topcombo

Village Food & Drink

The pub in the field

Posted on August 17 2009 at 12:53:15 0 comments

Sally Oldaker visits the Dodford Inn – no longer under threat from property developers – and finds the food is just as good as the beer…

In an era when country pubs are closing at an alarming rate, it’s heartening to know that in one local village, a combination of people power and passion for real ale has been enough to rescue the local hostelry from a similar fate.

The Dodford Inn was due to be replaced with houses after the then owner sold it to a developer – until a campaign by a group of regulars and the local branch of CAMRA forced a court ruling that the pub was an “asset” to the village and must be saved.

Enter Richard Scott, erstwhile landlord of the Red Lion in Bromsgrove, who was effectively “headhunted” by Dodford drinkers impressed by his track record of turning an underperforming pub into an award-winning venue.

It’s his intention to do the same for the Dodford, and judging by the food and drink on offer on our visit – and the successful mini beer festival the previous weekend – things are definitely headed in the right direction.

The pub re-opened its doors in April, and the traditional atmosphere and selection of real ales will appeal to anyone who likes a pub to be a “proper” pub. While there’s a decent selection of food available, the Dodford has not – and will not – become a “dining pub”. That said, the menu of hearty pub classics, freshly cooked on the premises by Richard’s wife Mini, is certainly one of the Dodford’s major selling points.

The other, of course, is the beer, and I opted for a refreshing pint of Oracle from the Salopian Brewery, which was so good that I stuck with it for the duration. Georgina chose from the well-stocked wine list, while driver Lisa was stuck with a J2O (and a pink straw, with which Richard demonstrated a nifty little plastic gadget designed to stop bottled drinks being spiked – not that this is a particular problem in the friendly Dodford!)

Ordering our food at the bar, where the concise but ample menu is handily displayed on chalk boards, we couldn’t resist a packet of pork scratchings by way of an aperitif, and these were the perfect prelude to the tasty fare ahead.

The five-bean chilli had instantly appealed to us all, and Lisa eventually settled on this option, choosing chips instead of rice – naturally, we others snaffled a sample and fully agreed with her assessment: very tasty indeed, not overly spicy, and packed full of beans in a good thick sauce.

The chunky chips were beyond delicious, so I was glad I’d picked the rib-eye steak which also came with chips as well as a juicy grilled tomato, fresh green peas, mushrooms and a portion of salad. The steak, well-done as requested, was succulent with not a hint of dryness, and a great chargrilled flavour. It was also the ideal size; filling without being unmanageable.

Georgina’s choice was lasagne, which came with some of the biggest hunks of garlic bread we’d ever seen – it was clearly homemade and judged to be a particularly tasty specimen. The lasagne itself was the perfect consistency, not sloppy like so many pasta bakes, and the blend of herbs was especially pleasing.

The other options on the menu that evening were mushroom stroganoff, lemon plaice, burger and chips or spicy bean burger and chips, so there was something for everyone and you can bet they would all have been just as satisfying as our choices.

Unfortunately we didn’t have room to squeeze in a dessert, even though the menu offered tempters such as coffee and walnut cake, chocolate orange tart and mint choc chip ice cream. We may just have to come back again to sample some of the other dishes… and more of the many and varied real ales, of course.

The Dodford also hosts live music nights – check the website for details. Directions to the “pub in the field” are also available online (the journey through twisting lanes is all part of the fun!)


What Villagers have been saying about this story . . . most recent comments first


HAVE YOUR SAY . . .

What do you think? Share your views by typing in the box below.

Name:

Email:

Location:

Please enter the word you see in the image below (this keeps the spammers away):


Return to Front Page

sidebar