UPDATE: See bottom of post
Sunday lunch doesn’t get better than this. The Shoe is a lovely country pub situated in the small village of Exton. Cross the road and their garden has a river at the bottom, very pleasant to sit in on a bright and sunny day. The pub is frequented by walkers and cyclists in the summer months. There are a few places to park in front and to the side of the pub, otherwise there is parking along the roadside. We’ve visited this pub several times over the last 5 or 6 years, usually incorporating a walk in the beautiful surrounding countryside or for family celebrations and it’s always been very good for food. They have a rather good wine list too, although they have stopped selling one of my favourites that we used to have there which was a Brown Brothers Everton Red. We settled for an almost equally nice Languedoc instead.
On week days there is a large blackboard as you enter the pub with the menu of what’s on offer that day. Slow cooked pork belly is a favourite of mine. Unfortunately on Sunday’s they have a special menu, still plenty to choose from though so can’t complain.
We weren’t too happy with the table we had been given as it was right in the centre of the room and people would be going to and from the washrooms. Luckily – perhaps I’d been overheard moaning about this – we were told that they’d just had a cancellation for the larger table by the fire! This was much better and gave us tons more space and felt so much cosier.
For starter I was brave and tried something I’ve never had before. It was warm goats cheese – like a tart but with no pastry base – garnished with red onion, a small green salad and slices of avocado. It was very pleasant and well presented and served by young, friendly staff. My husband had soup and I’m not sure the bread that came was all for him but we all had a slice of it. It was lovely! I had to ask what it was and if they bought it locally so I could buy some too, but alas, they bake it themselves. ‘Treacle and Fennel’ is what I was told it was and you could definitely taste the fennel although it wasn’t overpowering, just subtle, just right. For the main meal I chose roast beef and it came with an enormous Yorkshire pudding! The slices of beef were tender and not gristly – I hate gristle – so very easy to cut and very tasty. Accompanying the beef was a slice of either butternut squash or a slice of pumpkin – not sure which – parsnips and roast potatoes. We also each had a side dish of carrots, cabbage and broccoli which I thought was very generous. The gravy was divine!
For dessert I opted for the Crème Brûlée, although this was called ‘Hampshire baked cream’ (I think, or was it ‘Baked Hampshire cream’?). I couldn’t quite envisage this so asked and was told that it was Crème Brûlée This was a disappointment. Usually Crème Brûlée’s are smooth, this was quite dry and not smooth at all, a rather powdery and ‘bitty’ texture. It was served with some berries with juice around the plate.
I wouldn’t hesitate to return to The Shoe though as it is still serves some of the best ‘country pub’ grub.
Wow, I can’t believe we posted this review of The Shoe way back in 2012! We’ve returned numerous times in the last 5 years and it’s always been really very good indeed. I used to love the pork belly and the sticky toffee pudding for dessert.
At the weekend Geoff and I were on a country walk so we decided to do a slight detour and have lunch at The Shoe. We were really surprised to see that the place had changed inside. It has changed hands and they’ve opened up the whole place by knocking through part of the wall by the bar so that you can go all the way through to the other room – which I never really liked. We enquired when they had done this and were amazed that it was almost two years ago! I think the last couple of times we tried to eat there we haven’t been able to park so have gone elsewhere.
We stayed for lunch and although it was very good, service was friendly but very slow. We were there for two hours for two courses, normally I wouldn’t mind but it was just a little too long between courses. We just about made it back to our car before it became really dark.
They also have an in-house bakery and we took a loaf home, the bread is so good.
I may do a whole new blog post on the New Shoe in the new year, we’ll return again before I do.
Living life, loving cake,