[Cheshire, Burwardsley] Pheasant Inn. A so-so pub lunch
Apart from three years just after I got married, I have lived all of my 58 years in Cheshire and had never heard of Burwardsley until I saw a Chowhound post about the Pheasant. It doesn’t get much of a play on local dining websites but, noting that there were great views, I took the opportunity of today’s fine weather to go and see what it was like.
And, yes, there are great views. The pub is in the side of small hill and you can look over the Cheshire plain towards Shell’s oil refinery at Stanlow. It may be a tad too far away to make this a great view at night, though (but Stanlow looks almost enchanting if you do pass it in the dark).
The menu starts off well – “We source the very best local and free range produce wherever possible”. And it’s downhill reading from there on.
There’s not a single solitary menu item listed as free-range. And the only nod to the produce of our mainly agricultural county is the locally made ice cream and Appleby’s Cheshire on the cheese platter (actually made in Shropshire). Disappointing would be an understatement!
I ordered a starter of ham hock terrine which was well made and of good texture, with nuggets of carrot and gherkin. However, the flavour was marred by it being fridge cold. Even worse for cold was what was advertised as a “tomato chutney” but your guess is as good as mine what the flavour was – it just tasted of cold. Some bits of frisee and a slice of toasted bloomer completed the dish. Oh, and a drizzle of something brown and indeterminate on the side of the plate – a thinned down HP sauce sort of thing perhaps (wasn’t keen on it).
Fish and chips were better. A good crisp beer batter (that hopefully was made with the nearby Weetwood Ales that were mentioned in other dishes but not this). It survived a drenching of vinegar and stayed crisp. Good sized portion of haddock, nicely cooked. Chips were not bad – handcut and a good colour – but could have been crispier. Mushy peas were more mush than pea – this is not a recommendation, by the way. Home made tartare sauce was good – well flavoured and a good chunky texture (perhaps they were overstocked with gherkin?). Now, being a northern bloke, I normally eschew tartare sauce with my F & C as being an affectation of, no doubt, soft southern origin. But this was good and I ate the lot.
So, in summary, this is a place you might want to visit if you’re in the area on a fine day when you can sit outside (not today) and look at the views. Days other than fine and/or for probably better food in the area, you’d be better off at the Cock O Barton at nearby Malpas.
To get to the Pheasant Inn from my neck of the woods, I’d had to drive past the Church Green at Lymm, the Duke of Portland at Lach Dennis and the Boot at Willington. I wouldn’t drive past them again.