Food review: Old Badger Inn, Eastington
WHEN you come across a really great pub you want to shout about it.
Yet at the same time you also want to keep it to yourself, for fear it'll get overrun. However it seems their secret is most definitely out.
The first time I set foot in the Old Badger Inn it was the two cosy fires in the heart of the pub that caught my eye. It was also the fact the pub car park was full and we had to park down the road and march along the icy pavements to get there.
But it was the buzzy, chatty, jovial atmosphere and hearty pub grub that hooked my attention and made me determined to return.
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We'd both assumed as it was a Wednesday night, and the pub is tucked away in a village, we wouldn't need to book. But such is the understandable draw of this place we were almost out of luck – I was advised the cosy table for two right next to the aforementioned fire, that I'd plonked myself down on, was sadly reserved. Fortunately we spotted one free table tucked around the corner from the main bar, but I'd urge visitors to book for food – it's very popular.
We were tempted by the tapas (£5.50 per dish) as a friendly woman on a nearby table whispered over to us that it was brilliant. But to keep the cold at bay we were after something a bit more substantial.
The food here is cooked fresh, so they ask you to be patient while you wait. It does take a little time, but is certainly well worth it – our mains had us cooing with delight.
Matt's golden chunky chips were crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. And his beef burger, served with mozzarella, bacon and fresh salad on the side (£11.95), brought a smile of delight. This was no skinny burger, it was bursting with flavour, he described it as having a rich meatiness that meant it was wolfed down in minutes.
My mixed game pie (£12.95) arrived bubbling hot and so generously filled, the thick tasty gravy had oozed over the swirl of mash topping. I used my thickly sliced carrots, cabbage, green beans and peas to mop it all up – I wasn't wasting a bit of it.
We made sure we had room for dessert choosing chocolate cake and, from the specials chalkboard, banana sponge pudding with toffee sauce to share between us. As a big chocolate fan I expected that to be my favourite but dusted in a tad too much icing sugar it couldn't compete with the fabulous banana dish (£4.50). It was heavenly.
It's not to say though that you should avoid the rich chocolate fudge pudding (£4.50) which was lovely and gooey.
It isn't just the fabulous food that makes this place so special, the chatty, friendly staff have got a great sense of humour which adds to the inviting warmth of the pub.
We'll be back for more, partly because I'm determined to get a seat by the fire.