Must’ve been months ago now, when I dropped into The Cross Keys in Rowde for a feature on the theme of how village pubs need to be the hub of the community, and how landlady Kelly was planning, and so-far achieving that.
I confess I only browsed the menu then, propping up the bar and chatting with Kelly, therefore I only passed comment on how appetising it looked. Now, as a family birthday treat, of which I had no intentions of writing a review about (got have some time off eh?!) I’m glad to post an update, simply because it was, as I suspected at the time, so good.
Seated in the bar area, as the Saturday night bookings filled the restaurant area, was no bad thing; the football was on, my daughter’s ideal viewing, Man City (yeah, I know, I can’t expect her to transfer to West Ham on the best of seasons let alone now.) Also, the bar area is, as we wished for, the hub of our village, inviting and friendly.
Save it to say, in the past when chef Rob Philpot run that kitchen like clockwork, producing the best pub grub I’ve tasted, the Cross Keys has a reputation to uphold. It’s a rep that has waned at times, but risen like a phoenix out of the ashes again. If high standard home-cooked pub grub is what you favour, that is what you’re going to get, in ample quantity.
The better half had a burger, homecooked and stacked with onion rings it made me ponder if I’d made the right choice with the lasagne. Lo-and-behold though, the lasagne was also a homemade beauty. In a deep dish using mozzarella as opposed to some felonious pubs which use cheddar, it was positively oozing with flavour, with garlic bread toasted to perfection.
I don’t why I needed to order sweet potato fries and onion rings as a side order, because even though they were fresh and homemade too, I couldn’t finish them. One of my Gran’s annotations, “Yer eyes are bigger than your belly,” is most apt on this occasion, despite the confusion in taking it literally as a child.
Talking of kids, my daughter was catered for, chips swapped for a jacket potato as she required, and it was plentiful. She reported it as tasty, and it only ended in a clean plate, allowing room for a sundae, naturally. Pudding would’ve been dangerous for me though, I was close to exploding and half a bowl full of sweet potato chips still peered deviously at me, inviting me to pick at them as pudding. they were sweet enough, but imaginings of Mr Creosote from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life haunted me.
If this is what the everyday menu is like, it leaves positive dreams of the renowned Sunday carvery . I’ve been recommended the pizzas here too, but we’d had pizza the previous night; spoiled rotten I am.
Kelly herself was assisting Dan in the kitchen, but popped all smiles only to notice it was me, and as so often happens these days, her expression changed to “please, be nice!” I don’t know why people do this, I know I’ve built a character which tells it as it is, for if I didn’t it’d get boring and unreliable, but especially I don’t know why when they’ve nothing to fear, as the commitment they put in, prior to realising it’s that nasty bloke who writes that darn website, is excellent! I gave her a thumbs-up across the bar and the smiles promptly returned.
The menu may be standard pub dishes, but there’s been no corners cut to bring to a level of high standards, price-wise is also standard but with quality as generous as this, we left a couple of pints down, content and intending to return. As for Kelly and her welcoming staff, they seem to enjoy breathing life into these walls, which only comes as a valid bonus.