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Monday, 30 March 2020
WHAT better way to spend Sunday lunchtime than relaxing in a charming country pub? In this case, the Shoulder of Mutton in Playhatch.
We had an enthusiastic welcome from Kate, a long-standing member of the friendly team.
We took our seats in front of a roaring open fire, where in a quirky touch our table was a lovingly restored Singer sewing machine. Our drinks arrived promptly, even though there was a bustling lunchtime trade.
The menu choice was impressive, with a mouth-watering five choices of Sunday roasts — ranging from precision-cooked 30-hour leg of mutton, 21-day matured topside of beef, honey and orange glazed gammon to Aspall Cyder-infused breast of turkey and loin of pork, with a further choice of Sunday specials and vegetarian options.
My dining companion Dave immediately chose the mutton — and to save my disappointment, as he’s not a sharer, Wendy, the pub’s engaging proprietor, suggested a mixture of both the topside of beef and mutton. A perfect solution. Our beautifully presented Sunday lunch was then served by the very efficient Jazz and Izzy and arrived with all the trimmings.
The mutton was melt in the mouth and delectable after being cooked for 30 hours using a technique called sous vide, which ensures any cut of meat is exquisitely tender.
The beef was on a par, with thick slices of succulent and juicy topside served with roast potatoes that were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, sitting next to a sizeable Yorkshire pudding.
The helping of fresh seasonal vegetables consisted of spinach and leeks in a delicate homemade cheese sauce, glazed carrots and crisp French beans. Safe to say, there was more than enough for both of us.
After the plentiful dinner we still managed to fit in the heavenly choice of desserts that included crème brulee, warm treacle tart and sticky toffee pudding. Regarding the latter, one happy customer recently emailed Wendy to say that it was the best her husband had ever tasted.
For his part, Dave satisfied his sweet tooth with a strawberry and lime pavlova that was decadent and not for the faint-hearted. The crisp crust paired well with the strawberries and chimed with the sharpness of the lime topped with lashings of whipped cream. My mulled winter fruits crumble was hot out of the oven with a moreish caramel ice cream. The desserts were simply outstanding.
Alan and Wendy have been the proprietors for 19 years,. Alan is the head chef and his passion for food is evident. The Shoulder of Mutton serves plentiful home-cooked food at reasonable prices. Sunday lunch is served from noon to 1.45pm. Book early to avoid disappointment as it gets very busy.
The beautiful conservatory is available for hire and catering for all occasions, including weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and wakes.
For more information, call the Shoulder of Mutton on 0118 9473908 or visit www.shoulderplayhatch.co.uk
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