Saturday, 31 May 2014

Restaurant Review - The Rainbow on the Lake, Steeple Langford

My family - that is, my parents - always like to go to the same local pub-restaurant for birthday and celebratory meals, but when it was my birthday recently I decided to go somewhere different. I knew though that it had to be more of a pub than a restaurant and no more than about 15 minutes drive from my parents house - I did want to go to a very fancy restaurant called Howards' House but the rest of my family weren't keen. I made up for it by going to a posh restaurant in London with my boyfriend!

So for the lunch with my family I chose The Rainbow on the Lake in Steeple Langford, near Salisbury in Wiltshire. I was swayed mainly by the beautiful photo on their website!

When we arrived, the first impression was of a fairly nondescript building from the outside and traditional pub inside-  until you walk into a large raised conservatory area with outdoor decking and a wonderful view over the fields and the lake.

The pub's website only showed a Mothers' Day menu, even though that was about 6 weeks previously, so I rang and asked what sort of food they had. I was told "all the usual roasts and a full menu besides". We had a couple of very fussy people in our group who only like a limited number of what I call traditional pub meals and while I didn't want to make the person on the other end of the phone go through the entire menu, I said "Do you do burgers for instance?" and was told "yes of course". So imagine the disappointment when we sat down and saw the very limited menu with no burger or anything similar. My dad tends to have either steak or ham, eggs and chips and neither of those appeared on the menu either; he ended up having lasagne which he wasn't very thrilled about as he had eaten canneloni the night before, but there was really nothing else on the menu he wanted. He brightened visibly when he was asked if he wanted chips with it and when the food came, he said the lasagne was excellent. It did look very good- clearly homemade and packed with meat.

My boyfriend who is even more fussy had been looking forward to a burger or otherwise would have ordered steak or chicken; there wasn't a single chicken dish on the menu, even among the roasts - which were pork, beef and lamb. He ordered the roast beef and again I was a bit uncomfortable as it was literally the only thing on the menu he would have eaten and I didn't know what we would have done if they had run out!

My boyfriend had ordered his roast beef well done, but it's difficult to do that well on thinly sliced meat. Even so it was dry and curling at the edges, and the meat itself was very fatty so he left about half of it. He said the roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings that came with it were very good at least.

My sister and I both had fish - I think sea bream but I should have written it down - on a crayfish risotto. It was beautifully presented and very well cooked; I felt like I was eating in a posh restaurant. My mum's skate wing - which she chose because she had never had skate before - lifted off the bone easily and was a big hit.

My sister and I had ordered the same thing but when the food came to the table, the waitress only had four meals and said "The chef only cooked one of the sea bream, I'm really sorry - yours will be out in a few minutes". I can only imagine there was some sort of miscommunication and he didn't realise two had been ordered, so I was left without a main courses. It wasn't too long before it came luckily - my family were maybe a third of the way through their main courses - and the waitress did ask if I would like anything else in the meantime, but I said no. It was quite disappointing though as we weren't a particularly large group - 5 people - to find that one of the main courses had been forgotten.

The desserts were very good and again beautifully presented. I had a creamy lemon posset, my sister had two large scoops of ice cream - lemon sorbet and ginger, which is quite unusual and nice to see on a menu rather than the standard flavours. My boyfriend had the chocolate brownie which was warm and gooey and came with a choice of cream or ice cream.

We had quite a mixed reaction to the restaurant overall. I loved it - I thought the food was excellent both in terms of presentation and taste and liked the fact that the menu was quite upmarket, more like a restaurant than a pub, and my sister agreed. My dad and my boyfriend however were disappointed that the menu didn't have more traditional pub classics - so I guess you can't please everyone! We all agreed though that the view was lovely and it was a very pleasant place to be.

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