New British Pub The Goose & Fern Opens in Santa Rosa

Hearty pints of ale, lager and stout are plentiful. But it’s the food that has us hooked at the new gastropub in the former Toad in the Hole space.

Who knew Scotch eggs would be the crowd favorite at Railroad Square’s new Goose & Fern pub in Santa Rosa? Apparently, no one, because Clyde Hartwell, co-owner of the newly opened British pub, can barely keep up with the popularity of the bar staple — an egg nested in a ball of sausage with a fried breadcrumb coating. It’s a belly-filler and just one of the gastropub dishes on the menu at the former Toad in the Hole bar.

Hartwell, who speaks with a brogue as thick as his salt-and-pepper beard, runs the come-as-you-are establishment with his wife, Brittany, a trained pastry chef. Hearty pints of ale, lager and stout (including Guinness, natch) are plentiful, but you’ll also find hard cider, wine and sodas.

But it’s the food that has us hooked. Fish and chips are the obvious go-to, and this version doesn’t disappoint. Crisp and perfectly fried in a beer-batter coating, it’s a whopper of a serving — half a rock cod — and includes a mess of hand-cut chips (i.e., fries) and zesty tartar sauce ($22). Sausage rolls ($10) are savory puff pastry logs filled with ground pork and perfect when dipped in spicy mustard. The show’s stars, however, are the savory pies ($18), and the headliner is the Guinness-braised beef served in a piping-hot ramekin and topped with mashed potatoes. Any leftovers are a breakfast treat.

Don’t miss dessert, which changes frequently but usually includes something like Eton mess (strawberries, meringue and whipped cream) or bread-and-butter pudding with custard. Open Wed. from  5 to 10 p.m., Thu 1130 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri/Sat from 11:30 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Closed Mon/TueDinner served until 9 p.m. 116 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, 707-843-4235.

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