, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    We visited Malt for the first time last night. As we were meeting for a friends birthday, we had planned a few drinks then a bottle of Champagne. I ordered a large glass of white wine, which sadly came at room temperature. When I queried this, I was advised that this was the correct temperature (according to the owner). I asked if the champagne came at the same temperature and was told it did. Needless to say we did not order any further drinks and continued our evening elsewhere. It is not great drinking your wine with cubes of ice in it. It is a shame as Malt’s location should see it become a success, however with the lighting switched to very high and warm white wine, I would have to be persuaded to return.

  10. Barney

    6th September, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    A few comments are plants I think – the joy of internet reviews!

  11. Kate

    6th September, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Went for a meal at the malt tonight and was very impressed. A light friendly atmosphere. All staff were welcoming. 2 of the 3 of us had the ale battered fish with home made chips and mushy peas. None of this meal could go to waste as it was out of this world and was defiantly cooked fresh. The other meal was the veg bean burger.  A well presented large burger. The side salad was crisp and fresh with a nice dressing. The side dish of onion rings were cooked perfectly as they wasn’t greasy. Overall I would give the malt a 10/10 and will defiantly be recommending and dining there again.

  12. C.W

    6th September, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I’m sure the bad comments here are not true. But very embarrassing for the haters, to show the whole of lichfield how jealouse they really are….lol. Great food, staff, and atmosphere.

  13. Neil

    7th September, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Barney, I verify that I am NOT a plant; I visited Malt 4 times the week it opened. I haven’t been there since I wrote my comment as I haven’t had the spare time but I may call in there after Tamworth Beer festival on Friday.

  14. Jess C.

    7th September, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I have not yet visited Malt but I recently met the head chef and he was very pleasant, I have heard many good reviews and I believe that they are true. The bad reviews posted here are from jealous haters. If Roy Davis happens to read this, add me on facebook, you know who I am because I met you on Sunday 5th Sept. :)

  15. NW

    7th September, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I would just like to respond to the accusations above in terms of being jealous etc etc. 
    I visited Lichfield to catch up with friends over a weekend. I live in Edinburgh so whether or not Malt is a success is somewhat irrelevant to me. I post regularly on tripsdvisor as I find that a really useful and reliable tool when visiting any location around the world. I travel a reasonable amount and have lived in numerous major cities throughout the UK. I believe that when you receive bad service or are served poor quality food it is sensible to alert others so they make informed choices. Equally I believe it’s important to let others know when I eat somewhere that offered good service and food.
    The only people that will benefit or suffer from feedback are the owners and staff. They can ignore the honest feedback they get or choose to do something about it. 
    It really doesn’t matter to any of the people posting above as they will simply go elsewhere when/if it fails. 
    I wish the owners every success and hope they impress all future customers.
    Good luck!

  16. Roy davies

    7th September, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Hey jess, hows things, Haven’t had time to add u to my face book and, if i did i don’t have your full name, lol.

  17. Roy davies

    7th September, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Add me…:)

  18. steph

    8th September, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Why would anyone be jealous about a panini with no filling?!

  19. Allison Pitt

    9th September, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I have been in the Malt on several occasions for food and for a few drinks with my friends on a night time. My experiences at the malt restaurant are pleasant and a enjoyable atmosphere. The food is fine as far as i am concerned, and the service is good. I love going in there as it is so friendly. Overall i think the Malt is a great place and from the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, ‘I SHALL BE BACK’ lol

  20. Jess C.

    10th September, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I actually can’t find you roy haha, it’s Jess Cohen, on facebook my middle name is Jeffica haha, or just type in my email which is [removed] :)

    Admin says; don’t post your e-mail address in public!

  21. Jess C.

    16th September, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    oh and roy, add me on facebook, tried to find you, completely failed! I’m under Jess Jeffica Cohen :)

  22. Roy davies

    17th September, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Hey jess, in birmingham sunday, coffee on me, same place say 11:30. :)

  23. Ross

    17th September, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Jess/Roy – any chance you could develop this conversation elsewhere as it’s not really relevant to the post. Thanks.

  24. Nick Brickett

    18th September, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Lichfield Blog Dating… I think we’re onto something here Ross!

  25. Nedge

    24th September, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I want to know if anything ever became of Jess & Roy…!?!?

  26. Jess C.

    27th September, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    no, we’re just friends that’s it mate.
    oh and Roy, didn’t see you in town, you up Sunday?

  27. Phil

    27th September, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    This isn’t a forum. Comments closed.