Bah! Humbug! Reindeer on menu at pub

BAH! HUMBUG! If Ebenezer Scrooge were alive today and living in Essex, there is only one pub he would choose to dine in this Christmas.

Elliot Furniss

BAH! HUMBUG! If Ebenezer Scrooge were alive today and living in Essex, there is only one pub he would choose to dine in this Christmas.

Not only does The Victory pub in Walton have a special club formed where all modern-day Scrooges can get together, but it is dishing up reindeer meat to guests as part of its festive menu.

Around 90 grumpy regulars at the pub in Suffolk Street have banded together to form an anti-Christmas organisation called the Humbug Club and its members are now salivating at the thought of tucking in to Santa's four-legged friends.

But the group is good-natured at heart and each “humbug” hands over £5 to go to a children's charity chosen by the chairman.

Landlord Russell Bettany, 44, said this was the third year of the Humbug Club, which in the past had donated money to the Make a Wish foundation and the Sunny Days Children's Fund.

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He said: “Among the over 50s there is such an anti-Christmas feeling and I just thought starting the Humbug Club was a good idea.

“But we do it for charity and it's very light-hearted.”

However he did admit that there was a 24 hour “amnesty” from all things humbug as of last orders on Christmas Eve so the club members can enjoy the big day if they wish.

And Mr Bettany said the idea to put reindeer on the pub's Christmas menu had gone down very well with humbugs and other customers, with 200 people reserving places at the pub between December 1 and 20.

He said: “First and foremost, for our Christmas menu, we wanted to get away from the traditional and do something with a slight angle or hook to it.

“So I thought 'I know, let's eat Santa's little helpers'. The Humbug Club members are coming to make sure they can eat the reindeer, which they feel will go someway to spoiling everybody else's Christmas.”

He said the reindeer was provided by a supplier from the north of England and that the meat had a very similar taste to venison.

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