When you open the door for a table booked for 6.30 and the buzz welcomes you, you know you've come to the right place. We were shown to our table for four, the last empty space in the front room, passing a group of nine at a circular table clearly enjoying themselves. Presented with the regular and special menus, we were spoilt for choice. The only odd moment in the whole meal occurred when ordering starter drinks when (with the background noise of the happy group of nine possibly to blame) there was a momentary confusion between a medium glass of sherry and a large glass of medium sherry. Meanwhile, the men were ordering the pub's own brewery's Hop Vine bitter.
The choices were made: one, a seafood crepe from the starter menu as a main; one, the fish pie, with fresh, not smoked, salmon; one, tempura prawns; and for myself, the fish from the daily menu, sea bass. (As it happens, we all chose seafood, but their meat is all from an Ormskirk butcher, with traceability, not from the catering chains anonymous product.) With this went an excellent Pino Grigio and more Hop Vine bitter.)
After a while the waitress came to apologise for the delay in our food: we hadn’t noticed, and took it for granted that with the place heaving from first orders, the kitchen would be busy. When it came, it was piping hot (no hanging around at the pass) superbly presented, and excellently cooked. We were all very happy with our choice. After, one of us was tempted by the crème brulee, and I, as non-driving birthday boy, had a liqueur coffee without sugar – which on arrival the cream floated beautifully.
Rounding it for a gratuity, it was £20 per head: superb value for excellent food and a real feeling of occasion.
Highly recommended – but be sure to book!
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