I love a good pub! For me, a good pub has to have a roaring open fire, a good selection of wines and ales, a good pub menu, which must have a curry and pie on offer, a friendly landlady or landlord and is preferably not a chain, as these tend to be either too bland or too trendy and gimmicky!
Also nowadays I tend to seek out ones that are both dog and family friendly too, so you can call in after a long walk or pop in for an impromptu family mid week tea.
Unfortunately, we have seen many of our locals close recently; a big blow for us was the closing of both The Pelican and the Golden Mile within just a few weeks of each other. Both of which were our frequent haunts.
But, I was really pleased to hear that the Lamb and Flag in Wick, was going to be a new venture for husband and wife team Ceri and John, who run the very successful and ‘special’ restaurant Arbennig and the Arbennig Emporium in Pontcana. You may have seen that it was on my list of places to visit in Wales in 2017.
We called in on a recent Saturday for a spot of lunch. We got there for 12 o’clock so we were pretty much the first ones through the door, and we were shown to our table by the very welcoming owner.
The former coaching inn dates back to the 16th century and oozes character with its exposed brick, lovely open log fire and quaint little stone windows. Our table was in the lounge area and we weren’t there long before we were joined by fellow diners ensuring a nice atmosphere in a cosy setting.
We had brought our colouring in supplies for the little ones (we tend to leave a bag in the car for impromptu stops) but it was nice to be offered colouring in pencils and activity sheets by the waiting staff. Little touches like that, along with the plastic beakers and curly straws, show how family friendly they are.
Being there for lunch, we decided to go straight for the main meals with no starters, and as always I had an internal battle as to whether to opt for the curry or the pie!
It wasn’t a huge menu, which always gives me more confidence of the food being freshly prepared, but there was still plenty of choice of pub classics including scampi, steak and ale pie, burger, chicken curry and faggots to name a few. There was also a lighter lunch menu with sandwiches on offer.
The Little Lambs kids menu had a choice of sausages, chicken or fish goujons. All three of ours chose the sausages! I opted for the pie and my husband chose the burger. The pie comes with mash, but as I was in the mood for chips, they swapped it for me, no problem.
When my pie came it was served in a square bowl, a fully encased pie, topped with vibrant peas and lashings of thick dark welsh gravy with big fat chunky crispy chips piled high.
All I can say is that I am glad I chose the pie, it was rammed with tender beef and the pastry was melt in the mouth with a bit of a crunch, and despite the oodles of gravy somehow managed to not get at all soggy. Whilst tempted to try the curry next time it’s going to be hard to say no to the pie!
It was also nice to have a fully encased pie rather than just the pastry top that many seem to do. The chips were just as chips should be, crisp on the outside and nice and fluffy in the centre.
My husbands burger was stacked high with a juicy burger at it’s centre, topped with bacon, melted cheese and a ragu sauce. It’s wasn’t your normal pub type burger, it was much more of a gourmet burger of restaurant standard.
The kids meals were devoured without complaint, but the showstopper for them was the ice-cream sundae. Vanilla ice-cream topped with chocolate sauce and cream with wafer biscuits.
Whilst I was way too full from the pie, my husband could not resist the calling of the After Eight desert. A rich chocolate mousse served with fresh mint ice-cream, shards of dark chocolate and gratings of dark chocolate to give it that bit of crunch. It was seriously good (I ended up tucking into it quite a bit) and a nice way to finish off a very good meal.
It’s early days for the Lamb and Flag, having only opened its doors in January, so it will be exciting to see how it develops and how the owners take it forward.
Although they clearly have already put their own stamp on it in terms of the food, which is all about reasonably priced pub classics, but with elevated dishes way above what you would usually expect from a local pub.
From speaking to the owner, they have been listening to the feedback from their customers in terms of what they like, which shows their commitment to pleasing their customers both old and new.
The Lamb and Flag was certainly a hit as far as we are concerned. It’s nice to have a pub close by which is so full of character, has a lovely log inglenook fire, friendly staff (and locals) and serves up unpretentious pub classics, which are freshly cooked and pack a punch in terms of flavour.
My only complaint if I’m honest is that I would have preferred for them to have taken over the Golden Mile or The Pelican, as then it would be even closer to us!
Family Friendly Rating: *****
High Chairs – Yes
Baby Changing –No
Childrens Menu – Yes
Other Info: N/A