ALTHOUGH coronavirus may have scuppered my holiday plans, along with those of thousands of others, I didn't see why we shouldn't have a little family treat.

And what could be better that a Sunday roast without the cooking and washing up?

So I scoured the internet and Facebook in search of a local pub that could help out, and soon turned up The Farmhouse Inn at Southwick.

Roast dinners, pre-booked by phone, with a choice of meats and all I had to do was collect? Sounded like a plan - and at £10 a head, good value too.

Luckily I'd thought about this in time to place my phone order for that Sunday - understandably, most pubs doing takeout food now need you to book your meal at least 24 hours ahead, so they can plan their cooking.

A quick call had us down for four roast beef dinners - we all agreed we've been eating a lot of chicken lately. They did ask if we could pay cash, as their social distanced collection point in the car park is out of range of the internet for the card reading machine, but that wasn't a problem.

So I set off, stopping at a small local shop for a bottle of wine and a tub of fancy ice cream to complete the meal.

The car park was almost empty, as collection times are staggered to allow for social distancing, and I handed over the carrier bag I'd brought and an envelope with the cash.

A couple of minutes later my bag was returned laden down with silver foil wrapped packages, and two carefully clingfilmed tubs of very hot gravy, and the car soon had a very savoury smell tickling my tastebuds.

Back home we decanted the feast onto warmed plates, exclaiming at the size and thickness of the beef slices. That must have been some cow!

Roast potatoes, crisp and golden, Yorkshire puddings apiece and three veg completed the meal. I was pleased they'd sent the gravy separately as it meant the vegetables had not gone soggy.

In fact the cabbage, carrots and cauliflower had all been cooked very lightly, doubtless in an effort to stop them going mushy in transit. The cabbage was lovely and the carrots nicely al dente, but I felt the cauliflower would have benefitted from a couple minutes more. If we order again I'll check what veg they are serving, as I'd have made some cheese sauce if I'd known cauli was coming - but it didn't spoil the meal.

The beef, however, was the highlight, for its quality as well as the quantity. I was asked when ordering if I wanted medium rare or medium well and opted for two of each, and you could see the difference. The gravy was another high point, proper gravy made from the delicious meat juices, and there was more than enough to go round.

It was tender, full of flavour and really made the meal. I thought the roasties were good too though the children loyally said mine are better (thanks kids).

It was a lovely lunch, dished up piping hot and the right temperature to enjoy when we got home. We may not be able to go out in lockdown but there are still lots of ways to enjoy ourselves.

The pub is also serving takeout meals on other nights, with their fish and chips highly recommended by a friend who arrived to collect his Sunday dinner just as I was leaving.


The Farmhouse Inn

Frome Road, Southwick, Trowbridge BA14 9QD

Phone: 01225 764366

Large car park, meals handed out at the rear

Childrens portions available

Our ratings:

Food: 8/10

Packing: 10/10

Social distancing: 10/10