Paul Naylor takes his children for a teatime treat and discovers a new friend on the block.
At a time when pub closures are reported on a seemingly weekly basis, it is always nice to report on the opening of a new establishment. It is even more so when the venture is at the hub of a developing community.
Telford is still often referred to as a new town, being around just 50 years old – a pup in terms of the UK. And it is an area that continues to develop.
The ethos behind the new town’s creation carries on in the form of Lawley Village, an emerging development to the west of Telford with housing, schools, shops and sports venues sprouting up everywhere.
A shiny new supermarket has been built to feed the families and alongside it, for those looking to have a meal out or a refreshing drink, so too has a pub.
Described by Marstons as a rotisserie pub restaurant, The Grazing Cow is a family orientated meeting place, rooted in the traditions of a community pub with all the bells and whistles of a contemporary hostelry.
The Grazing Cow opened at the beginning of February. Served by a long narrow car park, fringed with fresh turf, it is clearly brand spanking new.
On the approach to the building my children appreciated the wire mesh cow statuette, with its changing colours giving off a welcoming glow on a drab February evening.
A children’s playground was amusing other children, but I convinced mine that it was time to go inside.
On entrance, to the left is a relatively small bar area. The focus is obviously on dining and while waiting to be seated I noticed the rotisserie, with its signature chickens slowly turning for all to see.
We were guided to our table in one of the dining zones. The pub is vast with plenty of tables and combinations for all sizes of parties. Considering it had just turned 5.30pm, the place was packed.
It was as if The Grazing Cow had been established for many a year, enjoying a loyal following. Were these curious locals, passing trade or soon to be regulars? Only time will tell.
Looking around, the pub is decorated with quirky imagery on the walls. Facing the wall behind me, my children commented on the pictures of clothed animals. Their attention shifted to a framed photo of a familiar caped crusader and sidekick.
I tried to explain to Matthew and Rachel that the picture behind them of a stout, hefty Batman and gangly Robin was not from the ‘old days’ of the comic book hero, but from a comedy series they hadn’t heard of called Only Fools and Horses. God, they’re young – or rather I’m getting old.
Unlike many family pubs, service takes place at the table, rather than the bar. A pleasant young lady came over to us and took our drinks order and returned soon after with the beverages to note our starters and mains.
Being a Marstons pub, the choice of beer is good. My pint of Cockerhoop (£2.95) was a welcome change to the limited choice of gassy lagers or stout that some family pubs tend to offer. Matthew and Rachel had a glass of lemonade each (£1.85).
The starters arrived. My children shared a garlic bread (£1.65) while I opted for the jalapeno flamers (£3.95). My starter was delicious. The spicy peppers, filled with cooling cream cheese and covered in crisp breadcrumbs were served with a small mixed leaf salad and sour cream and chive dip.
Starters devoured, we waited for the mains. And waited. And waited.
Some time later, our meals arrived. It had been quite a wait but I put that down to the newness of the pub and probable inexperience of staff. Nonetheless, all staff were polite and their efforts to help noted.
Matthew and Rachel chose from the extensive children’s menu. Crispy chicken dippers, chips and beans (£3.99) soon disappeared from Matthew’s plate. Rachel’s cheese and tomato pizza, chips and crunchy salad sticks (£4.49) went down well too.
For grown ups, the choice is pretty impressive. Choose from an array of sandwiches, clubs, wraps, light bites, salads and baked potatoes for a snack. Larger meals include spicy curries, wide range of pub favourites, fish and steaks.
The menu flags up two key areas that are definitely worth exploring. Gourmet burgers come with a choice of meat, bun, toppings and dip and look great. I was torn, but in the end opted for the fresh rotisserie chicken.
Priced £8.75, the meal is served simply as a half chicken with a choice of sauce, side and potato/rice dish. My chicken came with triple shot pepper and blue cheese sauce, homemade coleslaw and sweet potato fries (£1 supplement). It proved to be a good choice and had been worth the wait.
I finished with a tasty Irish cream and caramel cheesecake, served with ice cream (£3.75), while my children both loved their chocolate brownie desserts (£1.35 each). The total bill came in at a reasonable £36.93.
With a fantastic menu packed with plenty of options, I would recommend The Grazing Cow to families looking for an enjoyable meal out. As for the folk of Lawley Village, it’s definitely time to pop in to meet your new neighbour. No cup of sugar required.