JUST the name of The Jolly Cricketers in Seer Green evokes images of a warm, cosy pub with friendly staff and I wasn't disappointed by the reality or with the food. Matt Lyons took the helm of the kitchen at the end of last year and offers a menu of modern British cooking which is both hearty and detailed in its presentation.
The village pub in Seer Green was delighted to welcome Matt Lyons last October who previously worked at the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield and The Five Arrows Hotel part of Waddeston Manor near Aylesbury.
Not that the pub had any trouble attracting foodies having already amassed a number of awards including a cooking score of four in the Good Food Guide 2012/13 and a mention in the Michelin Red Guide for 2011, 2012 and 2013. In the Michelin Guide 2013 for Eating Out In Pubs it was named at the Inspector's favourite.
Chris Lillitou and Amanda Baker bought the pub in March 2008 and have brought it up to their own high standards. It has a really welcoming feel as you go through into the homely bar from the car park with plenty of locals enjoying a quiet drink.
There is also a restaurant section if you do not wish to eat in the bar, which is comfortable and has quirky cricket paraphernalia tastefully adorning the walls.
There were two other families there when I went along on a Wednesday evening and there was a good atmosphere with the friendly staff on hand to help.
The menu is clearly focused on Great British cooking with a selection of starters ranging from Scottish mussels to Creamed Arbroath smokie, Isle of Mull cheddar soldiers (£8) and Deep Fried West country brie, watercress, black pepper and cranberry dressing (£7).
Whilst choosing I had a glass of Champagne Deutz Brut Classic NV (£8.95), which was refreshing and elegant.
For starters I went for the Cornish Crab on Toast (£8) which was surprisingly big. It was a large chunk of bread with a thick layer of crab on top, with a mixture of dark and white meat.
The crab was clearly fresh and tasted delicious and it was served with a delightful selection of fresh leaves. The bread was very thick and I probably would have preferred it if it was a bit thinner, but at the same time it did compliment the strong taste of the dark crab meat.
My boyfriend, Tom went for Scottish Mussels cooked in local ale (£7.50). The mussels were beautiful and plump and served with fresh , white bread. The sauce was quite strong but very flavoursome.
Mains again offer a great selection of British cuisine. There was a special of cod on the night.
I opted for the ale and cider braised ham, crispy poached egg, pineapple chutney and triple cooked chips (£13.50).
The ham was a delight- perfectly cooked and cut with as tasty a piece of ham I have had in a long while.
The egg could have been a bit softer for my liking but I liked the crispy outside and the pineapple chutney was sweet and delicate.
The chips were thick, crispy and well cooked.
Tom went for the Marinated Angus Rib steak, garlic mash, roasted mushrooms with a peppercorn sauce (£18.50).
The steak was so soft and a beautiful piece of meat. It was melt in the mouth and couldn't have been cooked better. The sauce is all over the meal, which was fine with Tom as it was delicious but others may find it too much.
On the menu there is a vegetarian option of parmesan and thyme gnocchi, chilli Brussels tops and stilton (£12.50).
There is a selection of four desserts. Tom had Valrhona chocolate brownie, pistachio ice cream and cherries (£7). The brownie was just as it should be- soft but not too soft and the icecream complimented it very well, as did the cherries.
I had vanilla panacotta, mulled winter fruits and a brandy snap basket (£7). The panacotta was amazing- thick, creamy and bursting with vanilla. The lovely winter fruits, which tasted liked Christmas, took away the sweetness and the brandy snap added a new dimension.
The portions are big here- you certainly won't leave hungry. I like the way they have focused on a very British cuisine yet added their own flair to each dish. Certainly worth a visit.