Food file - Pub Review

By Mark Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

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The Linnet Great Hinton, Wiltshire. A Wadworth pub, the Linnet has been transformed by owner/chef Jonathan Furby since he took over five years ago...

The Linnet Great Hinton, Wiltshire. A Wadworth pub, the Linnet has been transformed by owner/chef Jonathan Furby since he took over five years ago and attracts gastronauts from all over the West Country.

Jonathan and his team have a winning formula, as our Saturday lunch demonstrated, although it was a lunch that had a few shortcomings, and not all them from the food.

On the hottest weekend of the year, we were keen to sit at the tables outside the pub. We were greeted by one of the two shirt-andtie guys running the front-of-house with an almost accusatory "so you're eating outside then?". When we asked if we could order starters from the set lunch menu and mains from the à la carte lunch menu, he scoffed: "That's going to confuse the chef like hell." Thankfully, the service improved after this hiccup, and the food was, by and large, very good indeed. Value for money is a strong point at the Linnet, with a daily-changing lunch menu of two courses for £10.75 and three for £13.25.

Our two starters were faultless. A thick slice of rabbit terrine (£4.50) was gamy, spicy and studded with pistachios and a cranberry or two. It was served on a tangle of leaves, and drizzled with a spot-on honey and mustard vinaigrette. For the same price, a smoked salmon and lemon sole terrine was served with a creamy caper and dill crème fraîche, baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Main courses didn't quite live up to the promising start. Poached spring lamb and baby vegetables in a creamy sauce with mint dumplings (£8.25) was nothing more than a pretty average lamb stew and the mint dumplings were hard and bone dry. A grilled rib-eye steak (£10.25) was welljudged and rested long enough to retain some juiciness, but the horseradish and shallot sauce was far too heavy for a summer lunch menu, as was the sweet potato and mustard mash. A bowl of vegetables was so overcooked that it hardly seemed worth the bother.

Desserts were a return to form. Blackberry and apple cheesecake (£4.60) was homemade and pleasingly seasonal, as was the summer fruits bread and butter pudding (£4.50), which managed to combine two of my favourite puds in one calorific dish. Apart from brusque service of one waiter, and the average main courses, this was still a highly enjoyable lunch in a village pub with immense charm.

PubChef Rating​ (out of 10) Ambiance:​ 7 Value for money:​ 8Flavour factor:​ 7 Overall Impression:​ 7

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