The main menu features a selection of starters and light bites (£4.25 - £5.90), hot and cold sandwiches and a range of main meals such as pasta bake, venison and wild mushroom casserole and lambs liver & bacon, most in the ?8.50 - £9.50 range, plus "recession" options at £4.99, including ham, egg & chips, cottage pie and fish & chips. Coupled with the daily "recession ale", these last mean that you can have a meal and a couple of pints for under a tenner.
Our eyes, though, were caught by the specials board. Sausages (£9.00) came in three varieties - beef & sweet chilli, chicken & tarragon and Old Smokey. Jane's initial indecision as to which she fancied most was overcome by the ability to order a "medley" i.e. one of each. I elected for poached fillet of smoked haddock (£10.50)
The meals soon arrived, both attractively presented. Jane's plate contained a layer of red cabbage surrounded by gravy with mash on top then the three plump sausages. All were sufficiently delicious to make choosing a favourite impossible and the ensemble amounted to "a tasty melange of flavours". The sausages, we were later told, come from local producer B A Biggs and can be found at Andrew Northrops butchers in town.
My haddock fillet was decently, if not generously, proportioned and beautifully cooked - ditto the poached egg perched on top. Below was a bed of ratatouille. This wasn't a combination I'd encountered before but it worked very well, the ratatouille being tasty but not so assertive as to overwhelm the subtleties of the fish. The lack of "bulk" though meant that this certainly wasn't a filling dish.
On then to the puddings. Lewis had especially lauded the Warm Chocolate Brownie but Jane will invariably plump for Sticky Toffee Pudding if its available. For me, my quest goes on for a Creme Brulee equal to those served at Girton College many moons ago. The version here is called Cambridge Burnt Cream and is made with white chocolate. What arrived was entirely pleasant but didn't challenge the Girton supremacy. The topping was, if anything, a little too burnt and the yellow cream below had a rather gloopy texture - so the quest continues. The accompanying home-made shortbread was gorgeous.
Jane's pudding came as a seriously large chunk, stuffed with dates swimming in a delicious toffee sauce and with a dollop of ice cream on the side. As I was looking under- nourished, she kindly let me finish it off and it really was superb. The only surprise was that it was served cold and, on enquiry, we were told this was a mistake and it should have been slightly warm. Oh well, still one of the best puds we've found on these sorties.
With our impending move oop north (see elsewhere) this is the last of these columns so this was a good meal to go out on. The Kingston remains first and foremost a superb, proper pub with loads of brilliant beer but the food is certainly worth a trip there as well.