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Food Review: Dishes pack a flavour punch at The Cock Inn, Woodseaves

When the spring arrives, there are few Saturday afternoon pursuits as exquisite as the consumption of fine beer in conjunction with the indulgence of beautiful, hearty grub.

Penang Curry – cauliflower, peppers and mange-tout in a coconut sauce
Penang Curry – cauliflower, peppers and mange-tout in a coconut sauce

On the day in question, the sun was shining, the lambs were leaping, the daffodils were the kings and queens of the banks and borders, and a good pal and I set out in search of a little relaxing revelry, and plenty of sustenance. Upon a visit to a charming pub restaurant not far from where we lay our hats, we were not disappointed.

LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR STEVE LEATH 01/04/2022..Pic in Woodseaves near Newport for a food review at The Cock Inn..

A proud emporium of cask ale, fine wines and home-cooked tucker, The Cock Inn at Woodseaves is a delightful traditional pub that also holds an established reputation for both flair and quality in its cuisine.

A 19th century bastion of countryside heritage bedecked with beamed ceilings and wooden flooring, this establishment is homely-yet-stylish, authentic-yet-chic and dripping in rustic elegance.

A treasured delight of the locals, The Cock Inn plays host on a daily basis to a familiar and devoted clientele. Yet far from succumbing to the-only-pub-in-the-village syndrome, its current administration have worked over the last few years to draw in outside trade (and also amplify the experience offered to faithful locals) by fashioning rotating seasonal menus based on quality local ingredients, and by offering a number of take-out options. Smart move in a village without another take-away.

The Cock Inn

Charmed by the pub’s decor and setting on previous visits, my friend and I had our hearts set on dining in, both of us excited to enjoy a slice of Saturday afternoon indulgence in a frankly beautiful eatery that perfectly embodies the spirit of ‘country pub with class’.

Upon our arrival we were served by a delightful young waitress who allowed my pal a sample of the real ale on offer before committing to his pint of purchase – always nice to see in any pub that prides itself on its cask selection.

On perusing the menu, we were both impressed by the range of dishes on offer, with plenty of options that set our tastebuds to ‘tingle’.

Fancying a day off the meat, my friend opted for a starter of sweet potato falafel, followed by a penang curry featuring cauliflower, peppers and mange-tout in a coconut sauce. I, on the other hand, was ready to fully indulge my carnivorous desires, and plumped for a delicious-sounding honey and soy duck salad to start, followed by a main course of chargrilled pork souvlaki with all the trimmings.

After we took our seats in the restaurant area, our starters arrived promptly – my duck salad accompanied by an intoxicating aroma that compelled me to dive straight in with gusto.

The pan-seared duck was cooked perfectly – just the right level of pink for my taste, and with a succulent and slightly salty flavour that was perfectly offset by the delicious sweetness of the honey and soy dressing.

Rocket – in my opinion, a sublime addition to any salad – gave the dish a lovely kick, and fresh cherry tomatoes and watercress amplified the vitality of a truly excellent starter.

Honey & Soy Duck Salad

A larger portion would more than have delighted as a main, and I would go as far as to say that as a brilliantly executed blend of a small number of well-chosen ingredients, this was perhaps the finest salad-based dish ever to have passed my lips.

My friend’s falafel was well-presented, and boasted a delicious aroma of its own. Not a bite was wasted, and a seemingly well-deserved thumbs up was given.

Sweet Potato Falafel

The mains arrived when I had taken an ill-timed bathroom break, yet as I returned to the table I was soon lost in a grin at the sight of the course before me. The pork souvlaki consisted of ample skewers of chargrilled marinated pork shoulder, served with flat bread, tzatziki, fries and a salad.

With my eyes drawn instantly to the empty flat bread on my plate, I did wonder at first where the surely mouth-watering pork was hiding. At this point however, my friend promptly told me to look up and behold the magnificent duo of succulent kebabs that were suspended on a bracket in the middle of the table.

Presentation was first class, with the hanging skewers of meat showcased wonderfully, their rich scent leaving me salivating.

LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR STEVE LEATH 01/04/2022..Pic in Woodseaves near Newport for a food review at The Cock Inn. Pork Souvlaki..

Upon lifting the first skewer and removing its bountiful cargo, it was clear that – as with the duck – the pork had been expertly cooked, chargrilled well, yet far from overdone.

With a generous dollop of the creamy tzatziki, I loaded a chunk of the tender meat onto the flat bread along with a sprinkling of the inviting salad, and took my first bite. It was truly and decadently delicious.

The flavour packed into the pork was a delightful blend of spice, balanced sublimely by the refreshing tzatziki. Rather than being overly dry (as can often be the case), the flat bread was light and fluffy, and served as a magnificent vessel with which to transport the divine souvlaki to my ever-grateful chops. Dishes that require an element of self-assembly can often begin to annoy the diner after five minutes. This one, however, didn’t. Aside from being beautifully prepared – and from a recipe I shall be forced to acquire – this dish was fun, and the perfect partner to an afternoon tipple.

Pork Souvlaki

While it is rare that I would opt for a vegetarian dish, I must confess to a full-blown bout of food envy at the sight and smell of my pal’s penang curry. Delicate and finely presented, it had a warming aroma that in itself showcased the skill of its preparation, and was the kind of dish that I could have happily curled up with for comfort.

Penang Curry – cauliflower, peppers and mange-tout in a coconut sauce

The look on his face said it all, and it was clear that I would have to wait until next time for a taste.

All in all, I could not have been more impressed by The Cock Inn. The pretty pub serves stunning food that punches extraordinarily highly, and backs this with service that is friendly and professional. Its current administration – shortly to celebrate their 10th anniversary of holding the business – are a credit to this long-loved establishment, and what they have achieved with it is extraordinary.

To dine there was nothing less than an absolute pleasure, and one that I intend to repeat at the earliest opportunity. Top marks entirely deserved.

Details

The Cock Inn

Newport Road, Woodseaves,

ST20 0NP

01785 284343

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