THE sight was mesmerising. The feeling was one of unusual warmth. It had finally arrived – a sunny evening.
t’s possible to count all the nice days we have had this summer on one hand (with fingers to spare).
So where better to spend this one than outside enjoying the less spotted rays in a lovely beer garden?
Fortunately, the Wheatsheaf in Woodplumpton was on hand to oblige.
This cosy country pub on the edge of Preston has been going for 300 years and received a spruce up of its interior earlier this year.
The mini make-over has brightened the pub up, while still keeping its wonderful traditional feel – best summed up by its amazing, huge fireplaces which draw in customers on more wintry nights than this.
But it was the outside which caught our eye on this sun-kissed occasion and we pulled up a chair in the pretty, flower-filled beer garden which is angled to catch every last ray.
We were joined by young families eating out and dog walkers taking a break with a cool pint on the decked area.
It’s such a friendly pub, with polite and chatty staff behind the bar who bring a real homely feel to the place – so much so that they won a ‘Heart of the Community’ prize at the Star Pub awards last year. There’s even a part-time post office in the pub should you need to post a letter with your pint.
The food on offer at the Wheatsheaf is traditional pub fayre but it’s traditional stuff done well with good quality ingredients.
My partner Ben chose chicken dippers to start, while I went for brie wedges (both £4.45).
The wedges were delicious, gooey battered lumps of melting brie and came with a simple but tasty cranberry accompaniment and side salad.
The little dippers were brought with a sweet chilli sauce and salad and were quickly scoffed (though Ben said calling them dippers made it feel like he’d chosen from the children’s menu!)
Our main course had originated from just down the road. We both hankered after the sirloin steak from village butcher Honeywells (£13.95) and the quality of the meat did not disappoint – though I’d have liked my ‘medium’ steak a little less pink in the middle.
Our plates were also amply stacked with home-made, chunky chips, grilled tomatoes and fresh salad and it was just the kind of meal to be enjoyed al fresco. The pub is definitely a good spot for meat lovers, as we’ve previously enjoyed hearty Sunday roasts and delicious shortcrust beef pies on previous visits.
Being full and happy, we had little room for dessert but managed to squeeze in a slice of sticky toffee pudding between us. It was everything a toffee pud should be – sweet, rich and moist.
Throw in a couple of glasses of wine and real ale and the bill came to a reasonable £55. The addition of the sunshine, however, was priceless.