I had a great meal the last time I visited Whitehouses in Retford, so was really looking forward to going back for a second visit.
As soon as you walk into the family run pub and restaurant you can’t help but be impressed by the surroundings.
At the entrance squashy armchairs surround a fireplace, and the bar area with its high stools is bright and relaxed.
We placed a drink order at the bar and were given some time to look at the menu.
My husband had been looking forward to the real ales. He had a pint of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, a well turned out national favourite.
But he found the selection uninspiring, with three very similar bitters being the only choices. I had a perfectly nice glass of house white wine.
Working our way through the menus was no mean feet, as in addition to the regular menu there was a specials board full of tempting dishes.
There really is something for everyone with a wide selection of meat, fish and game and some good vegetarian options as well.
Decisions have never been my strong point and it took me three visits to the specials board to make up my mind.
In the end I went for the mini seafood platter followed by pork medallions in a madeira and mushroom sauce.
My husband opted for whitebait, with hake in a seafood sauce with brown shrimp, queen scallops, mussels and prawns as a main.
The main courses came with the option of chips or new potatoes and salad or veg. Not fancying either, I asked if I could have mash with mine and was told that wouldn’t be a problem.
Once the waitress had taken our food order we were led to out table in the dining room.
It wasn’t long before our starters arrived. My mini seafood platter was far from mini.
For £8.50 it had two battered fish goujons, two queen scallops, smoked salmon, a mini prawn cocktail and a mini dish of mussels complete with a dipping pot of homemade tartar sauce.
It was a very generous portion and a great value for the price. It was also the perfect starter for the indecisive.
The whitebait (£5)was also served with homemade tartar sauce. The fish was delicious with a strong flavour and crisp coating and a the addition of a side salad was a welcome touch.
The success continued with our mains. The medallions of pork (£14.50)were well cooked and the madeira and mushroom sauce was fantastic.
The hake in a seafood sauce (£15.50)was also very good. The seafood sauce was delicious, with just the right level of richness to compliment but not overwhelm perfectly cooked fish.
The chips and mash were both excellent and the vegetable selection of carrot and swede mash, cabbage and cauliflower was refreshingly varied compared with the usual steamed carrots and peas.
The portions were very generous, and we were unable to finish all of the veg, and despite being tempted neither of us had any room left to attempt desert.
This would have been a five star review, but for a couple of things.
The room was so hot that it made both of us feel a little ill, and we both had to step outside for fresh air during our meal. Another table asked if the heating could be turned down and it did begin to cool just as we were leaving.
We also had a 15 minute wait for our bill. Despite them being busy and with just two staff - it was still too long.
But for two courses and two drinks each, when it did arrive, the £56 bill was more than reasonable.
by Claire O’Neill