It’s not often we have a reason to get over to the west side of the county but, when we do, and if it’s lunchtime, then lunch is usually at the Boot. To my mind, it’s one of the county’s best rural dining pubs – a place where you will be equally welcomed if you’re having just a pint, a sandwich or a full three course meal. And, for the beer drinkers, there’s three offerings from Weetwood Ales – the brewery within walking distance from the pub in nearby Kelsall. There’s a menu of mainly pub classics – gammon & eggs, steak pie, liver & bacon and the like. And it’s supplemented by a more seasonal “specials” board.
“Soup of the day” was roasted red pepper and tomato, with pureed lentils thickening the soup, the flavour zinging with coriander. Damn good. As were the three thick slices of a white bloomer loaf that came with it.
The bloomer also featured in the other starter where, toasted, it formed the base of the dish. On top, fried mushrooms and bacon lardons. There was a creamy Blacksticks sauce, the cheese making little more than a background note. It was fine but I like my Blacksticks and would have happily had a stronger presence.
Croque monsieur came from the sandwich section of the menu. A well made, if nothing out of the ordinary, croque. Thick slices of bread, tangy cheese, etc. A little salad leaf accompanied it, as did a small handful of chips. Chips were, presumably, frozen rather than hand cut but had a crisp exterior and a fluffy inside which is really all you want from a restaurant chip.
The other main came from the specials board. Two slices of braised, and very tasty, rose veal, topped with a sauce of what I presume was a reduction of the braising liquid. All tasted good but the sauce was heavily reduced and was borderline gloopy. A ramekin of dauphinois potato formed the carb and, also served separately, a dish of plainly prepared mixed vegetable – carrot, red cabbage and mangetout.
There’s no stingy portioning here – we felt the need for a siesta afterwards to let the effects wear off but, unfortunately, there was “stuff to be done”. I wish we had reason to visit more often.