As much as I’d like to be the kind of person who can eat in public alone, sat there serenely with a book, I find the idea of a solo meal in a pub horrifying - so I was glad when my colleague said he would join me for lunch at the Shireoaks Inn in Worksop.
I’ll begin by saying this colleague has a ‘healthy’ appetite and I wouldn’t have thought there was a place in existence with portions hefty enough to raise his eyebrows - I was wrong.
My first impressions of the pub were very good- it was clean, bright and peaceful and there was a lovely, well-mannered gentleman on the bar.
After a quick glance at the menu, which included pub classics such as pies, steak and fish chips, I knew my diet was well and truly ruined- so naturally I panic ordered the scariest, most calorific item available- an ‘ultimate whopper burger’ (£4.95) with curly fries (£2). My colleague went for the scampi with mushy peas and chips (£6.75).
If I had been a little savvier I would have spotted the ‘lighter bites’ menu overleaf which boasted more thigh-friendly snacks such as jacket potatoes (from £4.50), omelettes (from £4.95) and sandwiches (from £3.25) - but I had made my bed and now had to lie in it.
Our meals arrived swiftly and I could not believe the size of the portions - my burger was about as big as me, topped with bacon, onion rings and cheese. I ploughed through around half of it and my colleague managed to finish his mountain of scampi, peas and chips which he said were very tasty.
These were washed down with cokes (around £2) but had we not been the upmost professional working types that day, there was your usual selection of wines, ales and spirits available.
An impressive dessert menu was then handed to us from a cheerful, young waiter - there was no turning back now.
Both hot and cold desserts were available - such as ice-cream, vanilla cheesecake with blueberries, and classic favourites such as sticky toffee pudding.
The sun was shining outside and I was in a summery mood, so I asked for the eton mess with summer berries, and my colleague ordered the chocolate fudge cake with ice-cream.
The fudge cake was a colossal slab of chocolate heaven which defeated my colleague, and I also couldn’t finish my eton mess which came in a sundae glass.
I can’t resist chocolate and I did nick a bit of the fudge cake which was fabulous- lots of chocolate icing, white chocolate stars on top and chunks of actual brownie nestled inside the cake- a girl’s dream. I don’t know if it was homemade or not- who cares? I definitely wished I had ordered that instead.
This is the part where I dish out the icy criticism- but I don’t have much on this occasion.
I will say that I wish my eton mess could have been made with fresh berries rather than the frozen kind which made my teeth hurt. It was also more of a sundae than an eton mess, made with ice-cream instead of cream and meringue - but to be honest, that’s just me being a bit of a snobby diva.
Being just a little out of the town centre and located on a quiet road, the Shireoaks Inn would be a peaceful place to have a drink and a chat during the day, though I can imagine it will be swarming with locals during the evenings.
And if you’re after a veritable feast that won’t break the bank, this Worksop pub is absolutely the place for you.
By Sophie Wills