I lived about 800 yards away from the Bay Horse at Whittle-le-Woods for 15 years and don’t ever remember going in.
Mind you, I was a child for much of that time but once I discovered the delights of pubs as a teenager, I travelled far and wide. But never just down the road for some reason.
That has now been rectified with a brilliant Sunday meal at the Bay Horse.
The pub has changed hands and undergone several transformation since the 1970s and 80s and is now rapidly gaining a reputation as a gastro pub to search out.
It is smart, contemporary and unstuffy with cheerful staff and loyal regulars.
But the main thing to remember is this: The food portions are HUGE. Not just large. HUGE.
If you decide to take advantage of the very reasonable two courses for £11.95 you are probably going to have to make a decision about what to leave.
I greedily decided to have a starter of Hot Smoked Makerel served with beer mustard. Watching Rick Stein on TV the previous night preparing a mackerel dish must have planted the seed in my mind because the minute I saw it on the menu it was nailed on.
It came with a garnish of salad and brown bread and butter and was completely superb. The mackerel was so tasty and peppery it was a delight on the palate. Add the mustard and - wow!
My partner chose the classic egg and prawn salad - served with mayonnaise and sprinkle with paprika served on a salad garnish and brown bread and butter. Again, a sizeable portion and her only complaint was that the egg yolks had been removed because she isn’t keen on the whites. But that’s a minor point.
The starters were a sign of things to come - and some food was left just to leave room for the mains,
As the mains were due to appear my partner started chuckling. She could see the waitress arriving with a huge steaming plate of roast beef.
The plate contained a huge portion of meat, with not one but two Yorkshire puddings, roasties and a generous side of fresh vegetables. If I had just run a marathon I might possibly have finished it, but I knew it was going to beat me.
The quality of the beef – slightly rare – was excellent as was everything else. I simply ran out of room in my stomach as I tackled this king-sized portion.
My partner chose the Lambs Liver and Pancetta with a rich onion sauce. Served with home made mash and vegetables, it was delicious and perfectly cooked. Like me, she struggled with the portion size and had to admit defeat leaving some mash.
My wily old dad, having eaten at the Bay Horse previously, skipped the starter. He chose his favourite, the Gammon Steak, served with home made chips and garden peas and topped with two – yes two – fried eggs.
It was a portion and a half and I quietly bet myself he would get no further than half way through it.
But he enjoyed it so much he finished off practically all of it.
No complaints at all from him and it looked and smelled delicious.
A couple of pints of beer, and a couple of glasses of wine and a rum and coke brought the total bill to £53 for three of us.
Dog lovers will also be happy to hear the Bay Horse is dog friendly
Try it – you won’t go hungry in this place.