The pub, formerly part of the Ember Inns brand, had moved to the more upmarket Village Pub and Kitchen arm of Mitchells & Butlers... which surely was a good sign for our own village of Boxmoor?
Before Christmas, the Fishery Inn kindly treated me and a couple of friends to a free meal, so I could write up a review for Boho Boxmoor. Restaurant and pub reviews are thin on the ground on this site, due to the fact that I'd mainly spend my free evenings tapping at the computer instead of making good use of a babysitter's services.
But who can turn down a free meal, a few minutes walk from home? For those of you who don't already know it, the Fishery Inn has a wonderful canal-side location and is a short walk away from Hemel Hempstead station.
The pub's refurbishment has undoubtedly improved the interior, making it a pleasingly stylish place to pop out for a pint locally. The menu is also more stylish... trendy even... but I'd be lying if I didn't say the results are a bit hit and miss.
Some people have raved about the Fishery Inn's food to me, others have said they were disappointed. With mains costing £19 at the upper end (fillet steak with chicken paté) customers are going to expect their money's worth.
I'm no restaurant critic, but I'd hazard that their menu is just too big to deliver every time. My duck and potatoes (£15) was enjoyable, but not as exquisite as I'd expect from somewhere like Restaurant65 in the Old Town, for about the same price.
But I'm more likely to frequent the Fishery Inn for a drink and bar snacks than a sit-down meal. I'd give their bar menu, with things like calamari and white bait, an unreserved thumbs up.
The pub deserves another thumbs up for engaging with the local community. Their launch, with 600 people treated to free food and drink, is testimony to that. They run regular events and promotions ('Pie and a Pint' in early March is the latest) and have shown they understand the power of networking: they have a Facebook page and have taken the initiative in getting in touch with local blogs like mine.
They also have a wine club (which entitles you to a free bottle of bubbly on your birthday when you join), an email newsletter for regulars, and they're members of the Cask Manque Trust. And unlike the Fishery of old, the new Fishery welcomes children, with a separate kids' menu.
Hats off to them and here's hoping they have continued success in Boxmoor.
The Fishery Inn, 2 Fishery Road, Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1NA. Tel: 01442 230197 Landlord: Phil Hemingway. Website: www.thefisheryinnhemelhempstead.co.uk