Warm welcome and plenty of choice keeps the punters sailing in to real ale eatery.
There are pubs that purport to be restaurants, and others that stick stolidly to an old style notion of pub grub as pretty much anything with chips.
The Ship at Bawtry does neither. Cosy and unpretentious, it simply delivers on its dining, as we discovered when we stopped by early-ish one Wednesday evening.
Bawtry has several reputable restaurants that bring people in from quite a distance, so it is a turn-up that this homely pub ranks as number one eatery on a well-used review website.
It has been run by the same couple, Dave and Mandy Wallis and their team for over 10 years. Last year it was again the Marston’s food pub of the year.
Head chef Gordon Townsend takes pride in upholding the Ship’s tradition of cooking freshly to order.
Split for dining and drinking, it is not for those seeking private conversation. We chatted to assistant manager Sue Cubbin as we perused the extensive blackboard menus.
My vegetarian friends were delighted to find a selection of five mains. But were then disappointed when the broccoli bake was off the menu. No matter, they chose a curry and Thai-style linguine, and I opted for Steak Diane.
To begin, we went for a ‘tapas-style’ selection of three starters. Sadly the Brie offering was off the menu (no Brie) so the vegetarians were left with mushrooms in a creamy garlic sauce with bread, and wedges with dips, alongside my tempura prawns.
The mushrooms were savoured, smothered in a flavourful sauce, while a light crisp batter did justice to the prawns. The wedges looked overcooked but were, in fact, a pleasing blend of crispy and fluffy, with tasty dips.
It speaks for the quality of the food when I say all plates were stripped clean as there is no skimping on portions. Friend Cate relished her aromatic linguine that was packed with flavour and vegetables. The curry was not quite hot and spicy enough for Ian but was still enjoyed, with rice and naan.
My steak Diane was deliciously tender. Its sauce was rich and tangy with the best mushy peas I’ve had. Lovers of rustic fat chips would love Ship chips....chunky, firm and golden brown.
A chocolatey but slightly dry fudge cake with ice cream for sweet, and we were stuffed! At £55 for three including wine, beer and coffees this was great value for money.
Every table was taken that evening. Diners departed with happy faces, cheerful goodbyes and promises to be back soon. So this pub is definitely doing something right.
Star rating out of five:
Three more to choose from:
Prince of Wales, Ecclesall Road Golden Ball, Whiston Red Deer, Sheffield City Centre