[South Rauceby, Lincolnshire] Bustard Inn

When you’re travelling, research is everything when it comes to getting good eats. So, a Google on “A17” and “pub” threw up several places along the road between Newark and Boston. They all looked like they could do the job but the Bustard seemed a little more gastro than the others. Good call.

There was a haslet terrine to start – basically nothing more than a thick slice of haslet, rather than the thin sandwich slices you might see for sale on a market stall. The texture and flavours are along the lines of a pate de campagne, but much more peppery. There’s bread of course and a fruity chutney quite heavily spiked with, I think, cloves. The other starter featured entirely seasonal asparagus, cooked briefly so it was still fairly crisp. Alongside, a crispy egg – set white with still runny yolk, encased in a thin crumb crisped in the fryer. A perfect plate for dunking.

Guinea fowl came two ways. A long cooked leg, with the meat literally falling off the bone and a just cooked through roast breast. A bacon, leek and potato gratin provided the carb but was a bit too much of a mush. Shredded greens and a creamy mushroom sauce set it off.

A fish finger sandwich from the “light bites” menu (mercifully not “lite bites”) was anything but. Two enormous slices of bloomer held home-made fish fingers – actually light as a feather goujons in batter – a little salad and tartare sauce. If more carbs were needed, then there’s a handful of chips.

Good lunch whichever way you look at it.

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I haven’t had haslet for years. One of my favourite things growing up our local pork butcher used to sell it. I’d order the othet three dishes as well. Indicates a good menu.

Out of interest did they have stuffed chine on the menu. I’ve not eaten it but it was mentioned as a Lincolnshire specialty on an episode of Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet ( broadcast from Lincoln naturally) and it sounded right up my street.

No chine, unfortunately. I’ve not eaten it either but would certainly have wanted to try it.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold