THE PLACE: When we walked into the Mucky Duck a couple of months ago it was love at first sight. An old man’s boozer with a modern, arty twist, it’s exactly what we look for in a place to hang out in and catch up with friends. We tested the food within the first week of the menu being drawn up and it was incredible, so having given them a month or so to settle in, we thought it time to deliver our official verdict.
THE MEAL: We pop in at lunchtime and there’s an instant bonus in the form of four starters for a tenner. Never being ones to turn our nose up at the chance for gluttony on the business card we dive right in. The soup of the day (£3.50) is a winter warmer – butternut squash and chili – all fresh and earthy. The pork paté (£3.50) doesn’t feel unhealthy like some paté can. It’s light but solid like terrine, but still smooth, and comes with chunky, fresh piccalilli. The mackerel (£3.50) dissolves on our fork, coming with fresh and crunchy gherkin and a boiled egg. But the revelation is the scotch duck egg (£3), a massive, crispy treat you could easily share. Lovely and with a runny yolk, the sausage meat is herby, like a Lincolnshire sausage. By now we’ve had enough food for lunch, but press on for the sake of our readers. The pork belly (£8.50) was excellent last time we visited, one of the best mains we’d had all year. But this time comes without crackling or apple in the mash (it really works!). However the meat is still soft and the gravy rich. It seems the chef simply forgot the apple. Never mind. The goat’s cheese and beetroot salad (£7.50) has generous amounts of both, plus lentils, toasted pumpkin seeds and sweet, roasted walnuts. It’s huge and love has clearly gone into it.
THE VERDICT: Despite the pork belly not being as good as our last visit we have no hesitation in recommending The Mucky Duck to either eat or drink in. The food is excellent across the board – restaurant quality at pub prices. We’ll be here as often as we can.
WERE WE SUSSED: We’re not sure. The girl behind the bar knew we were from SOURCE but we can’t imagine anyone forgetting an ingredient if they knew they were being reviewed.
7-9 Manchester St, (01273) 601450