We arrived early on a midweek evening having been warned that later on over seventy locals were expected for the Quiz evening (with £300 first prize!). Two real ales, Woodforde’s Wherry and a guest, are normally available; only the former was on tonight but as it’s one of our favourite beers that was no hardship.
On the food front, the choice is between the “fine dining” menu with main courses at between £14.50 and £17.50 (or three courses for £25) and the Bar and Lounge menu (available 5pm – 9pm, Wednesday-Saturday), where mains come in at around the £9.50 mark and which is what we went for. The Ranch specialises in “real” food – ethically reared beef, free range corn fed chicken, market fresh fish and so forth. We could choose between six main courses, including fish and veggie options.
I went for Chicken Breast Salad (£9.25) which was truly excellent. The succulent chicken strips were lightly grilled and unlike supermarket chicken had bags of flavour. The imaginative salad contained stuff like mango as well as the usual components whilst garlic bread completed the picture. Generous portions too.
Jane had the Steak and Ale Pie which she pronounced to be fabulous. The thin shortcrust pastry was more like what you’d get with a steak pudding and none the worse for that. Underneath was a mass of really lean meat swimming in rich gravy. A selection of perfectly cooked vegetables and creamy mash made fine companions.
On to the sweets and Jane was again delighted with her Raspberry and Chocolate Gateau, light, fluffy and a far cry from the normal bought-in stodge. My Speciality Ice Cream came as three scoops of different flavours, all top notch, especially the Vanilla which actually tasted of vanilla – quite a rarity.
We really were hugely impressed with this meal and can recommend the Ranch unreservedly on our experience. The service was also really friendly and attentive.
By the time you read this, the pub will have hosted (10 July) a Real Ale and Fine Wine Garden Party which looks a must-go. This is a pub which really deserves to succeed.