We were graciously invited to tour the new The Marshall Free House (1211 Battleground Ave, Greensboro) and get a tasting of some of their signature items this week. This was our first dinner at The MFH, though we had visited at brunch a few months back. This UK style gastropub has transformed the old …eh–it’s been so many things it’s hard to remember…next to the Carousel Theatre into something truly unique, with an amazing Olde Worlde decor and a seriously cool whiskey bar/laboratory. That’s right, laboratory. We didn’t go for “dranks” but many do and we’ll talk about that in a bit (stay tuned for info about a giveway), but first–the FOOD!
One of The Marshall Free House’s signature items came first, the Scotch Eggs, a boiled egg wrapped in a sausage and then breaded and fried. Have you ever tried them? LOVE Scotch Eggs and these were so scrumptious with a perfectly crispy exterior and the egg was very soft as in, what I like to call “dippy.” So, so yummy. The way they are served they are perfect for sharing. I could make a meal out of them, but they are so decadent, they are mostly suited for sharing. Oh, and the girl kidlet LOVED. I’m already liking this place!
It’s not a British pub experience without some Bangers & Mash. The perfectly cooked sausage with its rich gravy on top of the “mash” (potatoes)—indeedy. Delightful. Total man food!
We also were surprised by a wonderful Shrimp & Grits. Not something you typically think of at a British style pub, but Chef Derek Fontenot is from Louisiana so he’s having some fun with his roots. And let me tell you, mr. foodie says they were the BEST Shrimp & Grits he’s ever eaten. I’d definitely agree they are way up there. There packed with andouille sausage in a very rich, slighly tomato-y, spicy sauce. Old Mill of Guilford grits were perfectly cooked and just soaking up that sauce and getting happy. By now, so were we!
Of course, it’s not a true UK experience without Fish & Chips. One of my favorite things in the whole wide world. And these, these fish and chips…I gotta say, though on the bit of the pricey side for such an entree, are every single bit worth it. Plus it’s huge and you could totally share. Instead of cod, chef is using 10 oz. of Haddock and it’s denser and flaky, a bit more like flounder, and they batter it in Everclear and Stella Artois beer. The exterior is completely adhered to the fish and if you love fish and chips you know that this matters. Whatever is happening with that Everclear and beer is righteously suited for that fish. And..AND! The kidlets ate the fish. I mean, I nearly fell off my chair. Even THEY couldn’t believe they were eating fish. This beautiful entree is served with handcut fries and mashed peas. I’d go back and get just that again and again.
For a taste of something a bit different, we were also introduced to the MFH Chicken Sandwich, but not just any chicken sandwich. This grilled chicken was packed between two buttery crispy pieces of toast and melded together with gouda, prosciutto, roquette, pistachio pesto mayo and its crowning glory–tomato confit–tomatoes cooked all day into this wonderfully rich “jam,” for lack of a better word. Served with chips, of course. A beautiful sandwich and scrumptious.
And you know Shepherd’s Pie at a pub like The Marshall Free House is also a given. This pie is the way it’s supposed to be made. Braised lamb shank, shredded and mixed with veggies like peas then topped with mashed potatoes that have been enhanced with the braised lamb drippings. The fragrance of that dish. Heavenly on a cold day and a very large serving as well. You don’t go home hungry here.
And not to be outdone, Chef Fontenot also brought out what they say is one of the highlights of their menu and we’d have to agree. Pork Cheeks cooked in aromatics like anise and herbs and sitting in a rich gravy on more mashed potatoes. These are hardy people in the UK and they like their taters. Served with asparagus and just warm and tender. If you’ve never had pork cheeks, then you owe it to yourself to try this beautiful aspect of the piggy. My children liked the pork cheeks as well. I’d say we have a winner.
At this point (or 2 entrees ago) you pretty much could’ve rolled me out of there but they didn’t stop there and here comes a beautiful Banana Pudding with a homemade pastry crust, a delicate pudding and fresh whipped cream all made in-house by their pastry chef (as all their desserts are). Loved it and so did the kiddos even though it was not our “southern” banana pudding. And next, Sticky Toffee Pudding. My first ever. I’ve always wanted to try it and not many people make it. It’s rich and just swimming in a caramel sauce and so amazing. The chef also brought out some Chocolate Cake for the kidlets. So nice. Of course, they gorged themselves on that and afterward I believe we were ALL in a near food coma.
Now, I know my blog is not about the bad and the ugly and I have pretty much maintained my goal to only post yumminess here. And I was a guest in their “House,” but seriously nothing that came out of the kitchen wasn’t short of amazing and most of the entrees that came out were dishes that I already really love and some I’ve made at home so we know what we like. And when possible, Chef Fontenot is using local ingredients and you know that makes the foodies happy.
Let’s talk a bit about the decor and the bar. In one area of MFH, you’ll see the pub area…there’s no seating at the high bar, much like a traditional UK pub–the better to mix and mingle. Across from there is the speakeasy style Whiskey Bar stocked with all kinds of liquor, but get this— 160 different whiskeys! And you can’t miss the beautiful laboratory where the magic happens. In this Molecular Mixology Lab, you can see drinks even if you are standing outside. We didn’t really get a chance to partake there (who had room?) but it’s definitely something to consider for a future night out.
Speaking of, Bar Director Lentz Ison, who was voted BEST Bartender at the Bartender’s Ball, will be holding a cocktail class and pairing dinner on Wednesday, December 3 and I have 2 tickets to give away to this four-course dinner which will feature an amazing menu, cocktails and instructions on how to make house-made bitters, incredible cocktails and all the elements going into each and every drink of the evening. The class is $75 per person so what an awesome opportunity! Just comment below and let me know what your favorite UK-style food or drink is. Good luck!
For more information about The Marshall Free House, click here. Details about the Cocktail Dinner & Class are on the site as well as all their other events and info. Also, check out their sister properties, Pig Pounder Brewery, Burger Warfare and Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill (the one and only, last-remaining and locally-owned of its kind).
And here are some pics of our brunch from a few weeks ago. Also LOTS of winning items on the menu and not to be missed, the Nutella & Bananas Foster Pancakes. Get the table an order and chow down for a sweet complement o their other savory items like Yorkies, Sausage and Eggs. Everyone at least once in the lives should try a “Real English Breakfast,” and if they ever have Welsh Rarebit. Get it, get it!
Know going in that The Marshall Free House has kind of “elevated” the idea of typical pub fare or even “gastropub fare.” It’s considered slightly more upscale and the prices will reflect that. But the attention to detail and the service make it worth it. The items are very sharable and it’s fun to try appetizers and split entrees and that’s just one of the ways we try to make eating local and eating well more budget-friendly. We will definitely be going back. I mean, the microfoodies loved it so, I have to…lest they starve. 🙂
triadfoodies were invited guests of The Marshall Free House for a tour and tasting and the dinner was provided gratis. We were not paid for this review. This blog post is based on our own, honest opinions.
Great article! I agree that it’s well worth the price for quality ingredients. MFH is my new fav restaurant. I love their fish & chips but my favorite UK food is shepherd’s pie & I can’t wait to try theirs next. My fav drink is a nice whiskey served “perfect” by their liquid nitrogen tank. Gets it cold without diluting the taste. Please enter me in the contest. That’d my a great night out for my wife and me. Thanks!
Thanks, Drew for entering. You’ll enjoy their shepherds pie. So rich and filling with lamby goodness!
Thank you so much for reviewing the Marshall Free House! I live close by and have been meaning to check out the restaurant – with your review and photos I’m even MORE excited to experience it for the first time! My favorite UK dish is Scotch Eggs – they look so yummy at the MFH. Please enter me in the contest!
Oh wow! This made me so hungry! Even though the fish and chips is my favorite UK food, I need to try the Shrimp and Grits stat! 🙂
Nothing comforts the belly quite like a good shepherd’s pie! Would love to win those tix to try out the MFH!
This place looks wonderful! My hubby and I will have to arrange a date night to check it out.
By the way, my favorite UK style food is shepherds pie. Forgot to add that detail 🙂
I love a Snakebite with Black Currant liquour! Or Strongbow Cider…YUM!
Right now at least, my favorite UK-style food and drink would have to be Yorkies with bangers (which I first tried at MFH) and Extra Special Bitter (ESB) beer (which Pig Pounder, Gibb’s and Hoots all have).
My favorite UK food is the classic fish and chips. These look delicious and I cannot wait to visit MFH to try their food. Everything looks amazing (especially the desserts!)
This would be a wonderful date night for me and my husband for Christmas.
I thought that looked like a Kotis property! Haven’t been to this one but if the servers wear kilts, you can bet I will get over there asap! I love a good plate of fish and chips.. for such a simple dish, it is easily destroyed in the wrong hands. And Shepherds Pie?? Hello!! Would you believe my kids don’t like them, though?? How can you go wrong with anything that has mashed potatoes served on top?
My boyfriend and I ate there one day for a late lunch I had their chicken sandwich! It was awesome, with the smoked Gouda and the pistachio aioli. Plus the chips they serve are serves with malt vinegar…..so good! I really want to go back and try the pork cheeks! Please enter me in the contest. I would love to go back, the atmosphere and the servers were awesome.
Congrats, Kate!! You’ve won the drawing you entered for 2 tickets to the cocktail class and dinner at The Marshall Free House!!! An impartial microfoodie drew your name out of the pot! Reply or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure you get the details.
I love the MFH!!! My favorite Greensboro restaurant for sure!!!! I would love to be entered in your contest!
My favorite UK dinner is Bangers and Mash with a Pint of Snout Stout… But my favorite item from MFH is the Roasted Chicken.
I have never had the opportunity to go to a gastro pub or eaten UK style food before. My wife and I have just had or 4th kids and this is were I plan on taking her for or first date out after some much needed recovery time for her!! The food looks amazing as well as the decor.
Fish and chips!! They banana pudding looks awesome!
My favorite UK food would have to be Bangers and Mash, but I have to say that those Shrimp and Grits look and sound like I need to try them. We had brunch at Marshall Free House a few weeks ago and the popovers were fabulous! Plan to take the family that will be in town next week. Please enter me into the contest
Great review! I would agree with everything that was said. My wife and I went there for our wedding anniversary last month, and they have created an incredible place there. I had the Bangers and Mash while she had the Fish and Chips. We then actually split a Shepherds Pie. Dessert was the Banana pudding. I was completely satiated, with no room for more. Everyone on staff was remarkable and the food was worth every penny!! After tasting all three dishes, the Bangers and Mash are my favorite. Of course, there are so many more things we have to try. We will be back as I really want to try the Nutella pancakes!! 😃
Scotch eggs?! Never heard of them, but I’m so glad you told me about them! I would love a chance to surprise my husband with a dinner at MFH!
I love the sheppards pie! Me and my husband love eating there and would love the opportunity to go for the class.
My 1st experience with MFH was when they 1st opened and I had the Shepherd’s Pie. Only way to have Shepherd’s Pie is with lamb! Could order this dish every time but there are so many other wonderful dishes to try. And love just a simple fine scotch to drink. Please consider me for the dinner/class. Lentz is a great guy!
Nice, thorough review with pics that are making my stomach G-R-O-W-L! Thank you for sharing your experience. Can’t wait to try the Scotch Eggs, with awesome “dippy” oozing out. The pork cheeks look amazing, also, and if there’s bourbon to be enjoyed, sign me up! Thank you for offering up your tickets and I’d love it if you’d throw my name in the hat. All the best!
And, I forgot about Pasties! Perhaps my favorite guilty pleasure!
Been wanting to try MFH- maybe if I show this extensive and well-informed review to my taller half, we’ll go sometime soon. I adore fish and chips when done right, as seems to be the case here; TH loves shepherd’s pie. He likes a good bourbon or sometimes a single-malt , neat; I go for Jameson’s with a pint of something crisp and not too hoppy. Put us in that contest! 😉
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