Driving in convoy, I was slightly alarmed when the leading car veered off the Longleat road to some village called Hindon. Why were we going there? As we pulled up in the very charming high street, it all became clear. The Lamb Inn. Of course. The Lamb, according to the blurb, began trading as a public house as early as the 12th century. Today it is owned and run by the Boisdale group, responsible for the two excellent Scottish-style restaurants in Belgravia and The City. The Belgravia establishment renowned for its jazz and cigars.
The Lamb is dark and heavy to tartan. A glance at the bar reveals that this is a place that takes its whisky seriously. Hair of dog, anyone? Pale faces take on a definite green tinge. Lime and sodas, all round then. Lots of fireplaces - this is definitely more of a winter place rather than summer.
Our request to sit outside is met with some surprise. It is a rather chilly day for July, but we are clearly in need of fresh air and are prepared to brave it. The menu arrives. Such joy. It all sounds delicious in a comforting, undemanding sort of way. Roasts dominate the Sunday menu - we just know that the meat will be a serious cut above the average.
My loin of pork arrives - one smell and my mouth is watering. The meat is sliced thinly and fairly well-cooked (some might say over-cooked, but it was still moist and the flavour was superb). Mustardy mash was perfectly flavoured and the accompanying cabbage came with bits of smoky bacon. The wonderful gravy was divine.Roast beef had great flavour too and came with the most enormous Yorkshire puddings ever.
This was great, delicious British food at its very best. Cooked simply, the quality ingredients sung out. No need to fancy presentation or artistry. It simply smelt and tasted divine.
The best surprise was the bill. Admittedly, we stuck to those lime and sodas and we didn't have any extras. But the bill was £30 for three. Just the ticket. Those accompanying me will be disappointed if I don't say this one more time: 'it was great value for money'.
We headed to Longleat fully satisfied. Hangovers long forgotten.
The Lamb Inn, Hindon, Wiltshire SP36DP
Tel - 01747b 820 573
Home Farm Shop, Tarrant Gunville, Near Blandford Forum, Dorset