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Friday, 01 August 2014

Good pub grub

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PUB FOOD TWIST: Stan’s mushroom pot, above, and Stan’s special chicken, below

LAST week Ulverston commemorated the birthday of 1930’s comedy legend, Stan Laurel with a two-day festival.

Unable to attend the celebrations, and keen to mark the occasion, my partner and I went with a friend’s recommendation and visited the Stan Laurel Inn for a midweek meal surrounded by Laurel and Hardy memorabilia.

Named after Ulverston’s famous slapstick hero of comedy, the Stan Laurel Inn is situated within a stone’s throw of the town centre, and I had been told to expect a range of hearty home-cooked pub food in a friendly environment.

After hearing a few positive reviews we arrived with high expectations and were not disappointed.

Decorated with its namesake in mind, the pub has a host of pictures and memorabilia adorning the windowsills and walls. And although some of the surroundings seemed a little tired and old fashioned, this did not detract from the traditional, quaint feel of the inn.

Deciding to eat in the renovated, modern dining area, my partner and I ordered a couple of drinks before settling down to look at the sizeable menu.

Having expected all the usual suspects we were excited to see a few more unusual dishes and noticed that even the more run of the mill pub grub had been given it’s own quirky twist – such as Stan’s Yorkie (mini Yorkshire puddings stuffed with chilli) and Chicken Jim jam (Grilled chicken supreme wrapped in bacon and topped with pineapple and barbecue sauce).

With neither of us particularly liking red meat, it was also a nice surprise to see more than 10 chicken options, and I made a mental note to return with my vegetarian sister due to the amount of veggie dishes available.

After a thorough scan of the menu, we finally made a decision.

Noticing the hefty portions passing by our table, we decided to share a starter, and opted for Stan’s mushroom pot, which promised mushrooms in a creamy stilton sauce with a chunk of bread (£5.25).

For my main I chose the mammoth Stan’s special chicken, a butterflied supreme marinated in oregano, sauteed in a creamy wine and garlic sauce oozing with peppers, onions, and garlic sausage (£10.75) served with chips and salad.

And my partner went for the Chicken forestiere, strips of chicken, bacon and mushrooms sauteed in a creamy wholegrain mustard sauce (£10.50) served with seasonal vegetables and chips.

Returning from ordering at the bar my partner produced a ‘Tremendous Thursdays’ leaflet he had found en-route.

There are many offers running throughout the week, and on the night we were dining, it was ‘two for a tenner’ on a selection of meals.

Typically the meals we had chosen were not on the list, but we did discover that there was a good variety if we returned at a later date.

With our stomachs starting to rumble we were pleased to see our starter arrive in good time and were presented with a generous helping of mushrooms.

Nestled in a rich, thick cheese sauce, the mushrooms were cooked to perfection and extremely tasty, providing an indulgent, naughty treat.

Conscious of my waistline I enjoyed a few mouthfuls, but my partner couldn’t resist and finished the whole bowl, even making sure he scraped up every last drop of sauce.

A friendly waitress quickly retrieved the empty dish and, due to the success of the starter, we eagerly awaited our mains.

After another short wait our chicken arrived.

I had opted for salad to accompany my chicken in an attempt to make my meal a little healthier but, presented with a packed plate of chips, chicken and creamy sauce, I soon realised that Stan Laurel’s meals were not for the calorie conscious.

Although my meal looked and smelled delicious, I found the sauce covering it rather bland, and felt it could have done with a little more seasoning.

But the meat was cooked to perfection and the chips were chunky and crisp.

My partner’s chicken forestiere was similarly impressive.

His chicken was both moist and tender and, unlike my own dish, the mustard sauce covering the meat was extremely tasty and flavoursome. His only complaint was that the veg was a little over-cooked but that was purely down to his own personal taste.

Despite having a quick glance at the packed dessert menu, we both agreed that we didn’t have any room left for puddings.

But skipping dessert gives us another reason to return and next time we will save room to sample the pub’s sweet treats.

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