June has been an amazing month for us. As so often happens, don’t you find as well, everything happens at once? We have covered very many miles, and so happily, but more of that later. For the time being things will revert to normal – so the first thing we did today was set off for the Gate in Brassington for Sunday lunch.
The Gate has for long been one of our favourite pubs. We recommend it to all our guests and all come back having loved the candle-lit, log fire atmosphere, and spoken admiringly about the wholesome, well-cooked food.
The other pub we and our guests are also lucky enough to frequent is the George in Alstonefield. The atmosphere in the George is not quite as striking but the food is pretty special by any standards: portions are smaller, and more expensive than the Gate’s and indeed most pubs in the area, but the George is in a quite different league to them all, food wise.
We were really concerned to hear from some disgruntled guests (it really doesn’t happen very often so it took us aback rather) after they had walked from Carsington to the Gate hoping to have lunch. They reported back that they had gone in but it all looked so down at heel – including the garden – that they didn’t dare stop to eat. This worried us greatly but with all our busyness we hadn’t had time to check it out for ourselves until today. We did warn the next guests and asked them for candid comments if they went and were somewhat reassured when all reported back favourably but of course none of them knew what to compare it with.
So after today we are pretty relieved, but – seriously – we will need to go back again, and sit inside this time. It was such a gorgeous day (disregard John’s sweater!) that we had lunch in the garden, which actually was looking much better kempt than it has for some time. Apart from one other couple we were the only people out there. John, who had not walked to the pub, only wanted soup; I who had walked chose the Sunday roast beef ‘dinner’. John’s vegetable soup was generous, served with a crispy baguette and lashings of butter, but he did say the soup itself was not particularly exciting. Perhaps calling it ‘vegetable’ soup was a subtle clue, which we didn’t pick up until afterwards!
I had a quite enormous helping of roast beef, Yorkshire pud, roast potatoes and the works. Being hungry I thoroughly enjoyed what I could manage, even though the beef for my (most?) tastes was overdone and the vegetables ditto. It was all pleasantly served, and I think one wouldn’t have been half so critical if we hadn’t actually set out to be critical… The people eating inside with no such concerns were looking happy enough in the candlelight.
We’ll go again, as soon as we can, and sit indoors to pick up more of the vibe. Meanwhile, we will welcome your own reactions.