Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Woodman: Revisited

I first reviewed The Woodman back in March 2012 - the month Swansea On A Plate was born. So, two years on, I decided to head back and see what's changed.

A photo from 2012, though the pub rarely changes on the outside

When I say 'head back' that makes it sound like I haven't been there for a while. On the contrary, I usually pop to the pub for a meal, or a few pints of ale, at least once a month.

If you read my original review, you'll know it is one of my locals. And what a local to have. It's not just a drinking hole (although it does that job very well); they put a lot of attention on the food and have tried to become less of a pub and more of a restaurant recently.

A few months ago this actually appeared to be a bit of a downfall. A new menu had been implemented and the pub seemed to have tried too hard to become a restaurant. This threw both newcomers and regulars, who may have popped in for a quick bite to eat but ended up confronted with an expensive gourmet menu.

However the shrewd management have realised this wasn't the best way to go about things and I'm glad to say that the menu has been tweaked. Everything now seems a little more relaxed with no detriment to the quality of the food.

On the new menu we still find longstanding pub staples - the mixed grill, gourmet burger, brewer's chicken and - my favourite starter - the bubble and squeak cake (with bacon and a delicious hollandaise sauce).

The new pulled pork burger with sweet potato fries

There are now new additions such as the pulled pork burger - which is brilliantly meaty - the very tender smoked rib of beef and a lighter, but equally satisfying, dish of Mediterranean vegetable ravioli. An array of seasonal specials also come and go, usually game or fish dishes.

The little details are important when you are paying around a tenner for a main course, and I'm pleased to see the option of minted or mushy peas as standard. Don't get me wrong, I love a regular pea, but the addition of mint or mush makes them extra tasty!

Let's talk sausages. Several dishes on the menu use sausages and I was pleased to see a hefty Boroughbridge sausage as the sausage of choice - very tasty and crispy. You are paying for quality and thankfully getting it.

Criticisms? Not many, though I am not a fan of the onion rings. This is just a personal preferences. Despite my love of good food, I prefer the 'fake', cheaper onion rings as opposed to the thick cut ones. 

For desert I sampled the new chocolate orange truffle torte - a thick, but not overly heavy dish which made for a decadent end to a good meal.

I mentioned in my previous review that I'd had a love/hate relationship with The Woodman over the years. Thankfully the hates are now a distant memory as they've seemed to have found their niche. A higher-end pub, with great food, good drink choices, a friendly welcome and a cosy atmosphere. Well worth a visit!

1 comment:

  1. We had lunch there this week. I had fish and chips and I couldn't finish it. It was very dry meat and felt like it had been deep fried from frozen. My wife had gammon which was thicker and smaller than you normally see and she didn't enjoy it. This was her second choice as they had run out of fishcakes.
    We had good evening meals there before but this was a let down. We got a refund for the fish.