There’s something so quaint about gastropubs. Usually out of the way, nestled in far flung countryside with lush rolling greenery to traverse, yup, my ideal luncheon spot would be a lovely gastropub. I visited The Malt in the historic village of Aston-on-Trent, Derbyshire last week which of course took me through the prerequisite countryside drive.
The exterior is wondrous in all its mock Tudor glory. Inside, it is cosy yet grand. There are two main areas; the bar section which is more relaxed, and the restaurant bit which is a little more secluded for a more intimate dining experience.
It’s a good, compact food menu fitting on one side of an A4 piece of paper. Categorisation of food items is cute. ‘Little Stuff’ includes starter, ‘Big Stuff’ mains, and ‘Smaller Stuff’ for the little ones no doubt. It’s good to see a separate menu for kids, which ties in nicely to this being a kid friendly pub. Their drinks offering is great too, including a decent selection of wines, cask ales and premium lagers.
We went straight to the mains (no messing around as we had to get back to work). I had the chicken, ham and leek pie (short crust pastry pie, served with either mash or chips, garden or mushy peas). It was a substantial pie with interesting pastry work including striking peaked corners. The pastry was good, just a little overdone. The filling was very good, the creaminess of the leeks marrying well with the salty ham and hunks of chicken. Chips were delicious, golden and seemed to be double fried. I am still dreaming of these chips and may well just have to pop back for a portion of these. The mushy peas were perfectly seasoned and I think it’s great to see sides getting some much deserved TLC. Here is the inside of this lush pie, just to make you a teeny bit jealous.
I was offered some gravy to go with my pie, after it was served. It was almost a (well meaning) afterthought. It would be good to see gravy as a permanent accompaniment to this pie, as it needed the liquid to render the delicious pastry more palatable.
Dining partner had the flat iron Cajun steak salad (served on a bed of dressed salad). He loved his meal, saying the meat had just the right kick of Cajun spicing, with the paprika really coming through at the end. It would have been good if my dining partner had been asked how he liked the steak. It was fine in the end; I just think it would have been a nice touch to be asked.
The Malt holds a number of well attended events throughout the year, including burger nights and tribute bands. It’s a lovely little place to hang out. I will definitely be back and next time and check out the dessert menu whilst I’m at it.
Star Rating 1-10 (1: “I’d rather eat my own shoe, I hated it that much” – 10: “I’d pillage for a meal here”.)
Value for money: 8
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Address: 14 The Green, Aston-on-Trent, Derby DE72 2AA
Tel: 01332 792256