Finding good quality pub food at a chain restaurant can often be much harder than you might think.
Let me place this on the record for a start, I’m no fan of chain restaurants.
Too often pubs up and down the land churn out the same menus - with garlic musthrooms, chicken goujons and onion rings never failing to appear on the list of less than appealing starters - at the same prices and with the same style decor.
Yes it can be cheap, yes it can be cheerful and family friendly . . and yes, I admit, it can often do the job.
But where do you go if you’re looking for something a bit different in the pub food market?
While out on a family drive to Lowdham, I happened to come across the Wheatsheaf Inn in nearby Burton Joyce.
Hunger had got the better of me on this occasion and I was more than ready to run the soup and garlic bread gauntlet to stop my growing belly from rumbling.
And the Inn, owned by the Chef and Brewer chain, left me impressed, with its warm and cosy atmosphere striking home instantly.
The promising start was also followed up by an encouraging glance at the menu. I was delighted to see a wide range of tantalising dishes on offer - dishes that promised something enchanting, something to transport for the mind and tastebuds to far off lands and something very different.
Up for grabs on the starter menu were scallops and pulled pork, Atlantic prawn cocktail, Korean-Style pulled chicken, bubble and squeak and Caribbean-style pork mini ribs.
I opted for the bubble and squeak and I certainly wasn’t disappointed, with the poached egg and lightly smoked hollandaise sauce bringing back very pleasant memories of the time I was fortunate enough to dine on eggs royale in Virgin’s Upper Class lounge at Gatwick Airport. There really is so much more to dining these days.
The main dishes also broke free from the norm of pies, lasagna and gammon - with sea bass and seared scallops, chilli duck noodles, Moroccan-style lamb, seafood medley, pork belley and Irish rib of beef and pulled pork guaranteed to whet the appetite and send the indecisive diner into a panic at what to choose.
I’m a sucker for pork belly and it didn’t take long before I was getting stuck into a dish with a twist.
I’ve had a lot of pork in my time, but it’s fair to say I’ve never dabbled with one that comes with a sweet baked apple with a toffee glaze.
It was different, it was intriguing, it was nice - with the pork cooked to perfection and the braised red cabbage leaving a wonderful taste in the mouth.
I love returning home with a full belly, a sense of having had some good-old fashioned value for money and of having teased my tastebuds with something new and fresh.
The Wheatsheaf Inn really does offer menus as impressive as the food it serves. And with so many dishes on offer, I know I will have to return for another bite.
For further information on the Wheatsheaf Inn, too book a table, or to browse the menus on offer, CLICK HERE