Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Old Thatched Inn - Adstock

When you're about to give up everything you've ever known, move away to a different country, culture, and way of life what is it that you want to remind you of home? What is the defining memory that you want to take with you as you embrace such a different existence? For many of us, it's the roast dinner. The French may ridicule us for it, but you can't argue with the smell of meat, gravy and roast potatoes which brings with it a sense of heritage that makes friends out of community and family out of friends.

No pressure then. 

The Old Thatched Inn at Adstock is well known amongst our foodie friends and had been recommended to us several times over the past few years but we haven't had the opportunity to visit before now, so when Mrs P's brother asked us to share in his last night in the UK before shipping out to pastures new, we could knew we had to find something special.

The evening started well with an absolutely fabulous setting, the pub has been beautifully out-fitted and really looks the part. It's even got a whole wall dedicated to the awards they've won over the past few years.

Impressive, and then they offered me a pint of liquid sunshine, how could I refuse? It was actually called Liquid Sunshine.

Starters were an interesting mix, I had a black pudding salad which came with a poached egg on top, it was lovely and slick with a oily dressing, a deep, crumbly black pudding and crunchy croutons. It was a large portion with a heavy emphasis on the savoury pudding rather than the salad but despite the egg being slightly over, it was a decent start and perfectly pleasant.

Mrs P had courgette fritters which looked super pretty but lacked that certain je ni sais quoi. Perhaps it was the use of breadcrumbs rather than batter, or perhaps it was the small amount of actual courgette that did it but either way, it was OK but not amazeballs.  

In a weird reversal of courses, The Child suspiciously opted for a fruit salad to start. Her plan soon became apparent however as when she finished it all, she immediately announced that she could order extra pudding now that she had eaten so much fruit. I broke the bad news to her gently, but gave her 5/5 for effort.

Mains had to be roast (it was the reason we had come afterall), I had the lamb (as did the brother-in-law), but Mrs P, always one to embrace the unexpected, had pan fried salmon.

Nothing to really complain about here either, Mrs P's salmon and cous cous combo was moist and tasty, it looked good too so she was happy. The roast was perfectly satisfactory if a little short on spectacular, the local lamb sourced from Clays of Buckingham was beautifully soft as expected, the red cabbage twangy and sharp with the yorkshire simply enormous in it's ambitions. There were a few softer points though; the gravy was a touch thin and lacking depth which when coupled with the not particularly crispy potatoes (bad variety choice there I suspect) resulted in a bit of a soggy under seasoned mush by the end of the plate.

Puds were much on the same theme, and as my pana cotta was delivered first I managed to get a snap:

but the lemon posset, the sticky toffee pudding and the banana split remain undocumented as we were mid chat. All were perfectly OK but missing out on that top spot despite the additional touches that had been added. For example, the biscotti and fresh fruit were fine but hardly made in-house and the panna cotta was rich, milky and smooth but had no soft wobble at all. The others were similarly good but not great and left me thinking that the kitchen simply bought in 90% of it all which is a shame.

But still, as roast dinners go, we've had worse and while it wasn't totally stella, it was certainly head and shoulders above the 'two for a tenner' standard that we are all expected to swallow these days. It also provided the required British memory that my brother-in law would be missing for the foreseeable future and I thank TOTI for that deeply. Bon Voyage Toby.

The conclusion then is a solid performance from TOTI but lacking in final finesse, we would certainly go back and it be a great choice for a lazy Saturday afternoon drink and nibble, plus they didn't bat an eyelid when The Child turned up dressed as Ariel, so props to them for that.

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