The Griffin @ Bowdon

kofta.jpg When you ask for tea at the end of a meal, more often than not you get a strange reaction as if tea is an outlandish thing to be consumed. Surely there must be some mistake – you meant to say coffee, says the quizzical expression of the waiting staff.
So it was a welcome change to be presented with a tray of containers of loose leaf tea and be urged to sample the frangrance of each and be offered some advice about their different qualities.
This refreshing change from the norm was rushed to the table following a very traditional meal at The Griffin pub in Bowden.
With its recently re-vamped menu, The Griffin is offering diners some British favourites from steaks to smoked fish and a smattering of vegetarian options.
Following a re-furbishment last year, this large pub and restaurant is spread across a stylish and airy interior with solid tables, stripped floors and a colour scheme which would be at home in Delia Smith’s kitchen.
We started with the least traditional sounding option for starters – garlic pesto mushrooms(£4.20) for him and lamb kofta(£4.45) for me.
The lamb was a generous portion and well spiced with middle-eastern flavours although the pitta was a little tough and too chewy to complete.
Once the mound of mushrooms had been tackled, it revealed a toast base and was garlicky enough for a room full of diners to enjoy for some hours.
We accompanied this with a good bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja and a pint of Green King IPA which was one of a good selection of beers on offer along with old favourite Timothy Taylor.
Although the menu offered a reasonable selection of fish we were unfortunate to have followed a large party of fish eaters into the pub who had managed to gobble their way through the entire stocks of sea bass.
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Feeling I was getting second choice I plumped for the smoked haddock on a bed of black pudding mash (£8.95).
I wasn’t disappointed for long – the subtley smoked fish was generous in size, well-cooked and complemented by the creamy mash and crisp veg.
A traditional option for him with a sirloin steak(£10.55) – perfectly cooked to taste and accompanied with a tomato gratin, crisp onion rings, generous mushroom and, of course, chips. It was a meal whioch was good for its understatement – no shouting but a pleasing whole.
From the sumptuous selection of deserts we chose the most indulgent option of chocolate sponge(£4.45) served with custard and ice-cream on a trio of plates which looked good enough to be photographed for a magazine. And it was this which we enjoyed with an unusual ginger tea, chosen after mush sampling and deliberation from the tray selection presented.
The service was attentive and knowledgeable with the waiter more than happy to advise on our choices, but it turned out to be several hours before our meal was completed with the tea.
Between every course there was an overly long wait and, while the food was worth waiting for and the company good, the delays mean that popping for a quick bite to eat is unlikely to ever be an option here.
The Griffin is at Stamford Road, Bowdon, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 2TP. 0161 928 1211
See more pictures and share your own foodie photos at the Life through food Flickr group.

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