You know what it’s like, you’ve got a salad planned for dinner but it’s a gorgeous sunny evening, your willpower runs out and you just have to pop out to a delightful country pub instead! (Just look at that blue sky…!) Cue a little drive down the country lanes to The Cow in Dalbury Lees
Part of the Berkeley Inns Group alongside The Cock Inn in Mugginton, The Horseshoes Long Lane, and The Bluebell in Kirk Langley, the pub sits on the village green and although it looks pretty small from the outisde, it actually has 12 newly refurbished rooms that I have to say, from the pictures on their website look gorgeous!
Outdoor space at The Cow is limited so we started our evening with a table inside, just by the doors so we could feel a nice breeze, but when a table outside became free we pounced (sorry to the people I was hawk-eyeing until they left!)
The menu uses the sharing plate concept with lots of small dishes to choose from, and a few larger ones thrown in there too. Dishes come out tapas-style whenever they’re ready, but as we weren’t in the mood for sharing we grabbed a couple of the larger plates with some sides so it all came out together
We did start however with some blue cheese and red onion focaccia with aioli – I’m not sure if it was just the piece I had but I couldn’t really taste the blue cheese, however the caramelised onion was lovely and sweet. I thought at first glance that the bread looked dry but it was just because it had been toasted, and it was infact warm & fluffy, and great dunked into the garlicky aioli
The larger plates or ‘big troughs’ are slightly smaller than your average main course but that’s exactly what they’re designed to be, and at £11 each I feel they’re priced just right
I chose catch of the day, which was pan fried cod with chickpeas & chorizo. I had ordered the French bean salad to accompany but there was a slight mix up and I ended up with the creamed spinach – this didn’t bother me one bit but it was removed from the bill – you can’t say fairer than that!
The cod was moist and flaky and the skin nice & crisp, but it was the chickpea & chorizo stew that packed a flavour punch! The tomato base was really rich, and the smokey paprika flavour of the chorizo was prominent in the dish – summery mediterranean loveliness!
When it came to dessert it had to be the pear and stem ginger pudding, which on the menu comes with custard, however this was kindly swapped for honeycomb ice cream for me without any fuss whatsoever. I could have done with a drizzle more sauce on the pudding but flavour wise it was fab – a bit of heat from the ginger comined with the cold creamy ice cream was just great!
We could have happily stayed all evening, and even commented on how nice it would be to stay over and come down from your room for dinner, as some people seemed to be doing (just a shame we only live down the road!)
The only slight downside is that as I mentioned before, outside space is very limited so if you want to sit out there, you’ll have to be quick about it!
Where’s your favourite alfresco dining spot?!