If there’s anything I love more than popping into the pub for a gin and lemonade, it’s being able to pet a dog whilst I sip it.
The Talbot, in Biddulph, is a five minute walk from my nan’s house – and has always been the gathering point for occasions. We’ve both celebrated and sobbed in this little country pub – but for some reason unbeknownst to me, I can’t remember the last time I sat down and had food there.
Five years ago, you’d have probably walked in and found my Granddad in his usual spot – harris tweed blazer hung up on the coat stand. It was only natural for us to hold his wake there – as well as every other family occasion for the past two decades.
We swung by for a drink for mum’s birthday, and decided to order food whilst we were there. It’s a familiar, cosy pub with a lot of character. It’s got country charm, both inside and outside, with it’s weathered telephone box where my dad would wait for the bus, and the little trail that leads you down to the duck pond.
Inside, the lights are dim, with corners illuminated by vintage lamps and bunches of iris’ adorn the oak tables. Around them sit a mixture of ‘Vintage Inn’ plum benches, with miss-matched wooden chairs like my nan used to have in her kitchen in the 90s, which stood there long before I was born.
My nan met us at the pub with her beloved poodle Bill – named after her dad. I love nothing more than a dog in the pub. We ordered a round of drinks and some Sunday Roasts and I grabbed Bill a treat from the communal jar whilst we waited.
I ordered a Seedlip Grove 42 with lemonade – a non-alcoholic spirit which mimicked gin, with a twist of orange and spice. It was a lovely little 0% beverage that made a change from drinking Coke or the classic J2O. They had a really diverse range of alcohol free drinks, which would be great for anyone doing dry January.
I ordered the Roast Trio for my Sunday dinner, which comprised of beef, turkey and pork belly, with a big Yorkshire pudding, beef dripping roasties, roasted carrots, parsnips and beetroot, with lashings of gravy. This proved to be the popular choice, also ordered my my mum, dad and aunty.
The beef dripping roasties, Yorkshire puds and carrots were to die for. I’m not one overly bothered about meat unless it’s incredible, and whilst The Talbot’s trio was nothing to write home about, it certainly wasn’t wasted. It was the trimmings that stole the show anyway!
Defeated by my dinner, I treated myself to a real gin, opting for the Tanqueray Flor De Sevilla and lemonade, garnished with an orange wedge. I was stuffed, but after half an hour I figured I could squeeze a dessert in. If you’re going all out, you might as well go all out.
I ordered the crumble of the day, which happened to be apple and cinnamon – I’m still clinging on to Christmas with those festive flavours. It came served with vanilla ice cream and custard and the presentation was lovely. Each crumble comes in it’s own individual dish, so it never looks like it’s been scooped out of a tray bake and thrown in a bowl. I could only manage half before giving it to dad to polish off, but had I thought to bring a takeout box, I’d have definitely taken it home.
When it came to the bill, I managed to get a great offer by downloading the Vintage Inn’s app, bagging 33% off the food bill – taking an £85 bill to £55 between five adults and a child.
The Talbot is a gorgeous pub for a quiet drink or a family lunch, and an even more perfect spot to chill with your dog after a walk around the Grange Country Park. It’s certainly got that warm, cosy, country pub feel and is just far enough out in the sticks without being in the middle of nowhere. Grab a blanket this January, beg a third off your bill and settle into a corner by the fire.