Gastropub delivers on top tastes with a twist

FACT FILE

Address: Brigg Road, Grasby DN38 6AQ

Telephone: 01652 628247

Website: www.crosskeysinngrasby.co.uk

À la carte prices:
Starters: from £5.95
Main courses: from £12.95
Desserts: from £5.95

Open:
Monday to Saturday:
12–8pm / 8.30pm Friday and Saturday (restaurant), 12–10pm (bar)
Sunday: 12–6pm (restaurant), 12–10pm (bar)
Booking advisable

 


Words by:
Barbara Young
Featured in:
October 2021

Barbara Young visits The Cross Keys Inn at Grasby, to sample its latest à la carte menu, featuring an excellent choice of classic pub favourites created using the best of local ingredients.

Tucked away in the scenic village of Grasby, with outstanding views of the Lincolnshire Wolds and a few steps away from the Viking Way walk, The Cross Keys Inn has long been established as a popular ‘go to’ place for visitors looking to enjoy its spectacular outlook while also appreciating all the elements of a classic country pub experience.

However, a visit to The Cross Keys is so much more than just ‘a pub with a view’ – whether you’re looking for a special dining out experience with top choices from its innovative à la carte menu, or simply want to treat yourself to some favourite comfort foods, here you can really indulge your taste buds enjoying a wide choice of quality, home cooked dishes all freshly cooked and served to order by smiling, attentive staff.

The pub also prides itself on being dog-friendly with an attractive covered terrace, the perfect place to relax and enjoy drinks, plus light bar snacks with canine companions who are also treated to a special doggy menu of drinks, ice cream and treats.

Having visited this pretty pub previously and thoroughly enjoyed the whole dining out package – from the friendly welcome and comfortable surroundings, to excellent service and of course great food – we were keen to make a return visit to sample some of the new dishes on the consistently excellent menu knowing we would be in for a real treat.

We were excited to see what talented head chef Steph Barker, who owns and runs this popular rural roadside pub, had created on her latest à la carte menu and happy to report that once again we weren’t disappointed.

While making our menu choices, we took our time to enjoy two ‘mocktails’ from the pub’s special cocktail menu, which features all the classic favourites, as well as some more unusual choices.

We chose a refreshing alcohol-free Mojito served with an unusual edible candy flavoured straw, which added just the right amount of sweetness to the sparkling lime and fresh mint drink, plus a Passion Fruit Martini, featuring a smoking translucent flavoured vapour bubble top to help seal in the flavour while also adding a touch of theatre.

Making a final choice from the appetisers list was a pleasant challenge – every dish featured a description which sounded so tempting, but the Crab Capellini (a crab bisque, with soft angel hair noodles, chilli, lime and shallots) made the final cut, alongside the Duck Carpaccio (with goat’s cheese bonbon, plum gel and warm, candied walnuts).

The Crab Capellini, a real taste of the sea, was beautifully presented with a perfectly cooked deep fried small soft shell crab served on a bed of crispy seaweed which brought the whole dish together adding just the right amount of saltiness.

The Duck Carpaccio, a twist on the classic Italian beef dish, not only looked elegant, but was light and perfectly balanced in flavour, with the thinly sliced duck breast soft and pink.

A perfectly timed interlude before the main dishes arrived gave us a chance to take in the surroundings. Since reopening fully after lockdown, the restaurant has been treated to a refurbishment and update resulting in a light and airy interior featuring cool grey tones and pretty sparkling nightlights while still retaining its cosiness and charm. Tables are sensibly spaced to allow diners to relax in a safe environment and even on a busy night, no one felt crowded in the convivial atmosphere.

For the main courses, we chose Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shank, served with apricot couscous, pomegranate, crispy kale, and crème fraîche, plus an 8oz Pork Ribeye, accompanied by celeriac purée, celeriac hash, black pudding croquette and grilled baby pear.

Rich in flavour, the Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shank was enhanced with North African spices, including cinnamon, cumin and paprika in a tomato, onion and garlic sauce, on a bed of soft couscous with the addition of pomegranate for a fusion of sweetness and spice.

The Pork Ribeye, an ultimate luxury cut from a locally farmed pig, featured rich marbling of sweet and succulent meat which was seared on the outside and served pink in the middle as you would a beef steak. This was perfectly complemented with celeriac, with a crispy on the outside, soft on the inside black pudding croquette and a lightly grilled pear adding a touch of sweetness.

Never one to miss out on something sweet, even though to be honest we didn’t really need any extra calories, the dessert menu once again presented a pleasant dilemma.

We were torn between the Cherry Bakewell Crème Brûlée with Frangipane Sponge or Lemon Parfait with Lemon Curd and Raspberry Meringue, but eventually opted for the intriguing sounding Chocolate and Guinness Cake with Chocolate Crumble, Crème Fraîche Sorbet and Orange Gel and Cross Keys Eton Mess, Berry Coulis, Chantilly Cream and Fresh Berries.

Both proved excellent choices, being just sweet enough to satisfy with the addition of fruity freshness, without being too overwhelming or heavy, and the perfect finish to a delicious meal leaving us feeling happily full rather than bloated by greed!

When it comes to creating her own original twists on seasonal dishes, Steph – a well deserved finalist in the 2019 Taste of Excellence Chef of the Year and Dining Pub of the Year categories – is a talented and dedicated champion for supporting local produce. Passionate about her work and always striving to create and share new dishes, Steph and her team, led by manager Malika Garwell, pride themselves on serving up exceptionally good value, well presented traditional and contemporary choices of home cooked dishes, which are both a feast for the eyes, as well as a real treat for your taste buds.



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