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Food review: The Dog & Doublet Inn in Sandon, Stafford

By Lisa Harrison | Staffordshire restaurant reviews | Published:

Happy birthday to us! It was a double celebration of birthdays, one belated and one yet to arrive, any excuse.

We left the booking a little last minute and struggled to get a table and it was only a Tuesday night. Possibly a good sign.

We arrived at The Dog & Doublet Inn in Sandon ready to eat. We were all super hungry anticipating a few courses ready to fill us up. I’d had a small lunch so I could pig out!

It was busy, surprisingly so as it was early in the week but we were shown to a table tucked away from the throng of noisy diners.

It’s a big pub offering rooms for the night as well as various areas in which to eat, the fireplace, Archway or Doublet Room. We were in the main room which is spacious, yet homely with a shiny wooden floor, wooden table and chairs along with cream and maroon walls adorned with pictures.

Our waitress was friendly and helpful and immediately came over to take our drinks order while we mulled over the menu. Wine for the girls and beer for the boys. Easy.

We were so busy chatting that we didn’t even look at what was on offer food wise for some time.

We decided to go for starters which we ummed and ahhed about for a while and then, again had the tricky decision of what to choose for a main. The menu is pretty vast with classic pub dishes or the more adventurous meals with more exciting ingredient combinations.

Luckily we all went for different things and chatted away until the starters arrived.

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First up for one of the birthday girls was the Persian pressed chicken terrine with pineapple and pomegranate pickle and griddled ciabatta.

The terrine was smooth with a light chickeny flavour and the fruit added a delicate sweet flavour to it. It was a nice compact size too so there would still be room for the mains.

Her other half had gone for the whole baked Camembert marinated with garlic, rosemary and truffle, onion chutney with ciabatta croûtes. It was deliciously gooey and salty offset by the herby seasoning. So good and filling was it that he couldn’t finish it so she offered to help out. Big long strings of cheese stretched from plate to mouth. Perfect.

The Husband had gone for the homemade soup of the day, with warm bread and oven baked crouton. On this day it was a spicy chicken and noodle broth and as a starter it turned out to be the highlight of the meal.

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Seasoned to perfection, steaming hot and packed with meat and vegetables, it was almost a meal in itself and left Husband struggling to finish it long after other starters had been devoured.

Either that or he just talks a lot, which he most definitely does!

I’d gone for the warm tear and share breads with a balsamic dipping sauce, and pressed rapeseed oil. I was hoping for a selection of breads but what I got was standard ciabatta. The balsamic vinegar was sweet and slick. The rapeseed oil was an unusual flavour and I’d not tried it before and was used to olive oil, which I prefer. Perhaps it’s an acquired taste but it was certainly different.

Plates were cleared and the mains soon arrived.

Our friends had gone for burgers: the Staffordshire beef burger on a toasted brioche bun with hand cut chips, crispy pancetta, smoked Applewood cheese, a pickled gherkin and a side of chunky coleslaw. Yum. The plate was piled high!

They’d also gone for the Hunter’s chicken burger complete with bacon, smoked cheese, hickory smoked BBQ sauce, toasted brioche bun, hand cut chips, smoked Applewood cheese, pickled gherkin, chunky coleslaw. Both said the meat was tender and the accompaniments complemented each other perfect, lots of salty and smoky flavours. The chips were fluffy and crunchy in all the right places too.

Husband went for the Panko crumbed chicken breast stuffed with smoked cheese, white bean cassoulet, confit tomato and garlic, with a Romesco sauce. Sadly, it failed to live up to expectations.

The meat was slightly overcooked, leaving the smoked cheese too dry to deliver the essential moisture to the dish.

In addition, the bed of white bean cassoulet resembled – as well it might – a posh pile of baked beans that struggled to combine with the flavour of the chicken.

On its own (and without the aid of the starter broth) it would have been a little on the light side, but thankfully he had taken the precaution of adding a side of thick, hand cut chips, which saved the day somewhat.

I’d gone for the classic chicken Caesar salad, without the anchovies (not a fan of the hairy, salty, little fish), crispy bacon and croutons, Grana Padano and a Caesar dressing.

I’d recently eaten my way around three states of America with various versions of the Caesar salad, so had a fair bit of experience on what I really liked.

This sadly wasn’t my favourite. The chicken part was amazing it was cooked beautifully and had a gorgeous chargrilled flavour and was super soft and tender. It was also a whole chunky piece of breast rather than smaller pieces which some restaurants seem to scrimp on a little bit. The addition of bacon was nice too as it added a salty taste.

The lettuce, however, was rather overloaded with the the Caesar dressing which tasted more like a seasoned mayonnaise than the traditional sauce and I just wasn’t used to it and also I’m not a great fan of mayonnaise.

Even so I felt quite content and we all finished up exclaiming it was a lovely meal in lovely surroundings.

After we’d eaten we decided to have one final drink and were shown to a quiet snug area away from the bar noise and restaurant of diners.

All in all the bill came to £132 which was pretty reasonable for a couple of drinks and two courses each. We didn’t have room for dessert, it could have easily tipped us over the edge. Judging by the menu we would’ve been spoilt for choice.

When we were done, we headed off into the night full and happy planning our next visit to the pub and deciding what to eat the next time round.

Lisa Harrison

By Lisa Harrison
@LKWilliams_star

Deputy Weekend Editor, based at E&S head office in Wolverhampton. Works on Weekend and Woman supplements. Features include celebrity, real life, fashion, homes, beauty and general lifestyle content.

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