You know the drill; there’s a family birthday, your brother lives somewhere ‘over that way’ and you’re thinking of a pub somewhere in-between to meet up for a meal and good old chinwag. Luckily for my clan, that place happened to be a beautiful 18th Century gastropub called The Vernon (aptly named after the geezer who owned the nearby Hanbury Hall according to the website), located somewhere in the middle of the quaint village of Hanbury. I’d been to the pub a few years back, again to meet my bro, and had enjoyed an incredible meal, so I was quite excited to be going back when I finally realised where we were going (I’d mistakenly chosen what three course meal I was going to have at a pub about six miles down the road – whoops).
The car park was pretty chocka upon arrival, which for a pub that is, in my estimation ‘in the sticks’ was a good sign. We were seated in a lovely old side room called Hogwarts for the evening, styled with heavy, carved wooden chairs, low hanging lights and old pictures of what the pub looked like back in the day. I of course went straight into eyeing up the menu and quizzing the waitress on what exactly on the menu was gluten and milk free, to which she went off to fetch the chef. He came back a few minutes later to ask me what dishes I was fancying and specifying what adjustments he could make to ensure I could eat it. I was over the moon to discover that they provided vegan butter and gluten free bread, so I opted for the homemade soup and a duck dish from off the daily specials menu.
The soup arrived with four slices of bread and lashings of vegan butter on the side. From first sight you could tell that it was homemade as it was so deliciously thick, and the taste was so good I managed to polish off every last spoonful. I have to admit I didn’t ask what flavour it was as I was so psyched for soup on such as cold night – could have been butternut squash but who cares, it was bloody lovely!
Next up came the fillet of duck, served with cherries, roasted baby tatties, green beans and what I believe was some sort of red wine jus. Now I’m quite picky with duck because it can so often be chewy, but this one was cooked to perfection, so much so, that I could have eaten it all over again after a couple of hours rest if given the chance.
Around the table everyone was over the moon with their choices. Some of the other dishes ordered included a Prawn & Crayfish Cocktail – which could have easily served as a main dish due to its ginormous size – Breaded Portobello Mushroom which looked delightful, as well as another gigantic meal of North Atlantic Cod & Chips, plus an 8oz Venison Steak with all the trimmings. An Eton Mess was also consumed by the very happy Birthday girl!
Overall, the service and food at The Vernon provided for a delightful experience and in fact, my brother even took his friends there for another visit shortly after we went and provided an equally impressive review of the Sunday dinner. If you’re in the area, needing a place to stay or simply fancy driving out into the countryside for the day, I’d recommend The Vernon without a shadow of a doubt.