Tucked away in the heart of Robin Hood county, the Forest Lodge at Edwinstowe is a prime example of making a success of the traditional pub.
With a selection of cask ales on draught and beer mats and bottles of previously stocked labels proudly displayed behind the bar and along the structural beams, you are hit with the sense these guys like a tipple at the end of the day.
They also know how to please their customers, as it proved when trying to find a table to sit on a weekday evening while the football was on.
It didn’t have a big screen TV or a projector for locals to dip in front of, and you got the feeling that was just okay with them. It was a chance to escape the rigours of everyday life.
A variety of hearty dishes jumped out as I browsed the menu, from sliced peppered salami served with soft poached egg and micro leaf salad to pan seared scallops, watercress mayonnaise, dressed fennel and light summer salad – and that’s just for starters.
I opted for the soup of the day and, after checking with the kitchen, I was pleased to hear the waiter announce it would be mushroom and not the leek and potato previously touted.
It got better too, as the kind gentleman taking the order also agreed to my request for mash potato on the side of the beef and ale pie topped with golden short crust pastry, instead of the hand cut chips stated on the menu.
My dining partner chose to have the bruschetta of tomato, garlic and basil topped with mozzarella for starters and ‘open lasagne’ with homemade ratatouille, basil cream topped with cheese finished under the grill for main. It came with garlic bread and fresh dressed salad, with my partner preferring Greek to be precise.
The two course combo stretched to little over £29. It was a treat, to say the least, but one which deserves to be praised.
The mushroom soup was thick and flavoursome and there was plenty to go around, warranting its £4.25 price tag. The beef and ale pie, accompanied by mash and its own little gravy boat, followed in similar suit.
Cutting through the pastry was a delight. It didn’t crumble and it could be enjoyed without drowning it in gravy. The beef was thick, juicy and tender.
Just as fresh was my dining partner’s bruschetta and I could tell the lasagne matched the high standards already been set. She complimented the homemade ratatouille, which was tangy and warming on a surprisingly cool summer’s evening.
A traditional pub doing what it was meant to do – serving simple but extremely tasty homemade meals and providing a friendly environment to wash away the working day.
By Matt Brooks
Star rating *****