The Whyte Melville was always a nice pub, but it seems a major refurbishment has made it even better than before.
A friend had suggested we try the pub, settled in the heart of the village of Boughton, after it had a recent overhaul and we weren’t disappointed.
The upgrade has seen new decor giving it more of a gastro-pub feel. There’s a new terrace area and if you look up from your food you will see quotes from people such as Captain Jack Sparrow adorning the walls.
The website also boasts of the pub’s new theatre-style kitchen so it was definitely worth a look.
We rang ahead to see if they could fit us in for Sunday lunch, and were told they were fully booked, but we could head down there for a drink and see if they could squeeze us in.
Within half an hour, we had arrived, enquired about a table for two and the staff quickly found somewhere for us.
The Sunday lunch menu has something to suit all tastes, with a selection of sharing boards as well as starters including freshly-made soup and crusty bread (£5.25), salt and pepper squid with citrus salad (£5.50) and Melville pate (£5.75).
The squid caught my eye, but I thought I would go for the smoked trout salad instead. It was beautifully presented on a fish-shaped glass plate, served with coleslaw, potato salad, charred breads and lemon mayo (£6.25).
Our other starter was caramelised figs with Shropshire Blue cheese salad with crispy parma ham on dressed mixed leaves (£6).
Both dishes were fairly large portions but brought together some tasty combinations of flavours.
As it was a Sunday, there was stuffed roast turkey (£12), roasted leg of lamb (£14) and roast sirloin of beef (£16) served with roast potatoes, garden vegetables, sage and onion stuffing and a Yorkshire pudding.
But for those wanting something other than the traditional roast, there was a nice range of alternatives, including burgers (£10 or £12), spiced sweet potato tagine (£10.50), Tiger beer battered cod fillets (£12.50) and a wedge of steak and ale pie (£14).
We went for the roast lamb, which arrived piled high with all the trimmings you would expect, and the cod loin with chorizo and garlic cream (£16).
The white fish was served with buttered greens, crushed new potatoes and pickled samphire. This was really very good and the only reason I didn’t clear the plate completely was due to the size of my starter.
Pieces of chorizo swam in a sea of garlic cream, thickly layered over the fish, sat on top of a mound of crushed potatoes.
I don’t think I’ve had a better fish dish than this in a while and as seafood is my preferred choice when eating out, this is quite a compliment to the chef.
While we were completely stuffed, there are puddings to choose from including ice-cream (£1.75 per scoop), Melville cheesecake (£5.25), lemon posset with shortbread (£5.50), chocolate fondant pudding with ice-cream (£5.75) and warm pear and almond tart (£6).
Not only was the food of a very high standard, the staff were friendly and attentive and the pub had a real buzz about it.
Diners of all ages appeared to be enjoying lunch and there was a good mix of people eating, as well as those simply enjoying an afternoon pint.
Our bill came to £51.65 including four soft drinks.
Clearly this is not the cheapest pub lunch around, but we felt it was very reasonable for the standard of the food.
The menu offers something for most palates and the setting and the atmosphere make this somewhere we would definitely consider visiting again.