Is there merit in researching a restaurant before you book? …The day after!

Yesterday I wrote a blog article because I had read a review of the restaurant at The Plough Inn, Shutlanger in South Northamptonshire and was undecided whether to go or simply cancel. I had arranged to meet five friends from the Rotary Club of Towcester for dinner and didn’t want to let them down. In the end, I decided to go along and see for myself.

On arrival I was decidedly uneasy. From the outside the establishment looked like a tired old country pub in need of a great deal of repair. The car park, however, was remarkably busy. Entry in to the bar confirmed my fears, it was indeed an old pub in need of redecoration. But, Roger, the manager was exceptionally cheerful, very friendly and immediately put me at my ease. The beer was well kept and tasted as good as any beer I have drunk in the locale.

Not being shy by nature, the group decided to ask if the food was fresh and cooked to order. Roger immediately said “This is my 2nd week at the Plough. I guess you have read the review? That was written well before my time.” I liked his openness. He went on to assure us that times have changed.

Robin and David at The Plougg Inn, Shutlanger

Robin and David at The Plougg Inn, Shutlanger

We ordered our food and moved in to the dining room. What a difference! There were 12 other people, all seemingly happy, in a freshly decorated, light, clean restaurant. Things were looking up.

We waited for quite a while for our first course to arrive and not all of us got our food at the same time. We figured this was a good indication that the food was being cooked fresh and to order. It looked good, nothing too fancy, just well presented mussels, salmon, etc. Imagine my disappointment when the mussels weren’t cooked enough, the cream sauce was cold and the plates were cold. The evening was going downhill fast.

The Offending Mussels

The Offending Mussels

Roger was on his game however. He quickly sent out a couple of bottles of wine on the house and told us that the next course would be significantly better. He was right. The steaks were well cooked, good quality meat and of a decent size. I chose the fish of the day, a fillet of Pollock on sautéed cabbage. It was delightful. The only downside being that the plates were cold. When challenged, Roger said that there are still a few teething problems in the kitchen, after all they have only been there for two weeks, and the plate warmer wasn’t yet working. The entire group agreed that the poor first course was a dim and distant memory.

Significant Improvement over the Mussels

Significant Improvement over the Mussels

Cheese and Desserts were high quality and generous portions. I struggled to finish my cheese because there was so much of it!

Enough Cheese!

Enough Cheese!

With coffee and cognac to round off the evening we were all content. We all felt the price to be reasonable at around £40 per head especially after one of the group noticed that the bar bill, the wine and the cognac made up over half the cost!

The verdict?

A big thumbs up from all six of us. We think that we will schedule a trip back in the next few months to see if Roger has ironed out those wrinkles in the kitchen.

The Rotary Club of Towcester Restaurant Critics

The Rotary Club of Towcester Restaurant Critics

About Peter Borner

Peter is an entrepreneur and successful business leader. Currently leading a consultancy firm specialising in technical diligence for M&A and advising global firms on IT consolidation and migration to consumption based costing through the use of Cloud Technologies.

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1 comments
Robin Skinner
Robin Skinner

Well done Roger (and team), your enthusiasm helped to make a very enjoyable evening. Probably the best steak I have had in a long time and a pudding to die for! Looking forward to next visit.