Visiting The Kitchen At The Cross Keys is like stepping back in time to the days when village country pubs welcomed you with open arms, a roaring fire greets you and the food is traditional, unpretentious and just darn good….
Des and Trish run this charming establishment located in the heart of Epperstone Village, a stone’s throw from Lambley and Lowdham and a short drive from the centre of Nottingham, but nestled away from the city enough to warrant being officially given the ‘country pub’ title.
Having recently reconnected with the owners after many years of seeing them, it was great to see how happy they are and how successful their business is and it’s not difficult to see why. Des’s Yorkshire puddings are still good as ever, the service is friendly and the venue, so cosy. I could have easily put my feet up on the sofa by the fire after my Sunday dinner and dosed off. Tartan chairs and comfortable sofas filled the restaurant with country style memorabilia on the walls. Outside they have their own free-range chickens and a large garden with children’s play area – it really is one for all the family.
Our table (to my delight) was adjacent to the log burning stove, I was hungry and relaxed, a great way to spend a Sunday being right here.
The menu offered an appealing selection of dishes with a separate vegetarian menu – always a good sign. We ordered drinks and decided to go all the way and try and do three courses. I wouldn’t normally with a Sunday dinner, but the starters looked too good to pass up. I opted for the Cauliflower Soup to start, which came with toasted ciabatta bread and triangles of butter and my husband Tim, the Fish Goujons, which were delightfully served in a mini glass fish bowl with salad- very creative and delicious.
Of course for our main’s we went with the Traditional Sunday Dinner (mine minus the meat) and it arrived with all the expected trimmings, a good amount of roast potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans and a separate broccoli and cauliflower cheese bake just for me (which of course I shared) as it was large enough for two people. The Yorkshire Puddings I must say are the absolute hi-light being homemade, super fluffy and huge!
Dessert came after a good ten or fifteen-minute much needed break and had to be the Homemade Bread And Butter Pudding Served With Butterscotch Sauce and looked and tasted divine- the best I’ve tasted in fact and a dish I would return especially for when my sweet tooth calls again.
Tim went for the Cheese Board which included his favourite Smoked Applewood, as well as brie, stilton and others, with a red onion chutney and grapes, served on a rustic wooden board.
At the end of the meal we were offered coffee but we politely declined- nothing more could be consumed, we were well and truly ‘stuffed’ felt completely satisfied and could have quite easily entertained an afternoon nap!
The Kitchen At The Cross Keys offer a great selection of wines, some recommended personally by Des and Trish and they even have their own brand of wine, which we decided to take home with us to try- a nice touch.
In summary, combined with the friendly service, cosy country casual’s interior and top notch homemade food, The Kitchen At The Cross Keys is most certainly a hidden gem in rural Nottinghamshire and not one to be enjoyed just by the locals, as we will most certainly be returning very soon with friends.