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The Joshua Bradley, Gee Cross

Aubergines on the menu. Free hairspray in the toilets. Dave Bishop is pleasantly surprised at the latest addition to the Hydes chain

Published on September 18th 2008.

The Joshua Bradley, Gee Cross

When the going gets tough, the tough open a bloody great big pub. Merchant bankers may be disappearing up their own portfolios while estate agents are relocating to the dole queue, but brewers, it seems, are made of sterner stuff.

Well Manchester brewers Hydes, at any rate. Even though they’ve seen their profits plunge – what with the smoking ban and the increase in the price of ingredients – in the last 12 months, they have just unveiled a super-duper new flagship establishment, called The Joshua Bradley, in Gee Cross.

That’s between Hyde (ironically) and Woodley, by the way – where Stockport merges into Tameside; where Hyde Road morphs into Stockport Road; where plain yields to Pennine.

Which may sound pedantic, but the upshot is that it’s on a main traffic route between two large urban areas, so opening a large pub in that spot makes sense. Or so the theory goes.

About £3m has gone into converting the imposing nineteenth century building from what was a private hall, then a hospital, then an ICI conference centre, then a hotel and then offices and flats before – no doubt suffering from exhaustion – falling into dereliction.

Notice a chequered history here? Does the outlook look good or gloomy? Build it and they will come? Not if it’s bobbins, like so many big, brutal boozers.

But while The Joshua Bradley may be big, it sure isn’t brutal. Put it this way – it’s about as brutal as My Little Pony crossed with the Care Bears in a marshmallow-filled presentation box wrapped up with a pink silk ribbon.

We visited the pub, which used to be called Bamford Hall but was renamed after a former mayor of Hyde, on a Tuesday night, barely a week after its opening. And if first impressions count, then it’s going to do very well indeed.

For a start the conversion job looks amazing, just from the outside. The sweeping drive is flanked by oceans of gravel (for that reassuring crunch as you park up), Yorkstone, setts and saplings. Tasteful Victorian-style lampposts light the way, while ground lights provide the ambience.

At the back appears to be what looks like parkland – a more stunning setting would be hard to imagine.

Setting, schmetting, you might say, if the innards don’t pass muster. But they are every bit as impressive as the outside.

Two things smacked our gobs – the huge Crystal Palace of an orangery at the back, where diners can gaze at that parkland, and the chandelier suspended beneath the stunning skylight at the top of the stairs.

But the rest is tip-top too, even down to the loos. My wife (who should have been a toilet inspector, such is her passion for passing comments on them) said that the ladies were “unbelievable”, with tins of hairspray provided free, while witty cartoons aiming digs at men hang on the walls.

No hairspray in the gents, sadly, but still posh nonetheless.

Other nice touches in the pub are variations on floor-covering from oak to carpet to stone, vases in alcoves, racks of wine, newspaper racks, a fireplace here and there, huge original windows framed in drapes and a snug with a very discreet TV showing Sky Sport.

One room has lots of black and white photos depicting old Hyde scenes, including one where someone appears to be re-enacting the Zebra-crossing scene from The Beatles’ Abbey Road cover.

All get the thumbs up from me, apart from one print showing bloody cutlery. Who ever thought such stuff constituted art? Minor gripe, however.

Of course no major refurb could hope to succeed without that modern-day magic bullet for ailing drinking trends – the all-day menu.

The Joshua Bradley, while it does sell the full Hydes range of beers (and jolly good it is, too) is unashamedly predicated on food, running the gamut from fish and chips to specials made with aubergines. Yes, aubergines in a Hydes pub – what’s the world coming to?

As it was Tuesday, we had the Tuesday night special offer of two mains for £12, me with the pork stir fry with lots of veg and noodles, the missus with chicken on skewers with rice and veg and a side of fat chunky chips (now that’s Old Hyde). Both dishes, served up by a nice waitress dressed all in black with a tie, were excellent.

The wine list is good – and reasonable – with Montana Sauvignon Blanc coming in at under £14 and house wine at a tenner.

We had Hydes’ own seasonal brew Bells and Whistles, though, which wasn’t that different from the regular bitter. (Wouldn’t it be nice if the big brewers occasionally went a little wild with their flavours?)

All in all it was a very pleasant midweek night out, although probably not a venue where the lads and ladettes would feel at home – this is far more couples and families orientated.

Perhaps that’s why power ballads, jazz lite and Sinatra rule the sound system – a background hum designed to be inoffensive to all.

Special events are planned throughout the year, such as a Halloween evening and disco (wall-to-wall Abba, I bet, rather than The Damned).

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43 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

where's the grapes in Gee X?

Formerly of Gee XSeptember 18th 2008.

Visited this establishment today with 2 other adults and 4 kids under 9. First there was no warm welcome from the Manager who opened the door at the start of business. When the food eventually arrived (40 mins later - which is an age considering we were first to order) it was generally very poor. The so called "serloin steak" clearly wasn't a serloin; neither was it cooked medium rare as requested. As for the stilton sauce it clearly came out of a packet. As for the ploughmans (advertised as coming with 2 cheeses)..well it certainly did come with two lumps of cheddar. It would have been nice to have seen it with some stilton or another type of cheese but I guess that was all used for the stilton sauce! Our plates weren't cleared away after the first course and were only taken when the deserts arrived. When we complained it felt like we weren't the first. The manager removed the steak "as a promotion"...what! There's no doubting the JB is a beautiful spot but the food and service we encountered were truly awful.

Susan RatcliffeSeptember 18th 2008.

We live round the corner and ventured in on Saturday afternoon, drinks are wine bar prices large glass of wine over £4. Lovely decor really stylish. Very busy. I think every one is being nosey. Not tried the food yet but it looked very pub food ish ( yes I know it is a pub) but it is nice to have more choice in the Gee Cross area. The Hare & Hounds in Werneth has gone a bit naff on the food. I am also looking forward to the grapes opening. More choice in the area the better. But it is a nice venue and it is nice to have some where for the children to play. Weather permitting of course X

JTSeptember 18th 2008.

I have been into the Joshua Bradley many times and always found the food and drink to be excellent in every way. The staff and management have clearly been trained well and are extremely friendly. As "Jenny of Gee Cross" says in her review "Lets just hope the scallys keep away". It does seem however that one slipped through the net eh "Brian from the Cross!!" Chicken nuggets and beans are probably just about this guys level of taste! note to Brian, why not cruise the "mean streets" somewhere else, If some CHAV parked their Corsa blocking me in I'd be annoyed too, and finally your from Tameside not Compton you complete Nob!!!

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

Poor food, poor service, generally unimpressive.

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

I visited on Monday evening and to be honest very disappointed. The soup was watery, the duck was over done and poor quality. Their was lipstick stains on wine glasses and the pudding was over cooked so hard. For the money we spent i've had better at the stables, or even just an average pub. Shame really as lovely decorations, just the food and service is below the standard of their prices.

Rachael BryantSeptember 18th 2008.

Regarding the comments I made prior I would just like to say, by popping in for a drink on Saturday night I was approached by the manager, who was very helpful in explaining why the presentation of the food was not to the standard I expecting. This is due to it being a franchise and in keeping with the other pubs. However, he took on board my comments and said he is aiming to upgrade the specials menu. So, I look forward to eating there again in the future.

TwiggySeptember 18th 2008.


AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

We wanted to take clients to lunch but were told to expect over an hours wait to be served at lunch on a week day! - not sure if it can be that good!

Rachael of Gee CrossSeptember 18th 2008.

The Joshua Bradley has become my favourite local! It's the perfect place to pop in for a swift one on the way home, or to spend a few hours reading the papers undisturbed in a quiet corner, or for taking friends and family out to dine! There's always a good atmospher when you walk through the door! I believe the quality of the food has got better and better and the menu more extensive! All the staff seem really friendly and very efficient. Ricardo, the manager, is very friendly and appears to make every effort to get to know his regulars. The place has also maintained it's high quality finish.Enough gushing! See for yourself!

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

Yes, the Stables is great, Tim, the young owner/chef has a great menu, and really deserves to succeed, go on, give it a try

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

Visited here for lunch this week after having the odd glass of wine here. The pub and grounds are magnificent but the food does not live up to that. We had ordered 2 brown baguettes When they came they were white. We sent them back. They reappeared with the excuse that they had run out of brown. Question! Why did they not say this before they prepared them on white and give us the option of changing to ciabatta etc? My guess is they did not want to waste what they had already prepared and lied about not having the brown baguettes. If this is not the case then running out of brown baguettes at the start of lunchtime service is bad planning. Also they had been microwaved!!!!!

Kate of Gee CrossSeptember 18th 2008.

The place is fantastic inside and out but expect pub food not restaurant food. Lets hope The Grapes will be better Chello!

Ann, Gee CrossSeptember 18th 2008.

Booked a meal for 4 at 7pm Sunday. Food was very good and the service excellent in fact Victoria, waitress, was so pleasant and efficient. The other comments say 'pub grub', well it is a pub but the food and menu,(the only thing missing was a fruit starter), are far superior to a lot of other pubs and the place is lovely. This is certainly a welcome addition to Gee Cross.

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

visited the restaurant over the weekend and was quite disappointed with the food it lacked flavour and the menu was very bog standard pub grub expected far more .The saving grace was the beautiful building and surroundings the refurbishment is to a very high quality a shame the service and food couldn't be the same

Jenny of Gee CrossSeptember 18th 2008.

How did you find the service? My friend and I were also there on Tuesday night and waited the service was painfully slow.. I suppose they are just finding there feet at the moment though.That said, I do love this place. Its just what Gee Cross needs, I just hope the scallys keep away!

steveSeptember 18th 2008.

I go here quite often. I've no idea why though. It's £3.10 for a lager, unless you buy Harp, which is £2.50 a pint, but it's Harp...It's a nice place, yeah, but lord the people that go in there. A lot of the drinkers think they're some sort of upper class stockbroker. They aren't.The bar staff are OK, but they don't know much about anything to be quite honest, and when I asked for a White Russian the other night they didn't even know what to put in it.Can't comment on the food or food service as I've never bothered. Word on the grapevine is the food isn't all that anyway.I'd definitely recommend going for an afternoon drink here though, especially to sit out the back on a nice sunny day.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 16th 2013.

Who orders a bloody cocktail in a pub in bloody Hyde?

Rachael BryantSeptember 18th 2008.

I live in Gee Cross and am very excited to have a new trendy pub just a stroll down the road. Decor is wonderful and beer garden is fab, but I was sooo disappointed with the food! Posh pub grub it is NOT, it's like something Karen would dish up in the Jockey in Shameless!! Real shame, because I would have eaten there a lot. Back up the hill we go. The Hare And Hounds seem to have upped their game, had a lovely meal there last week. And, come on The Grapes, your turn to impress us now!

AnnaSeptember 18th 2008.

Sounds good, always liked Gee Gross. Been meaning to try the Stables restaurant there too - can anyone let me know if it is any good? Would like to combine the two (and poss The Grapes as well).

NicolaSeptember 18th 2008.

Generally its ok, but not fantastic which is what would have been expected.The Hyde and ale pie though is lovely, it's clearly just obvious that its not really home cooked pub food, but branded like wetherspoons!I hate that you can't eat in the snug room!

JillSeptember 18th 2008.

My mum and I went to The Joshua Bradley for the first time last Tuesday to check it out and was very impressed with everything! from the friendly service, the decor and the food. I decided to book a meal for the Saturday night with my partner and friends and had a fantastic night. The food was delicous and the portions large and very good value for money. Our waitress was wonderful and really good at her job. Thank you Richardo and Jill the managers I think The Joshua Bradley will do really well. Regards Jill

Pedro, Gee CrossSeptember 18th 2008.

Was happy to have a quality Pub created so close and visited on their first night of opening. There were obviously some teething problems with the service but the food tasted good and all our party was satisfied with the overall performance considering it was there first night. Unfortunately during repeated visits it has become very apparent that the staff are not learning to improve on the mistakes they are making. As a group we all have now agreed that the service and quality of the food is not acceptable. If you are making a visit we would recommend if you are considering eating you give yourself plenty of time and also stick to the more traditional Pub food. The more expensive meals are a disappointment. The last visit we made was early Jan 09 and was not busy. There were a number of items on the menu not available. The service was very poor, as we had to leave the table on a number of occasions and interrupt the crowd of staff chatting out side of the dining area to attend to our table. We also complained about the quality of the food which we felt just fell on deft ears as no attempt or offer to address our concerns was made. Once we chased down the bill we had no desire to leave a tip and left to complete our evening elsewhere. We hope that this blog will get back to correct people at The Joshua Bradley so that they may take a responsible attitude to the decline in its service. Best of luck.

clitora knuckleassSeptember 18th 2008.


AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

Place was very nice but the food and service was terrible and they didn't seem at all surprised that I complained ...as if it happened regularly. If you like your homecooked food straight out of the freezer or packet then its the place for you. Personally I have eaten better fresh food in a number of backstreet pubs. One good point at least we got a discount without too much bother.

LisaSeptember 18th 2008.

my first visit 14/03/09. First impressions, stylish and clean. Service....mmmmm....... I was with a group of friends for drinks and food. As i tucked into my caramel apple betty i pulled from my mouth what looked to be a whole FINGER NAIL tip. My friends all agreed it could be nothing else. The duty manager looked at it and claimed that it couldnt be as "all food is prepared wearing gloves and looks more like plastic" LIKE THAT MAKES IT ANY BETTER. He continued" Its too soft to be a nail" and carried on defending it.I got a quick apology and nothing more. I was left feeling sick that id been chewing on someones FINGER NAIL. I can say i wont be eating there again.

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

How you could publish the remarks of 'Clitora' and 'Twiggy' is beyond me!They could only get their opinions across by using foul language - is this the hallmark of a good review ? I am looking forward to visiting the pub but am glad those two 'ladies??' hated it - at least I won't be bumping into the likkes of THEM in the loo ! JA

Brian from the Cross!!September 18th 2008.

After cruising the mean streets of the Cross the other night i noticed there was a new boozer. Me an some mates decided we would go for a swift one and i was gutted to find i couldnt park my corsa anywhere! I had to block someone in (who got mad when he confronted me about it). After the initial scuffle we sat back down and ordered some scran. Id like to say it was as nice Frankie & Bennys or Nandos but it wasnt up to much. If anyone goes id say the best thing to order was nuggets chips and beans mmmmmmmmmmmmmm! :)Nice place but it was a bit more down market for me BRAP BRAP!!! Peace outBx

Disappointed of Joel LaneSeptember 18th 2008.

What a lovely pub. What a shame the food is so poor and the management so offhand. A twelve year-old could cook a better meal than I was served there, and the front of house woman hasn't a clue about how to treat paying customers.

james and gillSeptember 18th 2008.

We went to the Joshua Bradley last night 23/10/08 and found the place ok the service was good the food came out after 15 mins on hot plates so they are paying attention to detail but new restaurants/pubs will always have the odd problem when they first open so ignore the bad remarks and go and give it a go.

SpellcheckerSeptember 18th 2008.

might it have been a Sirloin?

Drew PeacockSeptember 18th 2008.

This wll be a lovely place to go for a drink in the summer, the grounds at the back are excellent. The pub itself is nice, not tried the food myself yet...I'd rather they got settled first.Good addition to the area though. Excellent location too. Rumours are there's an hotel being built on the old college grounds next door???The Grapes will be next to open after a refurb...Gee X is on the up!

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

Went there for the bonfire night display. £14 per adult. Very expensive considering you were only given one portion of chilli or hotpot served on a paper plate outside! Had to pay for tea. Children's rides £1.50 a go! The fireworks display was lovely, but was an hour later at 8pm when it was advertised as being at 7pm. So, had a few very tired and grumpy toddlers. Decor looked nice though. I know this was a special event, but quite a rip-off in my opinion. Don't know if I will try a proper meal there!

brent from woodleySeptember 18th 2008.

we visited the joshua bradley with a few friends the other night, the pub was absolutely packed, i had been warned that the service may be slow but all i can say is the food was very good and it all came out on time, our waitress for the evening was called melanie and she was a very bubbly friendly character and made out night better! we will definitely go again!

gordoSeptember 18th 2008.

Staggered, how did cun7s get through the software andy?

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2008.

I ate there a couple of months ago and unfortunately it was not worth the money. I had duck breast which came with what resembled 'Smash' mashed potatoe. Not good; I could've stayed in and cooked it myself and saved the £15 for that course alone...

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2010.

booking a table in this place is one of the biggest mistakes i have made. arrived in 20 minutes before my alotted reservation. made to wait 30 minutes after my resevation time only to find the table i asked for still not available then they told me the table i booked would not be avalable. they then tried to give me a table near the bar. (if i wanted a bar snack i would have booked for one) . i complied to the so called manager (ronaldo) who said he would look in to the matter because he was the person that took my booking in the first place. to which he said he would phone me back (did not hold my breath) after he talked to the assistant manager. (good job i did not hold my breath)so not only do you not get the table but you get a poor service to try and sort out the problem - you also get told a pack a of lie's from the so called manager. dont go the this place if you are expecting good service or a meal try some where else.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2010.

my apologies to Ricardo the manager you are not a liar has stated in the comments above.
also i would like to thank you for getting back to me (even thought i had to remind you).but when a complaint has been made to be written down on a piece of scrap paper and but back into a pocket does not instill confidence in the procedures.

NortherngeezerJanuary 23rd 2010.

Mel, as with all rants on here, its about shyte service, and despite the food being good here, the place WILL suffer cos its not just about the food, its about the ambience, the people, and the service, in thios case, the POOR service and i for one will not visit here.

Claire RutherfordApril 23rd 2010.

No atmosphere, the food took over 45 minutes (wasn&#226&#8364&#8482t even worth the wait!) and placed in the same room as a very loud group of middle ages hecklers. JB if you read this - please consider groups of more than 15 to be put in a separate room. Not a great experience and wont be recommending anyone to go!

AnonymousNovember 28th 2011.

Went for a meal with my hubby and 2 year old daughter! Ordered fish fingers and chips off kids menu. HIGE FISH BONES in the fish fingers!!!!!!!!!!! I was disgusted it didn't state on the menu it could contain bones informed manager we were not happy and got a " can't be arsed" attitude!!! Gorgeous setting but CRAP service and food !!!

AnonymousMay 29th 2013.

Had a steak and onion pannini, steak as tough as old boots. Salad looked and tasted as if it was 2 days old. Such a shame nice pub and location.

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