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The Inn at Welland

Ever since my favourite pub, the Plough and Harrow, closed I’ve been looking for an alternative place to go to for an occasional lunch/dinner with friends. The pub at the top of my hill is well within walking distance and serves good food, but it would be good to have other options on my shortlist.

Christopher and I used to go occasionally to the Inn at Welland, which is a shortish drive away – a similar distance to the Plough and Harrow. It used to be a cosy, somewhat old fashioned pub, whose tagline was “We don’t serve fast food; we serve good food, as fast as we can”. But it changed hands a while back, and then was closed for a complete refurbishment. I drive past it quite often, on my way to and from the motorway when I’m off to customer meetings, and from the outside it looked as if it had reopened and gone significantly up-market. But I didn’t want to risk taking friends or family there without either trying it first or getting a report from someone I trusted.

Last month our Head of Sales finally got around to taking some of his team out for their Christmas lunch – an event which they had had to postpone a number of times over the preceding months due to clashes of diaries. They had a table booked at the Inn at Welland, so I was planning on quizzing them in some detail on their return to the office, about the food, service, ambience etc. But then, as luck would have it the day before the meal, we won a contract which I’d been largely responsible for bidding for. It had been a long and somewhat painful bidding process, and the Head of Sales was so pleased we’d finally sealed it that he extended his Christmas lunch invitation to include me. I’m definitely not a salesman, and don’t work as part of his team, so it was very generous of him to include me. I wasn’t going to quibble at the opportunity to try out the Inn at Welland in person though!

It turns out that my initial assessment was correct – it’s had a complete refurbishment, and has gone quite a long way up-market, being now something of a gastropub. The food was delicious, the service pretty sharp, and the seating was very smart and comfortable. We had a long and highly enjoyable lunch. My only criticism was that the coffee cups were too fancy, and were designed for a right-handed drinker, being very uncomfortable to hold in one’s left hand. But that was partially compensated for by the quantity and quality of the handmade fudge which accompanied the coffee!

I had friends staying last weekend, and so I booked us a table there for Saturday lunch. We all thoroughly enjoyed our meals – the apple tarte tatin with butterscotch ice-cream being particularly memorable. All three of us agreed that the food and ambience was of a similar standard to the late lamented Plough and Harrow, and that we would put it firmly on the shortlist for next time they visit.