[Wrinehill, Staffordshire] Hand & Trumpet

I’ve always found it to be decent nosh here and so must others – the Good Pub Guide gave it the accolade of the county’s dining pub of the year award for 2015. It’s a village pub that was “done up” quite well. There’s a complete mishmash of tables & chairs - someone obviously did a tour of the junkshops and bought everything. But they space them out nicely, so there’s no feeling of being crowded together. Stuff on the walls is also period and, often, is local – I spotted a photo of the Crewe Alexandra cricket team of 1901 (yep, the cricket and better known football teams were linked in the early days apparently).

This was just a one course lunch but it sets the scene for the general overall quality. There was a confit duck leg and pan fried breast that were bang-on for cooking. The leg long cooked and falling apart with the breast perfectly pink with crispy skin. They came with a fondant potato, roast carrot & beetroot, steamed cabbage, a rather brilliant rhubarb puree and a jus. A steak & ale pie was packed full of tasty meat but could have done with another five minutes in the oven to give the pastry a bit more colour. The advertised mash was swapped for chips. The contributions to the five a day came from cabbage and mange tout.

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

― Jonathan Gold