The Swan Inn visit #2, Hanley Swan, Worcestershire, August 2018

I’ve said pretty much everything I need to about this pub with Saturday night’s post. We booked the table tonight whilst we were finishing our dinner on Saturday night, which pretty much sums things up. Before we have a quick gander at tonight’s dinner, a quick note on poncy menu pricing. I’ve mentioned this before, but if something costs £6.50, please display it on the menu as £6.50 not 6 1/2. I don’t want to be told that a pudding is 7 3/4, it is £7.75 – why the need for fractions? What does it achieve apart from annoying people?

Anyway, on to dinner, and another beautifully kept pint, this time Butty Bach from Wye Valley Brewery, a classic malty bitter. And in a proper dimple pot too.

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More amuse bouche crisps soon came our way…

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For main course, something a bit different for me, hot smoked salmon nicoise salad. After the glory of Saturday night’s steak, I had to make a hard decision not to have that again, but it was a good decision as this salad was also glorious. And that’s not something I often say about salads!

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Mrs MOFAD had rack of lamb with polenta (another first) and that was also delicious.

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Another pudding was in order after more exertions on bikes and on foot today, so this dark chocolate and seville orange fondant with walnut and hazelnut granola and grand marnier and orange ice cream was an indulgent delight, melting in the middle.

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A second great meal at this great village pub. If we’re ever in the area again we’ll come here again.

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Bull’s Head, Thringstone, August 2018

Only the second ever appearance of Thringstone in these hallowed electronic pages, and both have come this year. The weather forecast this morning looked promising for the evening, so we decided to venture out for a short walk before retiring to the pub for tea.

Due to rather black clouds gathering overhead after the first part of our walk, we decided to cut it short and dive in to the pub a little earlier than planned.

The Bull’s Head has had a number of incarnations over the years. It’s somewhere we regularly pass on the A512, and it comes as no surprise to see it with new branding once a year. It’s now a Stonehouse pub, which means that it specialises in pizzas and carvery (it had been a carvery in a previous life). It was fairly busy for a random Thursday night in August, probably a reflection of the competitive pricing.

We took advantage of that, with the Thursday night deal of 2 pizzas and a bottle of prosecco for £20. This was quite welcome, given that the beer on offer was awful, and there was nothing interesting in bottles. Despite being on the outskirts of the village, this is very much now a “food pub”, not a classic “village pub” where you would expect to find a friendly landlord proud of their well kept cask ales.

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That said, it’s a reasonable food pub. The pizzas were good, a decent crisp base and a good amount of topping (not skimping and saving on the more expensive crispy duck to keep profit margins up). Free salad too, in a classic Harvester/Pizza Hut “go and help yourself” style.

Good post-walk fodder to keep you satisfied. And I do love to see a crispy duck pizza on the menu, even though I suspect Italians are self-combusting at the thought of such a thing!

Bucks Head, Camden, June 2018

Hot town, summer in the city,
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.

Yes, it’s summer and I’m in London. After a lovely weekend away camping, it was back home and then off to the station to catch a train down to that London. I’m here for a week. Five days of 9-5 solid training course on quite a dry subject. With two exams, the second of which is 2 1/2 hours long.

What this does mean is a run of blog posts, because I have to go out and have dinner each night, and to stop myself going insane there are a couple of comedy gigs lined up too, my reward for revising and doing mock exam papers most nights.

I’m staying in Camden again because I’ve stayed here a few times before, the hotel is reasonably priced (for London, and it meets corporate pricing requirements) and the Northern line is handy for travelling for the daytime activities and evening ones (although I hadn’t spotted that the station is exit only in the early evening whilst they are upgrading escalators).

I picked a familiar pub for dinner, The Bucks Head. Nice and close to the hotel, we were here in November for a drink, and the menu had some interesting items on it. And the football was on. The World Cup has had some cracking games this year, and this was my first chance to watch one down the pub.

Drink first, and another “same as last time” beer, LPA – London Pale Ale by Southwark Brewing Co, a simple session ale with a gentle hoppy hint hidden in there somewhere. And some happy Colombian fans (I think Yerry Mina had just scored).

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The super smoked meats pizza was calling me. Pulled pork? Yes please! Slow cooked hickory smoked brisket? Yes please! “Sauce drizzles” of cheese, teryaki and BBQ? Probably. “Superfood side salad” – probably a good idea to have something a bit healthier. Apparently it was the last pizza in the kitchen tonight.

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The pizza didn’t quite live up to its billing. More meat was required, the teryaki didn’t seem to make it on, and the “cheese sauce drizzle” was just weird. It needed some vegetable matter.

The superfood side salad was hardly that. A few slices of cucumber, avocado, tomato, onion, pepper and a few leaves is not exactly the greatest side in the world. Bit of a rip off and lacking super.

The atmosphere inside wasn’t the greatest, so I decided on plan B, and headed off to Brewdog to watch the second half.

Coach House Cafe, Rufford Abbey Country Park, Nottinghamshire, April 2018

We want plates. Today was the perfect example of why. On to the that in a moment.

We were in the area doing a few bits and pieces and decided to stop here for lunch and then maybe a bit of a wander around the grounds. It’s certainly worth staying a while to get value for money from the car park fee 🙂

So, on to plates. As you can see, the food below is served on a silly slate, not a plate. If you look closely, you might spot three halves of panino. Two of those halves are from the second attempt at making one. The other half is from the first attempt, and its counterpart never made it onto the slate, slipping down on to the floor with great speed. A plate would likely have stopped this, saving the cafe time and money, and the person who dropped it embarassment. The hungry customer (me) did rather well, as I got 50% extra free.

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The moral of this story is very definitely to use plates to serve up your tasty ham and cheese panino (it was very tasty indeed), because then you don’t waste money. The large thimble of coleslaw wasn’t much to write home about, but the rest was very nice.

A good place for a spot of lunch, just a shame that the weather didn’t hold out so that we could explore more of the grounds…

No 11 deli, Castle Donington, February 2018

One of those “random places we found for lunch” posts coming up. We’ve been exploring around Castle Donington this morning, doing the northern part, with the intention of walking around the (outside of) the airport later on. There’s a nice walking trail around most of the perimeter, and you get to see lots of planes taking off.

As we are in our walking gear (a bit muddy but not exactly coated in it), some establishments frown upon this, so a nice little deli that you spotted earlier on is actually a pretty good choice for lunch. Even better when you get inside and spot lots of things on sale from local producers that you know from the farmer’s market or similar. A good sign that you’re going to get a nice lunch.

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It turned out to be just that. A chicken and bacon baguette/panino hybrid with a good chunkly coleslaw and a handful of salad. Add in some “posh crisps” and a “posh juice” and you get a lovely little lunch. As we had more walking to do, we didn’t stock up with provisions today, but will definitely pop in next time we’re passing. Lovely friendly owners too!

The Royal Oak, Keswick, December 2017

We are back at the Royal Oak again, always a reliable pub. Tonight’s festivities began with a festive beer, a Thirst Nöel by Keswick Brewing Company, full of sweet maltiness and good with food.

O hai! Predictable guy! Yes, it’s the half roast chicken and chips again for me, and it’s nice to see it served on a plate this time rather than in the stupid wooden greenhouse tray that they used last time we were here. I think they are trying to go for a classier image instead of that hipster nonsense. The food was still very tasty, although I think the salad was nicer 18 months ago (although there could be some seasonality in that).

A nice pub with a nice atmosphere and always good food.

Siskins Cafe, Whinlatter forest, Cumbria, December 2017

Another in the long line of “quick lunchtime posts”. We are out and about once more, exploring the fells around the Whinlatter forest. If you’re going to pay the Forestry Commission’s eye-watering car park charges (8 quid a day, hence the credit card machine attached to the parking meter) then you really need to spend as much time here as possible to get your money’s worth.

Too cold for a picnic on a day like today, so a spot of lunch was in order. There’s a good size cafe on site (tables outside for the warmer months too) and they are of course fully geared up for dealing with muddy walkers and mountain bikers, so muddy boots are no problem. They are open from 10-5 pretty much every day.

A decent selection of cafe style food on the menu, the usual sandwiches and panini, jacket potatoes, pies, quiches etc.

I had the festive panino special, turkey, brie, bacon and cranberry and it was rather delicious. And what an interesting and varied salad selection. A few thin slices of melon, a little bit of pasta salad, a little bit of rice salad, a little bit of coleslaw, a little bit of mediterranean veg, a little bit of cous cous salad, some carrot, some cress and just to let the side down, sad iceberg. Overall though, a very interesting bit on the side.

Mrs MOFAD had similar with her tuna mayo jacket potato:-

A great place to stop for some lunch, nicely priced and very well presented. Good service too. It’s nice that although they’ve got a captive audience they’ve made a lot of effort to do some decent food.