FOOD MONSTER: The Woodcocks at Burton Waters
During the beautiful sunny weather we had recently I fancied dining al fresco.
So, with this in mind, myself and my chauffeur/dining partner headed out to The Woodcocks at Burton Waters.
As we pulled up in the substantial car park it was clear to see the venue was extremely popular for a hot Sunday afternoon.
Dozens of wooden tables were scattered around the lovely green lawn, plus more dining arrangements on the decking, providing ample space to soak up the rays.
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We were lucky enough to see a table being vacated so we grabbed it before having a look through the menu, which had everything from light bites and wraps to pies, burgers and steaks.
On going in to the pub, which was just as busy as the outside area, to order our drinks we saw the fantastic specials board.
Contact details and location map for The Woodcocks at Burton Waters...
I don't think I've ever seen so many different dishes listed in addition to the main menu.
Whether it be fish, chicken, vegetarian, salad and meat, all tastes were catered for.
After much deliberation I opted for the courgette skewers filled with goat's cheese risotto and my dining partner went for the salmon and prawn salad.
And here was the best bit – every main meal from either the menu or the specials board was two for one.
Although the pub was absolutely heaving, the staff at the bar dealt with the queue efficiently, having one till to take just drink orders and the other two for food.
And, helpfully, there was a blackboard notice warning patrons there was a 45-minute to one hour wait for food due to the sheer volume of people.
Armed with a white wine spritzer (the true sign that summer has arrived) and rosé wine we returned to our seat to soak in the atmosphere.
Luckily our table had a parasol so we were able to enjoy the heat without the unfortunate sunburn to prove it.
As we were in such lovely surroundings the wait did not seem long at all, and sure enough within one hour our main courses were brought out.
I was pleasantly surprised at the generous portions and the fact the food looked to be of a really good quality.
Being a Marston's Pub Company venue, I must say I wasn't holding out for restaurant-standard fare at this location.
Yet my skewers were delicious, thinly-sliced courgette strips wrapped around a creamy risotto placed on a bed of pilau rice with a side helping of salad.
A jug of tangy tomato sauce added a nice tartness to the smooth texture of the rest of the meal and I ate every last morsel.
My dining partner's salmon and prawn salad was exactly what it said on the tin.
A huge bowl of salad leaves, tomato and cucumber provided the base for a large slab of nicely cooked salmon and an equally generous portion of prawns in a Marie rose sauce.
There were no airs and graces and no delicate nuances of flavour but you definitely got your money's worth and it was another rapidly emptied dish.
Having decided to bypass a starter we felt it was only right to sample something from the dessert menu, although we were already nicely stuffed.
Once again, ordering at the bar was quick and easy and our desserts arrived within ten minutes – a caramel crunchy sundae and a knickerbocker glory.
These towering glasses looked fairly impressive and were just the right end to this summer's day meal.
The sundae was layered with vanilla, chocolate and straciatella ice creams, topped with cream, caramel crunch pieces, chocolate sauce and two chocolate flakes.
Even though I'm not usually a dessert person I polished it all off in a matter of minutes. It had just the right amount of goo without being too sickly.
The knickerbocker came in the trademark tall glass filled with raspberry jelly, vanilla and strawberry ice creams, cream, raspberry sauce, a chocolate flake and a sugar curl wafer.
This too rapidly disappeared. These good old-fashioned treats were bringing back happy childhood memories.
After enjoying what turned into a two-and-a-half hour lunch, we ambled back to the car, whacked the air conditioning on and cranked up the summer tunes.
I will definitely be returning to The Woodcocks.
It is an ideal spot to enjoy whatever brief good weather we may get this year.
THE FOOD: Courgette skewers £10.25, salmon and prawn salad £9.25 (free on two for one deal), caramel crunchy sundae £3.85, knickerbocker glory £3.85, white wine spritzer £4.25, large glass Zinfandel rose £4.50.
FINAL VERDICT: A great spot to enjoy the sun with tasty, generous portions.
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