I don’t know why I order starters in Brunning & Price places. They never seem to be a patch on the main courses. My partner has learned that lesson but, for me, some things are deeply rooted in my north western genes. Like seeing black pudding on a menu and being compelled to order it.
So it was that a plate of black pudding, bacon and tarragon hash cake arrived. It was a sizeable portion but it needed more – more black pudding that is. And more bacon. And much more seasoning. Topped with a little leaf and with a fried egg draped over it, it looked far better than it tasted. And, whilst I’m having a whinge, let me also criticise the egg – it had a crispy base (something I dislike), yet there was a slight snottiness to the white (something I dislike even more). And I’m not at all sure that the tarragon worked. Not good this. Not vile. Just not good.
Far, far better was the main. Chicken and leek pie. Generous portion of chicken, good flavoured béchamel sauce, some bits of leek (more would have been better) and the crispiest pastry I can recall in a long time. This really was a good pie. It came with fried scalloped potatoes and some shredded cabbage and carrot. For my money, as fine a pub lunch dish as I want to come across.
Meanwhile, herself was getting stuck in to braised lamb shoulder. Although each pub fixes its own menu, there must be some central guidance as there is always a braised lamb dish of some sort on each one (and burger and ham/egg/chips). Today’s offering came with dauphinoise potatoes, carrot and mangetout. As always, it was very generous portion – with a very good flavour from the long cooking. Another winner.