It was my wife’s idea to pop into The Wheel at Worfield to finally see what the pub and restaurant was all about.
The venue had always looked so welcoming from the outside, nicely refurbished – a few years ago now, I believe – inside with a nice seating area too, where families and couples could take in some of the late autumn sunshine before heading inside for food.
Having never stepped foot in the pub we had no idea what to expect. We had had a quick glimpse at the menu online but other than that we were going in blind.
My wife, Kelly, and I had booked for 3pm on a Saturday because we thought our five-year-old daughter, Annabelle, would be hungry enough to eat nicely but not so hungry she would be screaming the place down before we even ordered. It worked out pretty well.
First impressions were how nicely laid out the venue was. There was lots of space and plenty of room between the tables – you certainly didn’t have to worry about eating on top of each other.
We were given a corner table, which meant Annabelle could spread out her colouring books, etc, while we had a closer look at the food and drinks menus.
One section that did stand out was the specials board, which changes on a regular basis but has a big focus around fish dishes. I was pretty sure I’d be ordering from that but still continued to browse just in case.
None of the food was cheap but at the same time certainly not over-priced. And we were soon to discover the portion sizes were some of the biggest we had come across, but it was all quality food and not just dumped on the plate for the sake of it. If anything, the presentation was as good as the food itself.
After ordering an ale, wine and fruit shoot we decided to share two starters between all three of us.
Bread and olives, soup of the day, prawn cocktail and duck liver parfait were some of the options, as well as halloumi kebabs, chickpea salsa and red pepper coulis for those who fancied something a bit different.
In the end we went for the crab cake with lobster cream sauce, and black pudding bon bons with a chorizo salad.
The crab cake was delicious. It was just one but it was large enough to share, and came with a nice crispy coating and a soft, tasty filling.
The lobster sauce also went really well along with the chopped cucumber, onion and tomatoes, which all helped to make a nice salsa-style accompaniment.
The bon bons also came with a lovely, crispy coating, which gave way to the slightly-spicy filling. It perhaps didn’t even need the chorizo in the salad but it did give the starter some extra bite. All in all, a very nice way to start the meal.
The main menu included a lot of variation alongside some of the more usual fare. There was certainly something to suit all tastes.
Deli sharing platters included a fish board of oak-smoked salmon, mackerel paté, cod goujons, battered king prawns, aioli, cucumber relish and Mediterranean breads – which sounded absolutely superb.
Lamb shank, duo of pork with black pudding, winter vegetable pie – which again was very tempting – and a mushroom, leek and artichoke tart could all be found in the house specials section, and then there were the Wheel Classics, such as steak and ale pie, fish and chips, scampi and lasagne, all served with a choice of potatoes and fresh vegetables, unless otherwise stated. Again, they were all very reasonably priced too.
As well as the usual steaks and burgers, the salads were also very intriguing, so much so Kelly decided to order the The Wheel Greek Salad, which came with grilled aubergine, cherry and sun-blushed tomatoes, cucumber, red peppers, olives, red onion and feta cheese over mixed salad leaves, all served with a zesty lemon, mint and turmeric dressing. She also added some chicken.
In her words, the portion was enormous, but the salad was beautifully presented, with a great variety and texture of foods, along with plenty of colour and taste.
There was a little too much olive oil and dressing for her liking, but it was only a small criticism.
She didn’t think a salad could be too filling but it certainly was, so much so we eventually swapped dishes half way through, so she could taste some of my fish dish, as the specials board had really turned my eye. It included pan-roasted breast of duck, confit duck leg and shredded duck croquettes, served with a poivrade sauce and a medley of vegetables.
And supreme of roasted chicken with a stuffing of mushroom and spinach mousseline, served with a rich red wine sauce with smoked bacon, peral onions and herbs, with parsley mash and a medley of vegetables.
Either of those would have done for me but once again it was the fish dishes that appealed most and included:
Medallions of monkfish cooked in a mildly-spiced balti sauce with sweet potato and chickpeas, served with basmati rice and homemade flatbread.
Pan-baked supreme of hake served over a bed of tagliatelle, spinach and prawns in a creamy saffron sauce.
Pan-seared fillets of bass with asparagus, lemon and parmesan sauce, with crab and dill pilaf rice.
It was such a hard decision but as we were catching the last of the summer sun, and the starters had been pretty healthy portions, I went for something a little lighter, which was paupiette of plaice stuffed with prawns, egg and herbs, served with new potatoes, steamed green vegetables and finished with a white wine velouté sauce.
The fish was superb and came served exactly how I had hoped it would. It was perfectly cooked, light and not overdone, which can often be the case.
When it broke away, the meat was fluffy and the filling went really well. I couldn’t taste much of the prawn but it didn’t matter in the slightest – and served with the crispy vegetables and new potatoes, it was the perfect size. Delicious.
The children’s menu was very reasonably priced too but nothing could have prepared us for the size of the meal.
Annabelle went for the mac ‘n’ cheese, which came served with garlic bread and salad.
Each kid’s meal also includes either a side of beans or peas, as well as a choice of potato. Annabelle went for peas and chips.
The best part of her meal was that it was not dry in the slightest. Like most parents we have been to certain places where a cheesy pasta dish has been left on the side for far too long, turning dry, crispy and frankly tasteless.
That was not the case at The Wheel as ample amounts of sauce ensured the meal stayed tasty throughout.
However, and this is not really a complaint as such, an entire bowl of chips accompanied her already-large meal. It was simply too much, despite us all getting involved in the end, so perhaps it would save on food waste if that was looked into.
Overall it was a wonderful, relaxed afternoon where the staff were once again all friendly and really went out of their way to make us feel welcome, with a mixture of table service and ordering at the bar.
Another place I’d recommend popping into, especially as it sits on the border of Shropshire, not far from the Black Country, meaning it’s only a fairly short drive out for most of us.
The Wheel at Worfield,
Star rating: 4/5
Tel: 01746 716392