We had a bit of a false start on our trip to The Moorings at Myton as we watched our broken car being towed away from the office. The day can only get better we told ourselves in a forced glass half full fashion.
Onwards and upwards we plumped for the trusty old Golf and headed to what’s been voted Pub of the Year. As well as its impressive accolade, The Moorings is sister to one of our favourite haunts, The Forest at Feckenham and former Pub of the Year, The Stag at Offchurch, so we were expecting a great lunch sure to distract from the dodgy motor. Just off a roundabout and near a retail park the approach to the pub isn’t pretty, but once parked it’s another story. There’s a gorgeous canal side terrace from which the retail park and busy road are completely out of sight and mind. As the name suggests there’s a distinctly nautical vibe, but not in a twee way. It’s classic and grown up – all dark wood, sculptures and cool prints. It’s pretty big and for a weekday lunch-time trade was good. On a sunny day I imagine the terrace pulls in the crowds, but the weather was pretty bleak for our visit and no one braved the drizzle. Ensconced cosily indoors, we nibbled some welcome olives and warm bread while we weighed up the options. The menu was one of those perfectly formed tomes – not too big, not too small and full of dishes we’d have been happy to chomp our way through.
The specials were appealing too, from which JC chose a starter of sardines served with a salad that featured slices of vibrant pink pickled radish. Neither of us had tried it before, but would happily again. It was delicious. Apparently the chef had been experimenting with pickling and this was definitely a keeper. Served with a punchy dressing including capers and lemon the whole thing was summery, fresh and felt quite virtuous. By contrast, while my starter was just as tasty it was definitely not virtuous! The twice-baked Stinking Bishop soufflé with cider cream and pea shoot salad was rich and decadent with matchsticks of pear that added a nice sweetness. It looked pretty as a picture too. The mains were tough to choose from. I took manager Richard’s advice and went for a pan fried stone bass with black truffle gnocchi, clams, pancetta, peas and cider sauce. What’s not to love here? Bass, clams, salty bacon and sweet peas – lovely. The cider sauce was delicious and the truffle gnocchi which admittedly I’d been a bit unenthusiastic about was really nice. I could have done with less of it, but it was great. I’ve recently embraced Instagram, so I’m one of those annoying folk that snap their food in restaurants. This dish made the grade and was uploaded quick smart to much admiration. JC tucked into Jimmy Butler’s free range pork belly with celeriac remoulade, spiced plums and Madeira jus. The pork belly was soft and melting, the sauce was tasty and there was a thin, crisp slice of crackling on the side which raised a big grin. JC was a bit non-plus with the plums, but having said that the dish was devoured with much enthusiasm accompanied by a large fruity glass of La Troubadour.
The actual dessert menu sounded scrumptious, but we opted for the ‘Coffee with a Little Sweet’ list. I ordered the mini double chocolate brownie and JC a sliver of Brillat-Savarin cheesecake both served with top notch coffee. Both were perfect morsels of loveliness that polished off the meal nicely. To win Pub of the Year is no easy feat. It’s a national title with mystery diners and various hoops to jump through. The whole package needs to be right and crucially consistent. We found it ticked all of the boxes that would make us come back time and again. Who cares about the car…