Dining out: the Telegraph, Moulton

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Do you remember the scene in the cult horror film An American Werewolf In London?

Clearly outsiders, the conversation in the pub instantly stops to the point where the only sound is that of a dart hitting a dartboard, captured in close-up by the director.

It wasn’t quite like that when my family and I visited the Telegraph in Moulton for a birthday dinner recently, but it wasn’t a million miles away from it.

The Telegraph is a pub that seems to be unable to decide what it wants to be. From the start, when you duck under its traditional low beams that have been decorated in a very modern style, that’s the case.

Which is a shame because the food is pretty good – if a little overpriced – and the restaurant that has been bolted on to the back of the main pub looks very elegant.

I say “looks” because the restaurant itself was actually closed.

I’d imagine that is pretty standard for a Monday night.

Instead, we opted to sit in the bar area. That wasn’t a problem but it was very quiet in there, with a handful of very regular regulars sat at the bar and looking somewhat intrigued by our presence.

If you listened carefully enough, I reckon you’d have heard a dart hit a dartboard somewhere.

We were given some menus by the very friendly barmaid, which were laminated and slightly sticky but contained a huge variety of dishes, all in the standard “pub grub” range.

Because we had the children with us – ages five and seven – we decided against starters (it didn’t feel like that kind of dining experience anyway) and went straight to the mains, which for me was a pulled pork Texas burger which came with some hefty hand-cut chips and a decent salad but was a little expensive at 5p short of £11.

The meat patty was not the biggest I’ve seen and the pulled pork was diced rather than the shredded stuff you see these days but it was all quite nice and there was certainly lots of it.

My wife had the courgette, onion, feta and pine nut tart served in a creamy pesto sauce, which tipped the scales at £11.95 but, I am told, was excellent.

Again, there was plenty of it.

It didn’t feel right to ask to see the wine list so, playing to the surroundings, we washed it down with a couple of pints of lager shandy (£3.45 a pop).

My eldest daughter opted for the Aberdeen angus burger (£4.95) and my youngest had the penne pasta in tomato sauce (£4.50). Both were very basic but well cooked dishes and they nearly polished off the generous portions.

They liked the pub but we were a little self conscious of how loud they were with no music to drown out their giggles, although the staff didn’t seem to mind.

I’m willing to give the Telegraph the benefit of the doubt.

The food was good and the staff were friendly but sitting in the bar area of what felt very much like a locals’ pub definitely affected the dining experience.

I’m convinced it would have been totally different in the restaurant and on a busier time of week.

A Sunday afternoon maybe.

At the moment it feels like it can’t really make its mind up between being a traditional village boozer or being a smart out-of-town eaterie.