The Lincolnshire Poacher on Mansfield Road is such a mainstay in the real pub scene of Nottingham that it is hard to remember that it has only been open for around 25 years. In former times it was known as the Old Grey Nags Head, a former Shipstones pub, that was closed in the late 1980’s, which was just about the same time that I took my first stroll up and maybe down Mansfield Road on that almost classic Nottinghamshire City Pub Crawl.
These days the Poacher is part of that rather good local group of Castle Rock Brewery pubs that feature many of their excellent beers, including my beloved Harvest Pale, and also many other beers from far and wide. I haven’t seen them serving Shipstones up here though on my travels through the pub, it would be nice to see that and doff the cap to an old favourite.
Inside and Outside of the Poacher there is plenty of places to find a spot to sit and sup on one of their well kept ales. It is a good old fashioned pub in that there are numerous rooms where you can escape from the crowd or congregate with your mates. Even when it is busy you can still find a little solitude or an intimate corner.
I like to drink out back in the yard where it is a good and often noisy spot to meet up and hang out with a good pint of beer. They have recently installed a number of open sided cabins with heaters during the cold and free fresh air when it is hot. They are not just for the smokers either as most are non smoking so you can still enjoy the beer garden without having to sample a bit of that free passive atmosphere.
While The Lincolnshire Poacher is mostly about the real good beer, I have to also say that they do also serve up some pretty decent pub grub as well to help soak up some of that liquid. I made a trip up the Mansfield Road this last Friday to sample some of that Fare at the start of a pub crawl back down the hill.
My choice from the blackboard hanging above the bar was for a bowlful of their Homemade Meatballs on a bed of pasta. These were hearty and solid meatballs indeed! For your modest outlay of £7.95 you were served two of these chunky round fellows bathed in a basil and tomato sauce on top of a generous pile of perfectly cooked tagliatelli.
The balls were solid, no added breadcrumbs for filler here, red and green peppers, a little onion, some cheese and perhaps a little garlic seemed to be the basis of the package. The basil from the tangy tomato sauce permeated through the dish also giving it just that little extra flavour punch.
I was a little sad when I finished this dish as I just wanted to keep eating more and more mouthfuls of those tasty meatballs. Having said that, I would not have been able to eat much more as this was a big plate and I was basically stuffed as I hit the bottom of that bowl. Good Stuff indeed!
There is a lot more on the board as well that tempted and that could easily have found it’s way into my dining plans. There was talk of Pork Faggots and Chicken Fricassee, and I almost ordered the Fish Pie for the same price as those meatballs. The description on that board was very tempting when I read that it was filled with Salmon, Haddock, and Cod in a white creamy sauce with dill all topped with mash potato served with a side of carrots. Nice!
In keeping with many good pub menus they also offer a Pie of the Day (Today it was Steak and Black Pudding), a Burger of the Day (Beef topped with Cheese), and a Sausage of the Day (Today’s was Toulouse). Almost everything was priced around that £7.95 mark, so really quite good value indeed.
All the food that I saw on nearby tables looked good and was being consumed with much gusto and was also being washed down with plenty of that excellent ale. I didn’t see any plates leaving the tables that were not empty!
I really do like the Poacher and make a trip up here on a fairly regular basis, usually that is just to get a good pint of beer, but now that I have sampled their food and seen or rather tasted how good it is, I will be back up here to eat as well more regularly.
The Lincolnshire Poacher is located at 161-163 Mansfield Road and is about a 10 minute walk up the hill from the city. You don’t have to walk all the way though in one go, there are a few pubs on the way (up and down). I might just be posting that route on another day (so look out for that).