Saturday, 20th August 2016 – The Crooked Billet, Newton Longville, Milton Keynes
We’d eaten at The Crooked Billet before (for a Burns Night Supper when there’d been a set menu) and had been meaning for some time to come back on a “normal” night, so a flying visit from a friend to collect a barbeque that they’d left with us a long time back presented a suitable excuse.
Table duly booked we found our way to Newton Longville (easy) and the pub (not quite so easy) marvelling at the red kites flying very low over the village gardens. If I were a cat in these parts I think I’d be a bit twitchy!
From the outside the place looks well-kept and cared for, with a large car park (though it’s a shame the patrons seem unable to park efficiently) and inside is also very pleasantly laid out, with lots of separate areas and massive fireplaces. The welcome is friendly, helpful and very engaging, so we settled in with a bottle of rose prosecco and the menus.
Gina chose sardines to start, while Lynne went for the Scotch egg and I couldn’t resist the soft-shelled crab with a sweet chilli sauce.
The Scotch egg was pretty near perfect though not quite as good as the wild rabbit one I ate recently at 185 Watling Street, which was apparently down to the chef who used to be at the Crooked Billet but who has since been lured to the bright lights (!) of Towcester.
The main course was where the wheels came off slightly. We were talked into ordering the tea-smoked duck breast, which turned out to be a major error of judgement and not just on our part but on that of the chef as well. The resulting meat was grey, flavourless and served with kale and mushrooms, the mushrooms tasting of nothing so much as tap water. It really wasn’t good. And the thrice cooked chips were flabby, undercooked, and horrible… Even the egg couldn’t save it.
Lynne and I had hedged our bets by ordering the lamb as well as the duck and it’s fair to say that this was delicious. It just about made up for the ghastliness of the duck and I thoroughly enjoyed my half of it.
All in all a partly successful visit. Would we go again? Probably though we did report the unpleasantness of the duck dish and nothing was done about it. The waitress didn’t take it seriously and when we were paying the next member of staff said we should have said something. We did… and the fact that the only bit we actually ate was the duck and two chips should have possibly told them something. I seem to be losing my complaining mojo of late…