Lunch review: The Vine in Ware
PUBLISHED: 14:41 20 March 2011 | UPDATED: 20:40 20 February 2013
Food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne samples a doyen of gastro-pubs...
Food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne samples a doyen of gastro-pubs
About the restaurant
The Vine in Wares busy high street has been doing what it does for long enough it has become almost the benchmark for gastro-pubs. Customers heading for the food walk through the drinking area to reach a large dining room designed for cosiness. A tried and tested layout, and it works
Atmosphere and decor
The pub plus the restaurant make up a large space but even on a quiet autumn day there is a sense of bustle. It helps the feeling of a go-getting operation while the soft colours, plush sofas and light wood flooring calm things down for the serious business of eating.
Friendly and conscientious sums up the two smiling waitresses on duty. A good sign is that both take time over and above the order-taking to chat about the food and current Australian wine promotion.
A lavish selection of familiar dishes leaves us temporarily dithering over what to order. There is a deli selection, starters and light bites, mains, sandwiches and paninis, a soup-and-sandwich choice, winter salads and stone-baked pizzas, not to mention what are called Vine Classics such as fish and chips, a burger and sausage and mash.
Squid tempura and grilled Mediterranean vegetables, both 3.25, turned out to be winning choices from a list of no fewer than 15 starters. The squid were properly chewy and tangy and the veg especially tangy. A good beginning.
More middle of the road than the starters, the mains menu served up the star of the show - a duck leg confit in a cannellini bean cassolette (12.95), meaty and flavourful for a cold morning. I chose the fish of the day, swordfish with green beans and buttered new potatoes (13.95), solid and filling but not quite fishy enough for my taste. The braised beef and house ale pie (9.95) could have been a contender.
With two courses accounted for, a third proved a bulge too far but pudding fans can choose typically between traditional vanilla crme brulee, bread and butter pudding, chocolate brownie or pumpkin strudel, all at 5.50, plus ice cream at 1.50 a scoop.
The Vine promises freshly-cooked seasonal dishes in a home-from-home environment. Its fair comment, and we enjoyed ourselves.
The cost of lunch for two was 44.30 plus service, including two glasses of wine.
This is an independent review featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and drink editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.
The Vine Pub & Dining Rooms
22 High Street
Ware SG12 9BY