Yesterday the weather man had ‘promised’ in inverted commas that we were going to be seeing some sunshine and that it would be a balmy 13 C, so with that in mind it ‘seemed’ to be a good idea to head out into the Nottinghamshire countryside in search of some fresh air and a nice plate of food for lunch. Sadly a number of the places we wanted to go to were either closed, or doing winter hours and so I am not going to bother mentioning them, instead we ended up going to see the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest. I was hoping for a side of venison or a roast suckling pig on a spit served up by some dusky maiden or worldly wench. What was I thinking? surely there could not possibly be any point in making the most of your local heritage sites by providing such things? I was right I must have been out of my mind.
It was with a little bit of trepidation that I found myself standing at the Visitor Centre in front of the doors of The Forest Table. What would be the offerings inside? On the face of it the chalkboard listing homemade scones, sandwiches, quiches, and soups did not sound too bad. Maybe there would be a roast inside? I could only hope. Inside there was no hog roast, but there were plenty of dog walkers and pram pushers sheltering from the promised sunshine that was masqerading instead as a misty and damp cold squib of a day. There was a distinct feel of off-season about the place, but they were open and they were serving hot and cold snacks so fair play to them at least someone in the woods was offering us some sustanence.
There were three hot daily specials on offer. “Pork and Apple, with mash and veg”, “Beef and Stilton, with mash and veg”, and for the Veggie there was “Caulli and Brocolli Bake, with new potatoes and veg”. We both opted for the Pork and Apple offering, but there was only about one portion left so I opted instead for the Beef and Stilton. As it was nearing the end of the lunchtime ‘rush’ the lady behind the counter very kindly gave us both a scoop of the ‘Caulli and Brocolli’ bake as an additional side. The ‘veg’ turned out to be round carrot slices and quite randomly some sweetcorn. Now I have to be fair and say that all in all this was not a bad meal, it might not have looked too pretty on the plate and it did have a school canteen feel about it, however it was cold outside and this actually hit the spot quite nicely. Both the pork and apple, and beef and stilton parts of the dishes were tasty despite the somewhat mild to missing flavours of apple and stilton. The mash potato was quite nice and creamy, the carrots and sweetcorn were just bystanders. The bonus caulli and brocolli bake with its cheesy sauce was the best of the vegetables on the plate, having said that I would not have been that overexcited if I had just had to pay for that on it’s own as a meal. Overall for £4.99 this was a good solid plateful of warming food to fight off the chills of the day.
The Forest Table is at the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, Swinecote Lane, Edwinstowe. Although the food on offer this day was nothing particularly special, if you are here on an event then I think that they do someting more exciting. Their Christmas menu invited you “to join us at Sherwood Forest amongst the Ancient Oaks for an evening of Hog Roasting, Music, and Celidah Dancing” attended by a jolly Friar with the menu offering that “Hog Pork Roast served with crackling, seasoning and Cider Apple sauce” of which I had dreamt.
I guess that on this occasion, out of season, on a cold and dreary day we found ourselves seated in our places beneath the salt.