The Wilford Green Pub on Wilford Lane has taken the place of the old Maypole Pub which sadly had been dying on it’s feet for many years. I have to say that the transformation is somewhat amazing, if you had ever been into the old Maypole you would not recognise the place now. The Wilford Green is a delightfully welcoming place, inside it feels so comfortable you could be forgiven for thinking that you were dining in your own sitting room or lounge. I have been itching to try this place out for quite some time and at last this last week I managed to come in for lunch midweek with a fellow food lover and Club Sandwich devotee Kris from DowSocial and @DowFoodNetwork and then again at the weekend with my Mum who has enjoyed accompanying myfoodhunting adventures in Nottingham and all over the states particularly in Chicago and New York.
Midweek it was quite quiet at lunch and I was tempted to try something larger off the excellent range on the menu, however Kris and I had been passing notes on Club Sandwiches for several weeks and we both knew that the ultimate comparison test was going to have to be a Club Sandwich. I would say that I was pleasantly surprised that the Wilford Green club is everything that I needed and expected from a club sandwich, but I was not surprised, I had no doubts it would be, I knew as soon as I walked into the place that it was going to be a good lunch.
Cut into triangles and correctly supported with a wooden skewer it looks the part. A nicely toasted chicken, bacon and cheese sandwich for £5.90. I really was happy with my sandwich just the right amount of each ingredient, well balanced in content so that no one item outshone or overpowered the other, just how it should be. The size of the sandwich was just right as well, the right size to fit into your mouth with one bite and without falling apart. On the menu it says that it is served with chips and a salad, I was not too fussed about having either so I was quite happy when it turned out to be 7 chips and a piece of lettuce. My companion did comment that it was more of a chip ‘garnish’ than a side. So if I was to be at all critical I could comment that perhaps it was overselling the chip component. Despite having said that the sandwich itself is more than enough you did not need any other distraction.
It was a good sandwich and a lunch, but to really give a good picture of the Wilford Green Menu I needed more and I was really quite keen to try some of the main dishes listed on the boards and on their menus. So I invited my Mother to join me at the weekend for a Pre-Mothers day lunch selling the opportunity with a promise of a special of slow cooked belly pork which is one of her favourites. I did not really need to sell it as she too had been keen to try the place for a while.
There were just a few items on the special board and I was relieved to see that the Pork Belly was on there (more about that later). I was almost tempted to try the Cod Tail which was served with a olive oil mash, spring onions and a white wine and cream sauce. However I had already got in my mind that I wanted some sort of stew so I was looking at the regular lunchtime menu to search something more like that. My Mother however was all over that Pork Belly dish and chose her meal from the specials board. So let me tell you about the specials first.
One of the starters on the daily specials chalkboard was “Mushrooms in stilton sauce on toast” I almost chose this but I am not personally a massive Stilton fan (which is a bit pathetic for an occasional foodie). I had a taste of the sauce and it was nice and creamy with a little hint of cheese, enough to give a nice deep flavour but not too much to overpower. There was a terrific selection of mushrooms in the dish, more than just your basic selection of button mushrooms. To be honest I was sad that I did not select this starter for myself, I was secretly a little jealous.
The Slow Cooked Pork was a huge portion, it looked to be about a pound of Pork and it sat upon and almost squashed a pile of soft buttered mash potato. The Special board option was for a whole grain mustard mash, but they were happy to substitute this for the plainer mash (excellent service). There was also some soft wilted leeks all covered with a light cider gravy which did have a slightly bitter taste. Once again I would have liked to have had this dish as well, If I had I would have liked the fat to have been a little bit more crispy, but I expect that would have been a different way of cooking it.
I selected my two course lunch off the standard lunch menu. For a starter I had the Soup of the Day for £3.90 which on this day was a Tomato soup described as “Hot, homemade and served with crusty bread and butter” Really good, thick chunky fresh tomato almost a sauce as opposed to a soup. If you like Campbells tomato soup then this is not for you. This is a soup for grown ups
For my main I had the Slow Cooked Beef Stew for £11.50 this is described on the menu as “Big chunks of local beef with caramelised onions, green beans and buttered mash”. It was Delicious, soft tender chunks of beef that melted in the mouth, some soft sweet carrots and a rich beefy onion gravy sauce. The butter mash was soft and silky and this contrasted well with the crunchy green beans. I was very happy with this dish. It came in quite a deep bowl so it did seem to be everlasting and I was really quite stuffed after I reached the bottom of that bowl.
Apart from the excellent menu choices If you are in a group and want to just get some food to share to go along with your wine and beer then they also do Sharing platters. I am quite keen to come back and try the Charcuterie Platter and I would be most interested to hear from anyone who has tried one of these platters.
The Wilford Green is a great experience, it is one of my new favourites and I know that I will be back. They have a really good website and are on Twitter and Facebook as well. To top that as well they have there own Cookbook that you can view online or download. Well worth checking that out as it may well tempt you into making a visit.
On their home page they describe themselves as;
“A real pub where one can enjoy great food and drink on the company of friends and family.”
I would have to agree that they have succeeded on that aim, and they also note
“We believe great food is about simplicity; showcasing seasonal produce complimented with great ales, quality wines and a welcoming atmosphere.”
Again I would say that they manage that too!
As you can probably guess I would heartily recommend a visit.
The Wilford Green is located on Wilford Lane just past Compton Acres next to the Co-op and at the junction into Wilford Village. There is a massive car park at the back, but if you are riding the bus there is a stop right next to it. Although the pub is not currently on a tram line, once the second phase of the Tram opens there will be a stop nearby at Wilford.
Note: The Tram Line is now open and you can ride along the Clifton South Line to the Wilford Lane Stop to reach this pub