It’s the anniversary of when my husband and I realised that we’re going to be parents. So we decide to celebrate the occasion with a meal at The Combermere Arms — a traditional country pub we stumbled across last summer. As soon as we walk in, a collection of photographs and posters from yesteryear transport us back in time. This theme continues in the toilets, which have tiles so clean you can see your face in them.
We sit near the roaring open fire. It might be May but there’s still a chill in the air. A wall of windows overlooking the beer garden is on our left, and the kitchen is just ahead of us. According to Olde Worlde Pubs, the building is haunted by the spirit of a monk from the nearby abbey. Apart from being surprised by the capsule tube sending orders to the kitchen, there’s no spooky goings on here.
For my starter, I order pan fried mushrooms on toasted sourdough with poached egg and tarragon hollandaise. My husband tries the seared scallops with crispy ham fritters and pea purée. Our food arrives in 15 minutes and is devoured even quicker. For my main, I have spinach and ricotta filled pasta with tarragon creme fraiche sauce and toasted pine nuts. My husband is tempted by the 10oz rump steak with portobello mushrooms but finally decides on braised shoulder of lamb with dauphinois potatoes, chantenay carrots and rosemary gravy. Our mains are equally delicious and we take our time finishing them.
There isn’t much room for dessert but when we see the menu, we struggle to turn the waitress away empty-handed. My hot waffle with chocolate sauce, boozy cherries and cherry crumble ice cream is delicious. My husband’s dark chocolate and pistachio praline torte is scrumptious. Topped with passion fruit sauce and orange sorbet it is, in his opinion, an award-winning dish. We finish our celebratory meal with a toast to the future and plans of returning to our traditional country pub.
The Combermere Arms, Burleydam, Whitchurch SY13 4AT