Food review: Tally Ho Inn serves up warm welcome
Shropshire has suffered terribly following the two recent storms. Residents have had to be evacuated from their homes, shops and other businesses have been under water for as long as two weeks and some look to be waterlogged for a time to come.
On top of the millions of pounds it will cost for restoration, and many people were unable to get insurance because of past floods, there is the trauma suffered by all those individuals affected.
It is heart-breaking to watch as filthy, dirty water surges into your property and there is nothing you can to do avoid it.
And I speak from experience. But nowhere near as bad as so may people in Shrewsbury, Ironbridge and Bridgnorth.
I have a stream that burbles along at around three to four inches deep for most of the year. It came up a lot during Storm Ciara and I breathed s sigh of relief. But Storm Dennis was a storm trooper and the water did not stop rising.
After being badly flooded in 2007, I had specialist storm barriers built for doors, a membrane put round the outside and built up stream banks and a defence wall.
But Dennis was a menace and the water force was so strong it started to breech the rear door defence. Luckily we realised what was happening and managed to staunch it before very long. But by then there was plenty of water in the cottage. Luckily I am insured but facing months camping out in the cottage kitchen is very depressing.
When I heard experts tell me the damage was worse than I imagined, I started to fall apart a little. But not as much as so many others must be feeling.
And that news was the reason my recently acquired live-in partner took me out for a meal (and some wine) to cheer me up.
A few weeks ago he took my pooch out for a long walk and ended up at The Tally Ho Inn at Boulden, a few miles from my home and was so exhausted he asked me to pick them both up.
Off I trotted and viisted the pub where I once, a long, long time ago, won the mixed doubles pool tournament in the Corvedale league. And let me tell you that was a pure freak.
I joined him at the bar for a drink and had a very pleasant coversation with the landlady who made me very welcome, as if I was a regular.
The pub welcomes muddy walkers and dogs along with children. And it is a real welcome.
I used to go to the pub fairly regularly way back when but it closed for a while around 2006 and when it eventually reopened I had fallen out of the habit of calling by – although it is quite remote.
If you take my recommendation and pay this traditional country pub a visit, don’t be put off by your journey down twisting narrow lanes as this free house is well worth making the effort for its range of quality real ales and good value meals.
And on the real ale front, it was voted Pub of the Season Autumn 2019 by the local CAMRA branch from Bridgnorth. And my partner can attest to the quality of the ale.
The Tally is set in a quiet little hamlet, surrounded by farmland and by many walking routes. If you really want to step out, try doing the Three Castle Walk (around 11 miles) stopping off at The Tally Ho to whet your whistle and re-fuel.
It is open plan with a bar area complete with dart board as you enter and on to more of a resturant area with log burner and access to a beautiful garden with superb views across the Corvedale.
So after leaving a soggy house on another miserable evening, he drove me (and the hound) to the Tally for some pub food and a little something to put the glow back inside. Once again we were greeted like regulars, as was our four-legged friend Jack.
Drinks and menus in hand we went into the restaurant area. Dogs are welcomed throughout and as the landlady explained, it’s a pub and open plan so why ban them?
Now don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy gatsro pubs (as I do fine dining restaurants) but there is little more relaxing and comforting than going to a traditional pub, especially one in the country, where you can get decent pub food and a drink that won’t break the bank.
At the Tally Ho you certainly get good pub grub at a very fair price. There’s a decent selection on a regular menu that does change regularly and a special’s board.
We went for two starters and a main off the regular menu, and a main off the specials board.
We had both wanted the same main – pan fried lamb’s liver, onions and smoked bacon with mash and red cabbage – but there was no liver on!
To start, I had pan fried black pudding with a fried egg and HP sauce. Now black pudding is not everyone’s favourite, but I love it. However it does have to be ‘proper’ made by a butcher. And this black pudding is. The Tally believes in buying locally and it does, from several producers.
The egg was deep yellow and runny, delicious, and the HP a perfect complement.
Clive had one of his all-time favourite starters – deep fried breaded whitebait with tartare sauce and a wedge of lemon. Fleshy fish with a nice crunchy coating.
I needed comfort and so I went for the six ounce steak burger. Juicy meat in a toasted brioche bun, topped with cheddar and smoked bacon. So tasty and just what I needed. It arrived on a wooden platter with onion rings and a BBQ dip plus a basket of perfect chips. Sadly I could not eat even half the chips, although an effort was made to help me from across the table.
The other main off the specials board was homemade lamb casserole with mash and red cabbage. The aroma of the creamy dish was tantalising and the lamb was tender. The mash still had texture and the red cabbage was a hit although “not as good as mine” said the diner.
Both feeling full, we couldn’t resist apple pie to finish – a deep pie with chunks of fruit and a light pastry.
Clive, of course, sampled a pint of real ale, and I had some Jack Rabbit Merlot – served in a Jack Rabbit glass – and both drinks at prices 20-25 per cent cheaper than most bars.
A lovely evening with plenty of chat with the landlady (and I managed a cuddle with her gorgeous Staffie) and other customers. I didn’t feel quite as bad when I opened my front door on my return home.
I have to go back for the liver, it’s one of my ultimate favourite dishes. But I will check it’s on the menu and available.
Thai cod & prawn fish cake with sweet chilli sauce, salad leaves and lemon, £5.50
Soup of the day with a warm crusty roll and butter, £5.50
Vegan cauliflower bang bang with rice and salad, £9.50
Pan fried lamb’s liver with onion and smoked bacon gravy, creamed potatoes and red cabbage, £9.50
10oz gammon steak, chips, mushrooms, tomato, egg and salad, £11
Sticky toffee pudding, £5.50
Cheecake of the day, £5.50
Sherry trifle, £5.50
TALLY HO INN