It’s not too often these days that you come across a ‘proper’ pub, and when you do, it’s sometimes hard to explain what sets it apart. The truth is that it’s a combination of practical things like good food and good beer, warm fires and friendly staff as well as less tangible qualities like the ambience, the sense of welcome and the style…and in this case, some unusual pies.
One of our customers, Howard Parker, runs the Weighbridge Inn situated between the beautiful Cotswold towns of Minchinhampton and Nailsworth and I don’t think you’ll find a more ‘proper’ pub anywhere this side of John O’Groats. One phrase from their website, says it all: ‘Muddy boots, dogs and children are all welcome.’
Howard has been running the Weighbridge Inn for 14 years, buying it from the owner in 2004 just four years after taking over as manager. “It’s a traditional inn and looks pretty much the same as it did 100 years ago,” he said.
“But we’re not a gastro pub,” he added vehemently, “we pride ourselves on good, home prepared and cooked food and good beer.”
The Weighbridge Inn may not be a gastro pub but its reputation for the speciality of the house, its 2in1 Pies, reaches far and wide. The pies were the brainchild of a previous landlord over 40 years ago and the pub has made them and served them ever since to a secret recipe handed down from landlord to landlord.
So, what is a 2in1 Pie? Well it’s basically a complete meal in one bowl. A range of fillings from steak and mushroom to salmon, turkey or chicken and ham occupy one side of the bowl while a rich cauliflower cheese, broccoli mornay or root vegetables rest in the other.
This is topped with homemade short crust pastry and then baked until golden brown. The pies have proved so popular that Howard now sells Bake at Home 2in1 Pies and is hoping soon to sell them online.
The pies represent about 70% of the Weighbridge Inn’s food sales, the rest coming an enticing menu of homemade snacks and main courses using locally sourced produce wherever possible.
While the inn might have changed little on the outside in the last 100 years, behind these scenes, the busy kitchen features a state-of-the-art six-grid Rational oven that’s responsible for most of the cooking. The oven has been looked after by AC Services for the past eight years, servicing the oven regularly and on call 24/7 if anything should go wrong.
“We use the Rational for cooking the pies, for slow roasts overnight and for steaming our vegetables, said Howard. “It’s going flat out 12 hours a day, seven days a week.”
“AC Services are aware that we rely on the oven heavily and the service they give us is excellent. The service engineers especially are a real credit to them and usually manage to fix any problem straight away.”