Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Join the Village Happy Bunch and Have a Memorable Meal

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Join the Village Happy Bunch and Have a Memorable Meal

Article excerpt

THERE'S been a storyline in The Archers about the Ambridge village shop closing.

The locals are up in arms, but still do the bulk of their shopping in Borchester's supermarket, which, it seems to me, is a case of wanting their cake and eating it too.

Something similar happened to country pubs. When the drink-drive laws tightened, people socialised at home, bringing about the demise of local watering holes. A chorus of regret followed about the lack of social hubs in country communities. Not so for Ovington!

Keith Mansell-Jarvis, owner of Winships, has all bases covered. The business is a tearoom/caf most days, exclusively a bar on Monday nights and restaurant and bar for the rest of the week. Keith is a great 'mein host' who revels in the social aspect of his work, as well as ensuring that everything from scones to scallops are of good quality.

When we arrived a party was in full swing at the bar, celebrating the return of a rugby club stalwart who was visiting friends and gave cause for a jolly gathering. We were guided through the happy group to our table by a cheery, bustling waitress who eventually returned with a couple of menus and a list of specials.

My companion had declared halfway through our journey that she was 'starving' and the range of so many tempting dishes whetted her already keen appetite.

She dithered momentarily, made her choices and began drumming her fingers in anticipation. I followed suit - choosing, not drumming. Our order was taken and the drumming went up a gear.

By the time our starters arrived she was dangerously close to Sandy Nelson mode. Her king prawns on ciabatta, four softly meaty prawns, with a texture like scallops, had a stripe of sauce linking them to the jostle of salad leaves with finely sliced red onions. The deep-fried ciabatta, however, was very disappointing. The bread had soaked up the oil, becoming an unpleasant, greasy sponge. A surprising mistake because all the prawns needed was something toasted and light.

My chicken liver and bacon pat was a huge success. A super-generous slice of meaty pat, bursting with flavour, came with a date and apricot chutney that brought the fruits to the fore with just a hint of sweet and sour. …

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