Traditionally great and full of charm

WHILE I write this, our region is basking in the glorious sunshine of an Indian Summer – and there’s certainly no better place to enjoy it than in rural Lincolnshire.

Acre after acre, the Lincolnshire horizon is seemingly never-ending. Beautiful countryside and farmland dotted with charming little villages are a familiar site in this county – as are stellar examples of traditional British pubs.

Knaith Park is a lovely place. Just a short 10 minute drive from Gainsborough, what it lacks in size it makes up for in character – and the village pub is no exception. As I step in to the Stag’s Head from the crisp Autumn sunshine, I’m greeted with a welcome as warm as the weather outside. It’s only a Wednesday lunchtime, but the pub is relatively busy – something I imagine is a testament to its cosy and calming atmosphere and status as a hub of the local community.

The menu at the Stag’s Head offers plenty of choice - from your day-to-day pub grub and sandwiches to a variety of international dishes. There’s also a pretty good specials board and Friday night steak night – offering two steaks and a bottle of wine for just £20. My maths isn’t amazing, but I’m sure that’s a great deal.

Perusing the starter menu I considered the garlic mushrooms and the duo of smoked haddock and salmon fishcakes, but I decided I quite fancied the sound of the Piri Piri prawns pan-fried in chilli and garlic butter. The prawns were meaty and the chilli really packed a punch. So tasty were they that I’d have loved just a few more, but as an appetizer it certainly fulfilled its purpose.

For my main I was tempted by the homemade steak pie, Chinese curry, or the salmon fillet, but settled on the 10oz rump steak with mushrooms, tomatoes, homemade onion rings and chips.

The portion was enormous, the chips were incredible, and I’ve no idea how they made their onion rings but I loved them. The steak was a decent cut and filling and tasty enough, but I’ve definitely had better. Maybe a little peppercorn sauce would have lifted it but there was just something missing.

My only other real complaints are minor. I wasn’t offered condiments and had to call for some, and the food lacks that sparkle and edge that many other local pubs offer , but for what it is it’s pretty good. If you want simple but wholesome and high quality food with a more than reasonable price tag in a traditional, charming and familiar setting, then take the pleasant drive to Knaith Park and see what the Stag’s Head has to offer. You won’t regret it.

Andrew Trendell