Lincolnshire Echo Review

On my regular drive from Lincoln to Retford, my curiosity is often piqued by a little sign at the roadside.

No, it's not the one telling me that, here in 2015, I still have to pay a 40p toll to cross the River Trent. That's the sign that infuriates me, not intrigues me.

But a few miles on from the toll bridge is a bigger sign for Pheasantry Brewery, encour- aging visitors to pop in.

So on Saturday night, as the mercury was struggling to get above zero, I decided a nosh-up at a brewery was just what I needed.

And what a pleasant surprise I had.

The long, winding road down to the micro-brewery off the A57, a short drive from Lincoln, leads to a large car park that was looking distinctly empty. I was worrying everyone had stayed home in the warmth, while I'd end up as the only table in a deserted restaurant.

However, taxi operators must do a good trade to and from the brewery, as the small restaurant was nicely busy with a good atmosphere.

The restaurant café and bar is light and airy, and simply furnished. Crucially on a freezing cold night, the radiators were on so the room was warm and cosy.

We were immediately greeted by a barman who looked after us all night, with great, friendly service and more than a dose of humour.

As you would expect, there was an excellent range of beers on offer, and lager and cider drinkers were also amply catered for. Their Camra Gold Award Best Bitter was an obvious, and excellent choice, while I also particularly enjoyed the pale ale. The pale ale and best bitter are just £2.90 a pint – great value.

Menu looked enticing?

But what of the food? The menu certainly looked enticing, with roasted haunch of venison, char grilled rib eye steak, and the delightfully named butternut squash pappardelle. In the end I went with the free range pork, described as 'Coca Cola braised Red Hill Farm pork belly, smoked bacon cake and popcorn crackling'. And to be ensure I had enough, I had a side serving of mash. You can never be too sure...

My friend went for the slow-cooked beef, with hazelnut potatoes and sprouting broccoli, and as we waited I thought it rude not to try a couple more of the beers.

When the food came, it was fantastic. My pork belly was tasty, while the popcorn crackling was like nothing I've had before. Popcorn shouldn't taste like crackling. And when it does, surely it shouldn't actually taste nice? But it did, and it did! A great accompaniment to an adventurous meal.

But yet again, my partner's meal was even better than mine. This happens every time we go out. I may well order what turns out to be the second best meal on the menu, yet she always tops me.

For dessert, I opted for my old favourite, the cheese board, while she went for the dark chocolate brownie, with white chocolate ice cream. The three, varied cheeses came with a lovely apple chutney, plenty of crackers and delicious, toasted plum bread. It was absolutely worth the £6.50 price, and I would have been happy with the blue cheese just by itself.

The service was exemplary all evening. Not too in-your- face, but just right. Staff noticed when our glasses were empty and came straight over, rather than us having to try and catch their eye in the lets-not-be-too-rude manner favoured by the English.

As well as evening meals, the brewery serves up breakfast brunch, lunch and light meals, while the facilities can also be hired out for parties and corporate events.

Overall, I would highly recommend the brewery's restaurant. Naturally we also bought a few of the local bottled delicacies, which were well priced, and I'll certainly be paying a return visit.

At a glance

Where: The Pheasantry Brewery, High Brecks Farm, Lincoln Road, East Markham, Newark, Notts, NG22 0SN

Parking: Plenty

The damage: Slow cooked beef, £14.95; Pork belly, £13.95; Dark chocolate brownie, £4.95; Cheeseboard, £6.50; Drinks £12.50

Total: £52.35

Veggie friendly: Yes

Child friendly: Yes

Food hygiene: 5/5 (June 26, 2014)

Good for: Great food and local beers in a relaxed atmosphere with great service

Visit again: Definitely

Rating: 5/5