First visit not 'a flying success' but pub deserves second chance

The High Flyer pub in Ely

On arrival at the High Flyer, you could not help but be greeted by the giant mug outside that has caused much discussion in recent months. - Credit: Daniel Mason

It was not long ago that the High Flyer, Ely was recently in the news for its contrasting food hygiene ratings, which made it a guaranteed certainty to visit. 

The pub/restaurant on Newnham Street had plunged to just one star, but soon recovered to be awarded five stars and a chance to showcase what it can offer. 

On arrival, you cannot help but be greeted by a giant mug that has raised eyebrows amongst those in and around the city, but a feature not seen elsewhere. 

Giant mug outside High Flyer pub in Ely

The giant mug that stands tall outside the High Flyer in Ely, which has caused much discussion. - Credit: Daniel Mason

My family and I received a warm welcome on June 26 and soon directed to our table, amid a fairly busy atmosphere just a few steps from where the Sunday carvery was being manufactured. 

The decor was a pleasing blend of old-fashioned chalk mixed with inspirational quotes, including from Mahatma Gandhi as you walk into the venue. 

Decor inside the High Flyer pub in Ely

Inside the High Flyer, there was some Ely-themed decor that graced the walls as you entered the venue. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Mahatma Gandhi quote inside High Flyer Ely

Some of the decor included quotes from the likes of Mahatma Gandhi near the entrance to the High Flyer. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Drink orders were promptly taken, even though the waitress was slightly bemused to learn our drinks had not arrived when we were ready to order a starter. 

This first course made up for the unexpectedly slow service, where me and my dad tucked into a roast tomato soup accompanied by crusty bread and a pot of butter. 

It was a dish I would most definitely try again; the soup was sweet in taste, and acted as an ideal appetizer as the portion size was manageable ahead of a larger main course. 

Starter tomato soup at High Flyer pub in Ely

A starter of roast tomato soup with crusty bread and a pot of butter was an ideal appetizer ahead of the main carvery. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Minutes after our starter, we were onto the carvery where, for an extra £1.95, you could add an extra slice of meat if you fancied. 

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I opted for the standard plate, featuring gammon and turkey with a giant crispy Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, parsnips, stuffing, carrots and beef gravy, costing £11.95. 

Sunday carvery plates at High Flyer in Ely

For an extra £1.95, you could upgrade from a standard to a larger carvery portion. Pictured: what a standard and larger portion look like. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Large carvery plate at the High Flyer in Ely

For an extra £1.95, you could upgrade your carvery portion which includes an additional slice of meat. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Both the gammon and turkey were cooked to near perfection, but it was disheartening to learn the beef was not up to the same standard. 

But overall, the satisfying nature of the roast dinner meant it was near impossible to go hungry, which led to none of us ordering desserts. 

Staff were approachable and apologised for the waiting times between drinks and food orders, which summed up the venue’s friendly nature.

Inside the High Flyer pub in Ely

Most of the decor inside the High Flyer was old-fashioned mixed with a contemporary style, which added to the venue's character. - Credit: Daniel Mason

It was not the ‘flying’ success I expected, but judging by a varied menu including homemade pies and ‘market fresh fish’, this may well not be the last visit. 

RATING: **** out of 5 

Outdoor seating at the High Flyer in Ely

The High Flyer also boasts an outdoor seating area, ideal for warm summer afternoons. - Credit: Daniel Mason