IT’S no secret that times are tough for the Great British pub.
But around here that’s hardly any fault of their own – the pubs and restaurants in and around Gainsborough are some true gems of Lincolnshire.
So as you can imagine, it saddens me every week to stumble into yet another empty dining room – especially when it’s such a fine establishment.
This week, I found myself in a criminally quiet corner of The Friendship Inn in Laughterton. A small but lovely Lincolnshire village just down the round from Torksey Lock and Fenton, Laughterton is a very tight-knit community, and The Friendship Inn reflects that. Nestling next to the village shop and Post Office, The Friendship Inn has a heart-warming rustic charm that makes it everything you could want from a traditional pub. The staff were friendly, attentive and treated me and the few others in the dining area as regulars.
As the sun beat down on the beer garden and nearby play park and children with parents strolled in to be warmly greeted by those behind the bar, it became immediately obvious that this was the perfect pub for families.
They’ve got a pretty impressive menu too. Glancing through the starters I was torn between soup of the day and creamy garlic mushrooms, but opted for deep fried white bait served with tartar sauce and salad. Arriving promptly, my starter really hit the spot. The white bait was light and crispy and with a small squeeze of lemon it ticked all of the boxes that an appetiser should.
When it came to considering my main course I really was spoilt for choice.
The menu had a great range of dishes from the grill and the sea, but beyond that the specials board had some great options at great value, with everything from simple options like ham, egg, chips and peas for just £5.50 to something a bit more special like deep pan fried duck breast in port and orange with potatoes and vegetables from £11.50. They also offer 12 inch pizzas with two toppings to eat in or take away for £10. Dazzled by choice but ravished by hunger I went for the chef’s special of deep fried crispy beef with barbeque sauce, chips and rice.
The beef was crispy and tasty in a Chinese style with a great texture, the rice was cooked perfectly and the barbeque sauce was beautifully tangy with a great spicy kick without being overwhelming. I can also only say great things about their chunky homemade chips. If you love chips, you’ll love these.
With pubs as good as The Friendship Inn you really have no excuse not to get out and eat well. Once again, another great pub does the county proud.
By Andrew Trendell