ARRIVING at The Pelican Inn in Froxfield from the Marlborough direction the large car park seemed rather empty and I prepared myself for us to be dining in splendid isolation.
But, as with many things at The Pelican, appearances can be deceptive.
As we entered the pub there was a good buzz of conversation and many of the tables were occupied.
It became obvious when stood at the bar that there is another large car park on the Hungerford side of the hostelry and this was much fuller.
The waiting staff were young and it would have been easy to think they may be inexperienced.
But even if the food at The Pelican had not been exciting, the friendliness and efficiency of the bar and restaurant staff would have earned it full marks.
As it transpired the food was as good as the welcome. From the outside The Pelican appears to be a traditional Wiltshire pub, nicely situated close to the River Kennet and within easy reach of both Marlborough and Hungerford on the A4.
But inside it is surprisingly large and has been renovated to a high standard. Some of the furnishings are a little on the corporate side, giving the feel of a modern hotel chain, but the period style of the buildings means there are a number of cosy alcoves.
On the evening we visited there was a choice of two menus. On the more basic one it was possible to have two meals for £10 while the main menu offered two courses, including coffee, for £16 or three courses for £20.50.
It was possible to mix and match which pleased my teenage daughter who wanted the soy and sesame duck cakes served with sweet chilli dressing and a scallion salad as a starter from the main menu and a home made cheese burger with tomato relish from the other list as a main course. Ron and I both also went for the duck cakes and they proved a popular choice all round.
I went for poached fillet of sea bass with a crab mousse ratatouille and tomato salsa for a main course while my husband had the pan fried calves liver with bubble and squeak, onion marmalade and crispy bacon.
Francesca's burger did not suffer from being the cheapest option. It looked and tasted delicious while my sea bass was a little on the bland side without much evidence of crab mousse.
The calves liver was tender and the bubble and squeak was a nice alternative to mash. The main dishes were served with a selection of vegetables.
There were a number of tempting options such as steamed chocolate pudding, panatone bread and butter pudding, creme brulee with white chocolate and raspberries and banoffee pie to tempt those with a sweet tooth but we were feeling too full to indulge.
The waiting staff were excellent at keeping an eye out to see if diners needed anything and were happy to bring drinks to the table. This is a lesson other pub restaurants could learn from.
Overall it was an excellent experience and we will be back.
By Joanne Moore
- Good selection of vegetarian dishes
- Restaurant open for lunch and dinner every day
- Loads of car parking
- Big garden
- Two meals for £10 deal or two courses for £16, three for £20.50