No there hasn’t been an angelic sighting – it’s a pub. But the big question is: Do they serve the best Sunday roast in Britain? Answer: Possibly!
On our recent trip through Wiltshire we had a recommendation to eat at The Angel. Expecting to walk into a sleepy pub with a handful of locals guarding the door from the comforts of the bar, we were in fact presented with a hive of activity (overwhelming considering we had not seen a soul as we walked through the village, even with it’s 600 residents) and actually you could have been forgiven for thinking you had in fact stepped into a London pub; the only ‘rural’ assurance was the row of wellies casually left in front of the fire to dry (they would have gone in a second in the city).
Asking at the bar for a table of two we were asked if we had made a booking (we guess our raised eyebrows gave away the fact that we hadn’t). They were fully booked! But as you find when travelling around the countryside, folk take care of you and will go out of their way to help, so with a bit of investigation (and thanks to the two ladies who finished early and had just left) we were on our way to our table, presented with a 2- or 3-course Sunday menu option.
Looking around, the décor is a bit hit and miss. Chunky wooden tables work well with the exposed brick and support beams, the high-back leather chairs are comfortable, if not too modern, and we were not sold on the wood cabinet that held an array of glassware nor the rather odd mixture of ornaments dotted around the place, as if someone went a little bit crazy at a car boot sale. But it’s a matter of opinion and personal taste. To be honest, it’s the only negative we can mention.
Having had a late breakfast we went for the 2-course main and dessert option. With an extensive wine list we settled for a wintery bottle of red, a lovely 2012 Malbec from Argentina. The staff were very friendly and helpful with any questions we had on the menu, and they even ran over to take our mains order so that we wouldn’t be stuck behind a large order…it’s these little things that make you feel welcome.
So we first saw the food as starters were delivered to a nearby table, and our jaws dropped. We had never seen portions like this outside of the US. Everything looked great and we couldn’t wait to taste what they call ‘The Main Event’. Ell had ordered the rare roasted beef & Yorkshire pudding, Drew went with the roast shoulder of pork, apple sauce and crackling.
Our food started to arrive and just kept coming, filling up the table. The Yorkshire pudding was enormous! We also had a selection of sides – cauliflower cheese, broccoli, carrots, cabbage and a parsnip mash – plus gravy and sauces. I was a teenager the last time someone served me cauliflower cheese (so much more flavour than white sauce) and I would happily bring it back to menus tomorrow…move over mac and cheese!
Clearly we didn’t get through the entire main course, and the potatoes were the size of a clenched fist, so after a well-deserved break we were ready to contemplate desserts. Everything sounded amazing. From a hot chocolate & peanut butter pot with toffee ice cream to bourbon baked bananas with salted caramel, pecans and vanilla ice cream! The choice was too hard so we asked our waitresses for her favourite; sticky toffee pudding (Drew’s also). So we ordered one toffee pudding and warm carrot cake with cream cheese ice cream served with a carrot cake jam. Whoever thought to turn a traditional carrot cake into a warm dessert extravaganza needs a medal. Actually anyone who attempts and finishes a 3-course meal at The Angel should also get a medal!
Delicious! Succulent! Flavoursome! Tantalising! Relaxing! Welcoming! We can’t praise you enough. And we might have to say that the crunch on that pork crackling could possibly have been heard in the next county. The perfect way to spend a leisurely Sunday lunch with a nice bottle of red, and good company of course.
The downside? It’s a 2-hour drive from London (although if we lived locally we would be the size of a house). The upside? Any future trip that can be re-routed via Heytesbury will mean an advance booking. We can’t wait to get back there and try more of this delicious menu.