Express & Star

Food Review: Defeated by meat feast at The Elms

Shareshill is a small Staffordshire village almost equidistant between Wolverhampton, Cannock with an ancient history dating back as far as the Domesday Book.

The huge meat feast platter had enough to two to share

It really is a model of village life, with a village hall, post office and a single pub, a bit like Greendale, but no Postman Pat. The pub, The Elms, is a mixed bag of decor and a venue frequented by young and old and catering for most tastes.

At one time it was a manor house, it now sits at the heart of the community and it frequently puts on entertainment and hosts events.

The pub's quaint old fireplace

Live music is regularly provided and the pub features a traditional bar, with pool and satellite TV, a lounge area, with a traditional old fireplace and a roaring fire and a stunning and brightly decorated outside area.

What really stood out was the amazing combination of decorative and plain tiles, on walls and floor throughout the pub, with some of the floor tiles dating back to the Victorian area.

A really colourful melange of style and colour that worked perfectly in what is a hub of village life.

The large outside area is ideally designed to be used in the warmer months, but with heaters and an enclosed and bright area, welcoming at any time of the year.

The brightly coloured outdoor area of the pub

The vivid pinks and greens, which also feature in the spotless washrooms are a stark contrast to the darker colours of a traditional old fireplace, tiling and older furniture.

Situated on Church Road, the pub has recently been revamped by owners Birmingham-based brewery Davenports (remember Beer at Home?) and the dining area offers a cosy experience for diners, not to mention an extensive and exceptionally well-priced menu.

We visited as the pub was gearing up for Christmas, a rocking Saturday evening was in store, but we were early enough to be pretty much the only diners in the dining area, at least for half and hour or so.The tiled theme was again prevalent here while the tables and chairs offered fake fur throws for extra comfort.

Others ordered from the bar menu and ate at their tables.

It was an excellent atmosphere, although one criticism here was how cold the area was on what was a particularly chilly December day. The radiators remained cold. Having said that, this was balanced by the warm welcome provided by the staff and Zac in particular proved a helpful and pleasant host. Looking through the menu the choice was comprehensive.

A mixture of pub grub, dishes from the Med, a selection of burgers and sharing dishes. It’s a pub menu, to quote a well-used phrase, it does what it says on the tin.’

Always a challenge to select something a little different we both went for the starters, Curried Devilled Eggs (£4.95) for me and Sticky Pork Belly Bites (£5.95) for my wife.

The pork belly bites delighted the other half

It’s difficult to wax too lyrical about boiled eggs with a curried mayo dressing and side salad, but it proved tasty, the eggs nicely cooked, the sauce was nice and spicy and the salad crisp. It was just enough to whet the appetite for the main dish.

My wife chose the kind of food she loves, tender pork chunks with a sticky sauce. The savoury and sweet combination delivered an ‘excellent’ verdict.

That was dispatched pretty rapidly and as we awaited the main course it was noticeable how the place was filling up. For the mains I had chosen the Lemon & Chilli King Prawn Pasta, while my wife bravely went for the ‘The Meat Feast’ (£19.95), a gigantic mixed grille that came with the advice that it could be good sharer. Advice duly ignored.

We also ordered additional table toppers which included Bread of the Day with balsamic and olive oil (£3.95), Jalapeño Poppers (£5.95) and Sweet Potato Fries (£3.95), all of which proved and excellent choice with the Jalapeños in a cheesy mixture wrapped in breadcrumbs, providing a particularly spicy treat.

The Jalapeno poppers were a great appetiser

The main pasta dish was cleverly presented with around half a dozen huge prawns, cooked to perfection, with tossed spaghetti mixed with chilli and lemon that delivered a pleasing mixture of heat, sweet and sour to the palate.

The pasta featured huge king prawns

The meat platter was really something, a huge feast. It featured a combo of steak, lamb chop, pork steak,huge onion rings, two sausages, mushrooms and a side order of chips.

A real case of your eyes being bigger than your belly here. But she gave it a go and got around half way through before declaring enough was enough.

All perfectly cooked, although she found the steak a bit chewy, the chips were left untouched. They were right, it really is a sharer unless you are Desperate Dan. A valiant effort, but not the case with me, I polished the lot off and guess what? Desserts were off the menu after that feast.

Small criticisms include some of the food was on the cold side, which was a surprise given there were so few in the dining area.

Having said that, it was pretty much cooked as it should be and added to a couple of glasses of wine proved an excellent pub dining experience in a lively, but friendly atmosphere.

A sure sign of the popularity is how many people were eating or getting ready to eat by the time we left.  It also has some rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

Good food at a decent price and is definitely worth a visit. One final word on the table service: Excellent.