With two children under the age of four, it’s often easier to default to a chain pub when eating out.
Like most children, mine are partial to a chicken nugget and can’t sit still for longer than a few minutes.
But with a desire to support local pubs and a keenness to find somewhere a little off the beaten track, we decided to brave somewhere we hadn’t been before.
The Wheel and Compass in Weston-by-Welland came highly recommended and its menu is online, so you can check whether there’s anything your picky little eaters won’t turn their noses up at before you go.
When we arrived at 5.30pm on a Saturday, there were already lots of people in one of several cosy dining areas.
A major plus point is that you choose off the menu and then order at the bar, meaning the children with ants in their pants don’t have to wait for a waitress to come and take your order.
We placed our drinks and food order at the bar and the children went outside to play.
There were swings, a climbing frame and slide and plenty of other equipment to keep them occupied. The little play area overlooks open countryside so it’s a lovely place to sit and watch them.
There’s a toy box full of things to do and there’s also free wi-fi so if you get desperate, the children can even watch some Peppa Pig while they wait.
The food and drinks arrived quickly. My eldest had a very generous 4oz rump steak, chips and vegetables.
He’s not a great eater, despite my best attempts to feed him all the finger foods his heart could desire from the age of six months, but he managed to eat most of the large steak and most of the chips.
He declared it “muncho-licious”!
My one-year-old had tasty chicken strips in breadcrumbs, chips and veg.
There were no reformed-chicken products in sight – these were real chicken breasts and tasted delicious.
Both children’s meals were priced at a very reasonable £4.95.
They were clearly freshly-made, the meat was tasty and the chips were chunky.
I had a large portion of chicken pie topped with puff pastry, chips and vegetables priced at £7.95. Again, it was freshly-made and very tasty.
My husband ate a slow-roasted lamb shank which came roasted in rosemary red wine with mashed potatoes.
It was well-cooked and priced at £10.25, which is fairly expensive but the meat was a good size.
The dessert menu was extensive. My husband and I both had a very generously-proportioned sticky apple and caramel dessert and the children had ice cream.
Of course, my eldest dropped his straight on the floor.
A kind waitress cleaned him, and the floor, and brought him another bowl on the house.
It was fairly basic but very tasty food and we were pleased that there were lots of options for the children.
It’s a great place to eat with a family and there were no raised eyebrows from the other diners at the noise which the children inevitably made.
All in, with a small glass of wine, a pint of shandy and two children’s drinks, the bill was £45.
This is about £10 more than we would normally spend in a chain pub but the food was better and the service was more personal, so worth the extra few pounds.
SERVICE: Quick and polite
DISABLED ACCESS: Tight corners between tables
COST OF OUR MEAL: £45.35
KATE’S STAR RATING: 7/10