IF you fancy a lighter bite and a quick turnaround at lunchtime then the Druid Inn in Pontblyddyn should be right up your street.
The Wrexham Road pub has been busy promoting its wares after reopening in the summer following a lengthy refurbishment.
Its ‘Let’s Lunch’ menu boasts a selection of lighter main courses from 12 to 2.30pm, ideal you would have thought for office staff looking to sneak in something nutritious before hitting their keyboards again.
The refit certainly seems to have added plenty of atmosphere – there are wooden beams and floors and open hearths with wood burners suggesting that when the weather gets cold outside, this stone-built hostelry will be roaringly warm. It appeared a popular venue too and the restaurant was filling up with lunchtime diners when I was there.
Appropriately for a pub with its own ghostly stories – it was a coach house when it was built back in the 1800s – the Druid was bedecked in a Halloween theme with pumpkins and cobwebs draped over the bar.
There was no need to get too frightened by the prices either as the light dinner menu was starting at just £5.95. The choices included scampi and fish and chips as well as a 5oz rump steak, all at slightly higher prices.
Thinking I would be biting off more than I could chew with those heftier options I chose the exotically listed warm salad of vegetable noodles and coconut curry.
My mind was on the clock as my desk was calling me back, but the table service didn’t disappoint. In just over seven minutes my plate landed along with a glass of hot chocolate.
Sadly, the anticipated steaming plate of noodles didn’t materialise, for I really had chosen the ‘light’ option. The vegetable strips were more a mash of salad swimming in the thinnest of curry sauces. It wasn’t that the meal lacked taste, there just wasn’t much of it.
I rarely complain about food, but felt it worthwhile pointing out that my selection, while offered as a light lunch, was hardly filling.
To be fair the Druid Inn’s staff appear to be more than understanding and my waiter was at pains to help.
While I wasn’t sure whether to wolf down another meal, I felt the best compromise was to order a dessert.
The lemon possett and drizzle cake with strawberries and homemade shortbread took up two whole lines on the main menu and its importance in rescuing my dining experience at the Druid could not have been overstated too. It was creamy and delicious and well presented.
An added, and unexpected bonus, was its price (£5.95) was waived when I came to pay the bill. The Druid appears a place where they try to do the best for their customers.
There clearly appeared many satisfied ones too when I visited as there is an extensive main menu, including tasty steaks and traditional pub fare like steak and ale pie.
But their offers – which also include a market menu with two courses at £12.95 and three for £16.95 – may need some working on.
While it will be convenient for some to dart in and out for a quick bite to eat during a working day, there may be others who stumble with disappointment on the ‘light’ menu. It certainly won’t quell your hunger after a bracing walk up Moel Famau that’s for sure.
HOW IT RATED:
Druid Inn, Wrexham Road, Pontblyddyn, CH7 4HG. Tel: 01352 770292
Ambience – 9/10
Service - 8/10
Food quality – 5/10
Children welcome – yes
Disabled access – yes
See full story in the Chester Leader