The Roebuck is a past holder of the Cheshire Dining Pub of the Year award. And certainly, there’s a really good dining pub struggling to get out, in the competition between pubby food outlets on the outskirts of Manchester Airport. The small village of Mobberley has three decent contenders and a couple of others doing pretty gruesome looking pub grub.
What brings folk in is the exceptionally well priced lunchtime two courses for a tenner. That might bring you Bury black pudding cake topped with poached egg, followed by local lamb’s liver and onion gravy. Another draw is the well kept beer, which included Tatton Best bitter, from literally just down the road in Knutsford.
However, we decided to order off the main menu. For starters, a classic prawn cocktail was a generous mix of king and ordinary prawns. The sauce a tad underseasoned and a tad parsimonious. For the other, a breast from a locally shot wood pigeon sat between a “sandwich” of puff pastry with a little watercress and spinach sauce. It was good idea that needs some work – cook the sauce more to intensify it, cook the pigeon less so that’s not so tough.
Rib of beef was described as 24 hour roasted (eh?) and served medium rare. Perhaps their definition of medium rare is different to mine, but this was somewhat past medium. Damn good flavour, though. Excellent goose fat roasted spuds, carrots, broccoli and cabbage contributed to my five-a-day. There was very good gravy and two deliciously crisp rashers of pancetta.
On the other plate, an individual homemade shortcrust pie – steak, mushrooms, Tatton beer. I wanted this as soon as I looked at it but there was no chance of a swap. It came with the same veg as my beef, chips and small jug of beer based gravy. Good dish.
So, a pretty reasonable lunch which, with drinks, had cost £45. Not perfect, but perhaps they were having an off day. The Roebuck might describe itself as a dining pub but this is pretty much a restaurant in anyone’s book. Sure, you’ll be welcomed just to stand at the bar and swig a pint or two. But folk are mainly here eating – you’re shown to your table, as in any restaurant; orders are taken at the table and the bill is later presented. Don’t let that put you off.