I used to travel the M6/M40 quite often and still have my list of lunch possibilities “just off” the various junctions (anything is better than the offerings at the likes of Keele services). Tumbledown Farm is on the list but this was our first time of trying it. The restaurant, EGO, is part of a smallish chain offering a broad range of “Mediterranean food” – so expect kebabs alongside pastas. But, for Sunday lunch, there’s a more traditional British, erm, Sunday lunch, although a starter of calamari could easily have been from the main menu. The squid rings were tender with a crisp coating – but several of them hadn’t had the membrane removed which meant you had to fiddle with them if they were not to be unpleasant. The accompanying aioli could have done with more garlic for us and, I suspect, for many customers.
The other starter brought a bed of dressed salad leaves, mixed with a little chicken breast and pancetta, drizzled with a little mustardy yoghurt dressing. All perfectly fine.
For mains, both of us went with the roast beef. Tasty meat, served perfectly at about medium rare, although it was a miserly portion on one plate. Good Yorkshire pudding, though. And excellent roast carrots and parsnips, together with mixed greens – cabbage, broccoli and peas. There was a drizzle of a very nice gravy and more was served separately in a little dish – much better than, as often, your plate is swimming in some vaguely unpleasant liquid. We asked for horseradish sauce and it was a belter, with a real kick.
We did have a criticism and that was over how long it took the food to arrive. It was a goodly while before starters came and, once those plates were cleared, it was approaching another half an hour before the main courses came. The problem was clearly with the kitchen, not the attentive serving staff. And it wasn’t as though they were particularly busy. But the delays did mean that we didn’t want to wait longer for desserts and coffee, so just got the bill.