Surely a good test of any pub-restaurant is how it fares with a large party (13), of mixed ages, from 7 to 85, on a busy Sunday just before New Year.
The building has recently undergone a very expensive renovation. It's understated, homely and comfortable, consisting of a series of nooks and cosy quasi-rooms, so at first it's difficult to see how big it is. They have open fires and lots of wooden panels. The ladies toilets are tasteful and modern, and very clean. Our tables were at the end of the restaurant where we could watch the planes coming in to land. It fascinated all of us watching them go by just a couple of hundred yards away.
We opted for the three-course Seasonal menu. Beef is a good 'tell' for quality of food, as so many places serve it either tough or seemingly steamed so that it's tasteless. The beef served to us was tender, and with the unmistakeable flavour of a real roast. The accompanying vegetables were freshly prepared and properly cooked - when I say that the mashed potato tasted home made, I mean it as a compliment. The food is tasty, good quality and plentiful. If you get chance to try their home-made chocolate mousse, do so. It's worth calling in for that alone.
The staff were friendly and helpful, attentive so we didn't have to wait for anything we wanted, but not hovering over us. They served us quickly and never left us sitting with the finished plates once we'd finished. The timing of courses was comfortable - neither rushed nor left to drag, even though the pub had filled up and there were plenty of other diners.
Richard, the manager, clearly knows his job inside-out, and impressed us. He came by regularly to check we were being looked after, and to chat. He's friendly and good fun to banter with. He and his staff made it look effortless to run such a busy pub, although we know it's anything but.
Most of my family had travelled more than 40 miles to attend the meal and they all said they want to come back.
Thank you, Richard and your staff, for a lovely afternoon.
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