Everyone loves a good pub lunch, don't they? There's something homey and hearty about them, particularly in the colder months. Dan and I were invited to try the new menu at The Flying Fox near Woburn, a country pub run by Vintage Inns.
The Flying Fox is located on the road between Woburn and Leighton Buzzard and is easily reachable down the A5 from Milton Keynes. It's in a bit of a strange spot as it's right by the main road near a roundabout but the location itself is perfect as a stop off if you're making a day trip to Woburn Safari Park or Woburn Abbey. I love Woburn and the surrounding rural area, so the location is naturally very pretty.
They have a really good range of food on the menu and cater for vegans and vegetarians, as well as gluten-free dietary requirements. We made our trip on a Sunday, so there was a slightly different menu running, obviously featuring roast dinners!
The interior of the restaurant is very cosy and rustic. It had actually snowed on the day we went, so the fire inside was very welcome. We had a seat by the window which overlooked the road. Had it not have snowed the view might have been a little dull but it looked very pretty outside - despite it being March!
We kicked off with a drink each. Dan had a pint ofDoombar and I had a glass of Malbec to go with my roast dinner.
To start, we shared a baked camembert. There's not much a bit of hot, liquid cheese can do wrong, to be honest! It was served with toasted sourdough and cider soaked raisins, which were a welcome touch. There was just enough bread to go with the cheese - there's nothing worse than having too much cheese at the end of your bread! We weren't left too full ahead of our main courses and had just enough to whet our appetites.
The Flying Fox's Sunday menu consists of your usual roast dinners, plus a good range of other dishes like pies and burgers if you don't feel like a roast. Everything was so tempting! Dan had the chicken and thyme pie served with spring onion mash and seasonal vegetables. It was a good pie, although it could have done with a little more filling but the pastry was crisp and buttery which is one of the best bits! The mash was nicely flavoured, albeit a little dry, but the carrots were roasted until they were sweet and soft - who knew a carrot could be so tasty!?
As it was a Sunday, I had to go for a roast. There was a choice of beef, chicken, pork or lamb. Lamb is my favourite so I had the slow cooked lamb shank seasoned with rosemary. All roasts are served with vegetables, roast potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding and a jug of gravy. It was a BIG plate of food. Like, literally piled. I couldn't even see my roast potatoes as there was so much food! It was a minor thing, but the plate shape did not work for how much food was on the plate. I'm clumsy at the best of times but I did find myself losing veg over the side.
It was also served with a salad (!?) which if I'm being totally honest, was quite unnecessary and went untouched. Given the number of greens that were already on my plate, I think I had enough on there already! For me, meat is the centrepiece of a roast dinner but it very much felt like the lamb was merely accompanying the vegetables. It was beautifully cooked, seasoned and melted in the mouth just like lamb should, but there was just an overwhelming amount of food. I was so full but it barely looked like I made a dent in it when I had finished, which also made me feel really guilty about the food waste. Every roast that was being served to other tables was this piled high as well and went back with food left on the plate.
The components of the meal itself were really good, there was just far too much to enjoy!
Despite being full (and marginally disappointed by my main course) I was hoping dessert would be up to scratch. Dan went for a classic - a chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream. We were promised this would be warm, but it was a little cold and dry, so it was a bit of a letdown, especially as it was so cold outside! However, the salted caramel ice cream was well balanced and was a nice change from the usual vanilla pairing.
I had the coconut panna cotta style pudding with passionfruit, which also happened to be vegan! The manager came out to tell me they had no passionfruit, so would I mind having a mix of fruit on top. I was a little bit disappointed as I love passion fruit but the fruit still looked very pretty on top. I was expecting a silky smooth, delicately flavoured pudding, but it seemed to be curdled. The coconut flavour was lovely but it had the texture of thin rice pudding which wasn't hugely pleasant. It just didn't really resemble a panna cotta. Nevertheless, I finished it off, along with the fruit.
Overall, we were a little disappointed by our meal. The best bit of it was the camembert and like I said, you can't really go wrong with melted cheese! We couldn't fault the attentiveness of the staff and the lovely service we received at The Flying Fox, but the food didn't quite make the cut.
To view menus and make a booking head to www.vintageinn.co.uk.
*This meal was part paid for in return for a review, but this doesn't affect my honest opinion!