The Old Thatched Inn
There's only so many pub Sunday lunches I can wolf down, so I despatched Muddy's Nicky to carb load on my behalf at this pub near Buckingham.
The Muddy team continue to eat for England. Next up to the tasting table? Nicky Richardson, on a trip up to North Buckinghamshire to tummy test The Old Thatched Inn in Adstock, near Buckingham.
This pretty 16th century thatched pub sits in the heart of the quintessentially English village of Adstock. A few miles south of Buckingham, surrounded by fields, it’s a picture perfect location and a popular spot – this neck of the woods is quite rural and there are fewer pubs per square mile than in the super-chocca south.
Hero previously reviewed in 2016 during the winter months so I rocked up to to see how it was faring in this year’s summer heat. The traditional, beamed interiors were a cool relief in this sultry weather and I can imagine in the winter with a fire roaring in the vast inglenook fireplace, it’s a cosy, inviting spot.
Outside, the pub is festooned with flowers in hanging baskets and window boxes, with a few tables on the narrow patio outside (all busy on the day I visited). There’s also a large conservatory dining room, which can take two sittings at weekends and is also available for private functions, and various other tables scattered around the bar. It’s a big old place, with 120 covers in total.
Homely and family-friendly with a kids’ menu, The Old Thatched Inn is what you’d expect from a traditional English pub with its old beams, and open fires, and the informal drinking space to the front of the pub is particularly charming. Towards the back, where the restaurant sits, it’s a slightly more formal, restaurant-y feel with an eclectic mix of furniture and more modern features (brick walls, aertexed walls) that weren’t quite to my taste, but don’t offend.
There’s an almost nostalgic quality to the restaurant service, with us invited to take a seat on the sofas and study the menus with our drinks before our food orders were taken. Certainly service was swift, attentive and friendly – with the large number of dining areas and covers, the owner, a former chef himself, has surrounded himself with a large team, with staff accommodation on site.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The starters menu was dominated by old-school options such as prawn cocktail and garlic mushrooms, but there were also a few surprises, such as chicken livers (below) and goats cheese & leek arancini. The portions were generous and well presented.
Mains included confit Aylesbury duck leg, pan roasted fillet of sea bream and home made potato gnocchi. I went for the traditional roast – (pork, lamb or beef available or a plate with all three which seems a bit piggy, even to me!). which was piled high with all the extras you could desire and a delicious gravy. My other half went for grilled fillet of Scottish salmon with creamed leeks, new potatoes, peas and spinach while the kids, unsurprisingly, chose fish and chips and breaded chicken burger and chips.
Alas no room for pud as servings were very generous. I would’ve gone for the lemon posset and elderflower jelly, though the honeycomb pana cotta, Eton mess and sticky toffee pudding were also tempting. We were on the iced soft drinks in the blistering heat but the wine list looked extensive and there were plenty of dessert wines and ports too.
OUT & ABOUT
From the pub it’s about a 20 minute drive to the beautiful landscaped gardens of Stowe, historic manor Claydon House (lie on Florence Nightingale’s bed – seriously, they let you!) and home to the codebreakers of WW2, Bletchley Park. I must confess that we swerved the culture and went to Milton Keynes Ikea instead. Hey, don’t judge!
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Anyone looking for a nice relaxed lunch or dinner with great service, particularly as there aren’t a great number of options in the area. With its extensive dining areas, it’s also great for large groups and family gatherings.
Not for: Those looking for a stylish contemporary gastro pub – the interiors are traditional and while the food does the job perfectly well, the menu isn’t going to excite hipsters or super-foodies. Those with toddlers and young children might find the lack of outside space an issue.
£££: Reasonable. Starters start at £5.95 for bread and olives and go to £7.50 for prawn cocktail, mains start at £12.95 for gnocchi, up to £17.95 for the mixed roast, desserts start at £1.95 for a scoop of ice cream to £6.50 for lemon posset.
The Old Thatched Inn, Main St, Adstock, Buckinghamshire MK18 2JN. Tel: 01296 712584.
Words: Nicky Richardson
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