WHEN I was looking for a place to visit for this food review, my colleague Sam said the magic words ‘home-made pies’ so my friend Linda and I headed for a pub in Millhouses.
The Waggon and Horses next to the park is run by directors Pam and Steve Addy and their son Kris is licensee. His twin brother Dan is cellarman, looking after the Tetley, John Smith’s Smooth, plus four cask ales at a time, plus draught Carling, Stella, Guinness and Magners.
Pam said: “We cater for families and regulars.”
The pub, which is all spruced up for Christmas with lots of greenery, several trees and even a big Santa and a lit-up reindeer, looks very warm and traditional.
Some of the walls have been taken back to bare stone and there is one large bar area, plus a separate dining area at one end, or you can order a meal to eat in the bar.
The pub prides itself on being a hub for the community and aims to have a special event at least once a month, including casino and race nights and music, as well as twice-weekly quizzes. Tomorrow night (Friday) singer and guitarist David Thornton will be adding some carols to his repertoire.
Over Christmas, there is a three-course festive menu for £18.95 until Christmas Eve and there are still some spaces for Christmas Day lunch.
The three-course menu plus tea, coffee and mince pies is £49.95 and starts with a Champagne reception at noon. Pam said: “It’s like having lunch with family.”
On New Year’s Eve there is a fancy dress party on a superheroes and villains theme with a free buffet. Just turn up.
Children will also receive a little gift.
The dining room was set up for a special event when we visited and so we ate in the bar. You order at a food order point at the counter and you can run a tab for your visit if you are paying by card if they swipe it first.
The menu very much keeps to the pub grub formula, with snacks, sandwiches and wraps, baked potatoes, salads, build-your-own burgers and ‘Waggon and Horses classics’ that include bangers and mash, fish and chips, lasagne, gammon, liver and bacon, salmon and scampi and chips.
There’s a separate children’s menu but youngsters who just want a snack on toast will eat free if an adult has a meal.
The pub’s main boast is those ‘famously fabulous home-made pies’.
The range includes meat and potato, steak with ale or potato, kidney or stilton, a cottage pie in a giant Yorkshire pudding and vegetarian options that can be arranged by talking to the staff. Apart from the cottage pie, they come with chips and mushy peas (they were actually garden peas when we visited).
The price is £7.95 but for £13 they will make you a pie for two to share, or one for four people will be £22.
Any bigger and you need to pre-order. Pie for 24, anyone? That will cost £96.
Anyway, I’m racing ahead of myself as the starters come first. There is a choice of five, ranging from olives and bread at £3 to chicken dippers at £5.25.
I went for nachos (£4.95) and Linda had a Thai fishcake (£3.95).
The fishcake was not really a Thai one, more a traditional-looking fishcake with Thai flavouring. It was very tasty and nicely spicy with lots of fish. The exterior was crunchy and it went well with the Thai dipping sauce.
Once the starters arrived, we realised that the kitchen was a cut above the usual pub offering, something you might not realise from looking at the menu.
I learned later that just about everything is cooked from scratch. Pam said: “It’s worth the extra time and effort.”
My nachos were a generous plateful that two could easily share and they were proper nachos that had been cooked in the kitchen, covered with melted cheese and a delicious beef chilli (there is a veggie option). They were served with little pots of fierce pickled chillis, sour cream and tangy tomato salsa.
The menu mentions guacamole but I didn’t see any. No matter, though.
On main courses, Linda went for steak and chips (£11.95) and added creamy garlic mushrooms and peppercorn sauce for £1 each. You can also have Steak Diane.
Her aged sirloin steak came with parsley butter, chips, mushroom and tomatoes and she said it was very enjoyable.
I tried the mushrooms and sauce, which were served separately, and they were full of flavour and richness.
I opted for the steak and ale pie, which was a proper pie in its own little oval dish with a shortcrust topping. When I ordered I was warned that it would take a little longer than other dishes as it is made individually.
There was a bottle of Henderson’s on the side in case you felt the need and the pie was excellent: the meat was tender with a little hint of chewiness, the gravy was rich and the crust was crisp and then melted in the mouth.
The chips were good too, although I prefer mash with a pie (if I’d realised, the side orders include mash or cheesy mash for £1.75).
We were so full we couldn’t manage a pud but I reckon it’d be worth a shot some other time.
Our bill, including a pint of Spitfire and soft drinks, came to £35.45.
lVerdict: treat yourself to a Desperate Dan moment and get into that pie.
lFood serving times: daily, noon to 9pm. Sunday lunch is served from noon “until the meat runs out”.
lWaggon and Horses, 57 Abbeydale Road South, Millhouses, Sheffield, S7 2QQ. 0114 236 1451.