The Plough has been doing food for as long as I can recall and with mixed success. Bog standard pub grub in some past guises. A bloody good carvery when such things were all the rage in pubs in the 80s. Back to pub grub in more recent times – the sort where your lunch is dolloped up to you at the bar from vast serving dishes of watery looking cottage pie and chicken curry that had been sitting there for hours.
So, it was with some trepidation that I suggested lunch here. Not least because the Plough is now owned by the Deckers Group – the owners of the “mixed grill and chips” place at the Water Sports Centre at Sale. So, in we went, fingers crossed. And, you know, it was a pretty decent lunch. It’s another of those pubs round this bit of North Cheshire that still call themselves a pub but, with all the tables set for dining, are really just casual restaurants.
And, as with most of them, there’s a short table d’hote on offer – three courses at £14.95 – along with the more interesting looking main menu. For our first meal of the year, it had to be “more interesting”.
My partner started with a chorizo and pancetta risotto. She knows a thing or two about risotto and turns her hand to making a damn fine one. So, it was praise indeed to hear how good this one was. The rice was spot on with just a hint of bite and not overly claggy. The pancetta a tad underwhelming but the very zippy chorizo more than made up for it. More zing in the little hints of red chilli in the rice.
She had got the better of the starters. My tomato and cheese tart was not a thrill. Pastry was undercooked. The bottom of the tart was covered with a bland and boring Cheddar which was overwhelmed by the pleasantly sharp topping of sunblush tomatoes. Still, it was small portion so my boredom didn’t have to last for long.
Herself also got the better of the mains. Steak pie is classic pub grub. It can be dismal - and usually is. But not here. This was a substantial shortcrust pie – crisp pastry, rich filling. Alongside, good chips, peas and little jug of gravy.
I’d been attracted by the local Dunham Massey suckling pig. It proved to be a restrained serving of a couple of small slices of albeit tasty meat - although nothing of the full-on flavour (and generosity) that you might see in Spain. There were crushed new potatoes and a portion of wilted kale that I could just feel was doing me good. A nice enough dish that would have been even better if the advertised black pudding and crackling had been there. Good gravy and a nice tart apple sauce also on the plate
There was Cheshire Farms raspberry ripple ice cream to finish. Usually, we’re not that thrilled with this genuine “made on the farm” product but this flavour was pretty good.