Crooked Billet, Newton Longville

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Square Meal Review of Crooked Billet, Newton Longville ?

Serious passion goes into the running of this charming country pub which is something of a dream come true for husband and wife team John and Emma Gilchrist. Sharing an enthusiasm for quality sourcing, the two have created a winning combination of bold but wholesome cooking, courtesy of Emma’s assured handling of seasonal local ingredients, and wines of rare and genuine appeal from master sommelier John’s blockbuster of a wine list, which enhances the experience further by offering each of the near 325 wines by the glass for perfect matches with each course. Menu descriptions can sometimes hint at busy flavours but the sound execution of dishes eschews complication so that the different taste elements are brought together in a fine balance. For instance, a starter of pan-fried scallops has a lively sweet chilli and tomato jam that's toned down by creamy creme fraiche. For every far-flung influence – Szechuan-spiced pork belly to start, lemon and mint couscous with the swordfish at main – there are also home-spun dishes like roast chicken with spring onion mash and savoy cabbage or pork loin with apple, black pudding and prune compote.

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