Rutland is within range of our Campervan, so I expect we’ll be wobbling round the pond there quite a bit. We might even visit all the pubs in the “county”, and there’s bigger hardships in life.
There’s a stereotypical Rutland pub with ivy on the walls, hunting pictures and Barbour-jacketed diners. Oakham’s newest pub on a half-finished housing estate follows a rather different trend.
My journeys along the A6 and A50 take me past a dozen such Marston dining pubs, which are much more identikit than the much maligned Wetherspoon chain. This is one of those 2-for-1 places where the 1 costs £15 for a dish worth £7.50, but old folk like a bargain.
I don’t mind that, old folk like familiarity, and they bring decent real ale to the masses. To be honest there may be a bit more cask sold here than in some Spoons, despite Timbo’s best intentions.
Offering well known brands helps Marstons, and Pedigree is still a respected beer in the Midlands. Okells will be viewed as a daring purchase by the average OAP visitor to the Buttercross.
I wasn’t daring, I had the Pedigree, which met the main criterion of cool (NBSS 3). Good enough for the Beer Guide, in fact, though I can’t see hordes of beer tickers diverting off the A1 for this when the Grainstore Tap (and Bass memorabilia) is five minutes away.
The Buttercross was doing very well on a warm midweek lunchtime, with grandparents wearing out their toddlers on the sort of play area I wish I’d had at the age of four.
Back to type a few miles away into Rutland Water’s straggle of villages. Following the sound of gunshot, we finally arrived at North Luffenham’s Fox. It attempted to annoy me with it’s “Country Pub & Dining” banner, but that’s what people want, and I couldn’t really fault the Oakham JHB (NBSS 3.5).
Service is a bit too formal, and the pub a bit too clinical for my tastes, but you’ll know by now how much I enjoy the drama of gentlefolk arguing over who pays the bill. I suspect Mrs RM will make me return for lunch.
That may just be Rutland for another year.
QUIZ TIME – Foxy ladies, but what did it say on the Gents ?