After several nudges from our readers, we were pushed inexorably in the direction of Exton this week to pay a visit to The Shoe Inn. We had tried to visit several times over the Winter, but both times found it full to bursting. This time I had the foresight to book a table, so nothing could stand in our way, although we did get a tiny bit lost on the way.
Due to the obvious popularity of this pub, parking can be a minor issue, but luck was with us and we secured what may have been the last space. This is a pretty pub, in the pretty countryside, with a pretty river running nearby, so if you like pretty, you're off to a good start. As I mentioned, it is always busy here, so do book. This is a prime argument for the power of diversification. What was once a traditional country pub, has now become more of a pub come restaurant, with the entirety of the space given over to accommodate eaters of food. This said, it still retains some of that old country pub charm. You are never going to get a table to yourself in a nice quiet corner, but we got the next best thing, a table in the corner without the quiet bit.
The menu was clearly of a high spec, with starters between £5 and £8 and mains averaging around the £14 mark. Whilst I debated with myself over the fish tacos, the onion, chickpea and coriander falafel or the Korean chicken burger with sweet potato fries, Dad had already made his mind up. He was to go with one of his favourites, ham, egg and chips at £10 from memory. I eventually picked the burger, having never really had much to do with Korean food. This came in at £13.
Our drinks order was taken at the table, nice bonus. We were then brought some homemade bread with a generous pot of butter, extra bonus points. We ordered food and lo it arrived. My burger was a monster. Bursting out from the confines of its bun, a feat of organic engineering was required to lift it to my mouth. For a moment I feared a collapse of burger society, but balance was found and the first bite was taken. It was good, very good. Inside the bread was a substantial peace of chicken, juicy in the middle and coated with crispy crumbs. This was topped with tomato and pineapple. After carefully placing the rest of the burger down, it was on to the sweet potato fries. They were also very good, and homemade, which is very rare for fries of the sweet potato family. Dad wasn't quite as impressed with his meal. It was good, but not of the same ilk as my choice. The chips were homemade , the side salad was nicely dressed and the ham and eggs were good. Incidentally, the bread was excellent. I particularly appreciated being given a good amount of butter.
Just over the road from the pub, is a lovely beer garden. We retired here after eating to discuss. Some of the service we encountered was perfect, other parts slightly less so. My food was five star, Dad's more four. The prices are about what you would expect for high end pub food, and the bread is a nice touch. Personally I felt the tables were a little too close to each other, but that's a personal thing. This is without question a high quality foodie pub selling wonderful and imaginative food. I would love to come here in the Summer and eat in the beer garden with the sound of the river in my ears. It's certainly worth a visit, but do book ahead.