Inside The Hole in the Wall, it's a small, traditional country pub, with lots of beams, exposed wood and open fires. A bit on the dark side, maybe, but I suppose that adds to the atmosphere. I understand they have a separate restaurant room, which may be different.
A carafe of good tapwater is automatically brought to the table: no upselling of bottled water here. I also had a nice pint of local IPA, which seemed well kept.
It's an interesting menu: nothing extraordinary, but all very appealing. As well as the à la carte, from which I chose, they had a 2-2-2 set lunch menu, from which they were doing a roaring trade in rather good looking chicken pot pies.
Good, home-made bread came first: a tomato foccaccia that was more like a flat bread, but still good, excellent treacle soda bread and a really good sourdough.
|Bread - served on the end of a case of 1975 Brane Cantenac!|
|tempura gurnard fillet (pea soup)|
|telmara farm duck breast (potato terrine, red cabbage, pickled cucumber and spiced tobacco caramel)|
|Cambridge burnt cream with doughnuts and coffee sorbet|
The first cup of espresso was bad. I asked the manager to taste it to see if that's how it should be as, after all, it could just have been a blend of beans I really disliked. After a few moments, he brought another, much better espresso, and knocked both off the bill, thanking me for drawing it to his attention, as he now knew the waitress needed more training.
With coffee, came a small antique tin of petits fours: an indifferent and over-cold white chocolate/coconut truffle, a superb pate de fruits and what looked like a caramel that I didn't get round to.
Service was a bit mixed. Senior staff were excellent; junior (eastern European?) seemed to find it hard to engage with customers