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Village Food & Drink

Village Food Review: Food fit for a queen

Posted on February 29 2016 at 2:58:14 0 comments


After much deliberation on where to hold the belated Village magazine Christmas outing, we decided on The Queens Head at Stoke Pound as the menu looked delicious and we knew the beer was good.

The place was busy for a Tuesday afternoon in January, but we were given as long as we wanted to enjoy pre-dinner drinks (always-excellent Wye Valley HPA and Peroni) by the open fire in the bar area.

When we finally made it to our table in the restaurant, two plates of crusty bread and oils awaited us – soon joined by glasses of Australian Chardonnay (£7 for 250ml).

Louise and I had already decided on our starters: wild herb and gin-cured salmon, sweet potato hotcakes, sour cream, pickles and beetroot jam (£6.45).

Lou had hers “as it comes” while the kitchen were able to assemble a dairy-free option for me, with flatbreads instead of hotcakes, and no cream.

We both thought the salmon was succulent and herby and went really well with the sweet beetroot jam and sour pickles, and the bunch of fresh watercress was a bonus.

Richard went for the freshly-made soup (£4.45), which on that day was cream of mushroom and proved very tasty, especially with the bread.

Other inviting starters included Superfood Panzanella salad, crab on Puglia sourdough toast, and sharing plates such as box-baked Camembert, BBQ ribs, or nachos with cheese.

The main courses included a great selection of pizzas cooked in a traditional pizza oven – and they really were made from scratch, which meant I could have mine (pictured below) without its base of fior di latte cheese.

I chose a topping of Turkish lamb with Merguez spices, pomegranate molasses, dried chilli flakes, onion and roasted aubergine (£12).

The large pizza was incredibly tasty with crispy dough and lots of flavours going on – although it was quite vinegary overall and could maybe do with a few more pieces of lamb.

Other unusual pizza toppings included pulled BBQ pork, spit-roasted chicken, roasted pumpkin, and wild herb & gin-cured salmon.

From the Rotisserie Stove section, the others both picked British coastal fish and chips with mushy peas, chunky tartare and lemon (£12.95), although Richard chose to have garden peas instead.

The jumbo fish was pure white, flaky and fresh-tasting, while the crisp batter and chips and the excellent tartare sauce were also obviously freshly made.

The list of mains also featured grilled sea bass with fennel marmalade, roasted artichoke mac & cheese, and caramelised blade of beef.

We noticed later that all mains come with a visit to the salad bar – we didn’t spot this on the menu and sadly it was not pointed out by the otherwise very attentive staff.

For pud, Richard chose the apple and cinnamon crumble with hazelnuts and vanilla anglaise (£5.95) – a novel approach to an old favourite, and a large portion.

Lou’s pick (shown below) was the raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake with ”delicious” vanilla shortbread (£5.95) – cheesecakes can be sickly but this had a good balance of creamy chocolate and tart raspberry flavours, and was just the right size too.

My dairy-free option was sorbet (not on the menu, but just ask) and the mango and raspberry flavours were fruity, tangy and refreshing.

We finished our lovely meal with Irish coffee (£4.95), regular coffee (£2.35) and lemongrass, ginger & citrus tea (£2), then a final round of drinks at the bar while the staff did their best to get us a taxi – giving Richard a chance to fall asleep by the fire! 

Review by Sally Oldaker

The Queens Head: 01527 557007

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