I came across this pub a few weeks back whilst searching on line for new pubs. Me and Dad were immediately drawn to it because of its wonderful name. After a quick trip to their website, we were satisfied that it was worth a visit, and today was the day to venture out to another pub as yet unknown to us.
It's a beautiful old building from the outside, but it's not until you get inside that you can feel the history. It's one of those stepping back in time pubs, what I call a Hobbit pub. It's easy to imagine Frodo and his friends spending a night here, though Gandalf may have had a bit of hat trouble with the low ceilings.
We found ourselves a table and sat down with the menus. An interesting addition to the standard menu, is the beer bites menu. This is based on a tapas type idea to accompany a tasting board of beers made on site at the pubs very own micro brewery. The pricing of the main menu did at first glance seem a little erratic, with meals ranging between £10.95 and £19, but on reflection we had a certain respect for their menu. Not only did the dishes all sound excellent in their own right, the price had clearly been worked out for each individual meal, rather than the blanket pricing which is adopted by many pubs. Yes, some meals might cost £16, but you can also order a meal which is just over £10, that all seems fair enough. I picked out the lentil and bean burger with goats cheese and red onion, while Dad went for the slightly more luxuriant belly pork which had been braised in cider for four hours. This was served with creamy mash, creamed cabbage, bacon and crackling.
As we sat back and relaxed, it became clear that two of the pub fundamentals were not being met. Firstly, there was no music. This is not by any means a major crime, but can certainly contribute to a better atmosphere. In this case it wasn't such a big deal as the pub had steadily filled with punters. The second however is a major pub crime. It was cold. I had taken my coat off upon sitting down, but had sought sanctuary in its warmth after five minutes. The website does mention roaring log fires, but there was certainly no roaring going on today. And when it's 3 dgs outside, you'd expect some serious roaring to be going on.
When the food arrived, we were happy. It was clearly the work of a very good chef. My burger was delicious, tipped over the edge by the creamy goats cheese. The chips were also excellent, though they were large in stature, they were cooked perfectly with a fluffy inside. Dad was blessed with a great big chunk of super crispy crackling, and he said the mash was the best he'd ever had, high praise indeed.
In summary, the food here is without question five star. The pub itself is beautiful and the staff were friendly and do their jobs well. There is a nice outside area which would be paradise in the Summer. We can forgive the lack of music, this being one of those special pubs which generates its own atmosphere, but I'm afraid we can't forgive the cold. A pub should be warm and welcoming, making you want to remain forever rather than venturing back out in to the cold. If the fires truly were roaring or f it was a beautiful Summers day, this would probably be one of our favourite pubs. Maybe we'll try again in the Summer.
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