[Bunbury, Cheshire] Yew Tree
It beats me why the Good Food Guide ignores a local place like the Dysart Arms also at Bunbury. It particularly beats me when I see the Guide including quite average places such as the nearby Fox & Barrel at Cotebrook or the even more mediocre Yew Tree, just round the corner from the Dysart.
It’s a bit of a schlep for a pub lunch but thought we’d have to give the Yew Tree a try, as it appears in the 2013 Guide. There was a black pudding and bacon salad to start (the dish usually comes with a poached egg – something my partner has an aversion to, so it was left off). A decent handful of salad leaves with a tangy honey and mustard dressing, although the portion control on the bacon and black pudding was a bit miserly. She followed that with a fish finger butty, from the “lighter” choices on the menu although this was actually a generous serving. Two smallish fillets of white fish, lightly battered and fried, between a split barmcake, were lovely. Chips were also good – proper chip-sized chips, fried in dripping to a good colour but still retaining that hint of floppiness that nicely separates chips from American fries. A little dish of mushy peas and another of tartare sauce.
Yep, she’d got the better of the ordering. Yet again.
Meanwhile, I’d order devilled kidneys on toast. A nice thick crouton. Good creamy devilled sauce. The kidneys nicely cooked but needing to have had their cores cut out with more care, as some of the more sinewy bit had been left in. Not nice.
When I’d read the specials board, I was instantly attracted to a rabbit dish. A ballotine of bunny, enclosing a mousse of Garstang Blue; creamed greens, Lyonaise potatoes and a game jus. I always take the view that specials should be, well, special. Something fresh for the chef to exercise a bit of creativity. You should be able to feel the love, so to speak. Well, not here. The bunny was excessively chewy. Unpleasantly chewy. Inedibly chewy in parts. The cheese mousse so muted that it was making no contribution whatsoever. And even the bacon wrapping managed to be burnt in parts and all but raw elsewhere. This really was not nice – the least successful dish in many a month. It is, perhaps, a sad reflection on my lunch that with top ingredients such as the bunny and the cheese, the best thing on the plate were the greens.