Having had it recommended to us by everyone from neighbours and fellow party guests to friends who know good restaurants we thought we’d cycle down to The Greyhound at Milton Malsor and see for ourselves.
Of course it’s a very famous pub because of its age – it may have been built in the 1500s, owners Chef and Brewer say – and its location on Towcester Road.
But that normally lends itself to people saying it’s very good only because it’s the first restaurant they can think of, or because someone else told them it was good, or they’ve simply passed it on the way to somewhere else and wistfully thought it must be good. Fame unwarranted in other words.
Rest assured, though, it actually is good.
On the Sunday we arrived just before the lunchtime rush. We bagged the only unbooked table for two, with the waitress congratulating us on our good fortune. It has to be said that there was a great choice of dishes, with 25 mains, encompassing meat, poultry, steaks, burgers and fish and vegetarian sections, and 11 desserts.
A good starters menu for me is one that has a good mix of classics that I’d be happy to revisit and new combinations I’d be glad to try. The Greyhound had that mix and we passed with great prevarication on the bubble and squeak, sweet chilli prawns and what, at £5.99, must have been a fairly enormous Scotch egg as well as pork, chicken and mulled cider pate.
I instead went for the scallops and black pudding (£5.99), which was three of the king variety quickly seared and served with crispy pancetta and black pudding, all served with a wholegrain mustard sauce. The scallops were golden brown on the outside but tender inside, and their smooth texture chimed brilliantly with the meaty oatmeal of the black pudding, although I felt the sauce didn’t add very much to the overall flavour.
Our excellent grandmotherly waitress had patiently talked us through the chalkboard specials, so I went for the beef and blacksticks pie (£12.49) and my companion for a braised slow-cooked lamb shoulder (£11.99) with mash, green beans and a minted red wine sauce.
My pie was enormous, like a whole stew in pastry, and gorgeously tasty. The distinctive buttery blue cheese did not overpower the rich gravy but flavoured the tender meat perfectly.
Her lamb also came with a huge pig in blanket for an extra 79p, which was almost a pig in duvet.
All was finished off with a chocolate fudge cake with double cream (£4.79)and chocolate caramel torte (£4.99), a salted chocolate biscuit layered with caramel and toasted hazelnut and topped with Belgian chocolate truffle mousse.
I did become aware after our visit of reviews online saying the Greyhound can be overly-busy. I have to say we were always dealt with promptly and our waitress carried on as if she enjoyed her job, which I had no idea was allowed until then.
But the quality of the food would, in any case, have been worth the wait, each dish a fine example of its type and priced quite fairly for a pub of The Greyhound’s reputation.
DISABLED ACCESS: Yes
PARKING: 50-plus spaces
COST OF OUR MEAL
FINAL TOTAL: £45.36
NICK’S STAR RATING: 8/10