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Reviewing the rustic and sophisticated country pub in Coniston

Nestled a convenient 15 minutes from the heart of Hull, the Gardener’s Country Inn has experienced a remarkable rebirth under new ownership. Their recent refurbishment has struck an impressive balance of rustic charm and refined style, and the moment we walked in we could tell it was going to be a comfortable experience.

We were instantly charmed by the warm and welcoming character of the inn. The flagstone flooring underfoot, the rough-cut wooden panelling of the bar, and the rustic finish of twisted branches used as railings, beams and decor really help create a homely and sophisticated atmosphere. This isn’t your typical country pub, but something more special, and we were eager to dig into the food, hoping it matched the quality of the environment.

After a short wait and a drink, we got started with a selection of the Inn’s starters, which were simply spectacular. First, bread and oils, a delectable array of buttered baked breads accompanied by olives, and balsamic and garlic olive oil. The balsamic oil was especially good, adding a vibrant, sweet sharpness to every mouthful.

We were then treated to the Creamed Wild Mushrooms, a tantalising dish that perfectly married the hearty, earthy flavour of a handpicked selection of wild mushrooms with a creamy sauce, which was so flavourful that it had us using some of the bread from the previous dish to finish it off!

A plate of succulent chicken wings rounded off the starters, each piece slathered in a homemade barbecue sauce which really stood out – it’s a custom recipe by the chef, with a perfectly sweet and tangy flavour which you can tell had a lot of thought put into it. The bar was set high for the mains.

We were served a hearty array of traditional favourites, starting with a classic Ploughman’s Lunch, a staple of British pub fare. With a pleasing mix of cold cuts, a pork pie, cheddar chunks, a selection of pickles, and baked bread, it was a great start.

We tried the Mixed Grill next, a carnivore’s dream, featuring an array of well-cooked meats. Rump steak, gammon, 2 sausages, and a chicken breast, with 2 fried eggs, mushroom, tomatoes, peas, chips and onion rings on the side; at this point we were getting stuffed, but still managed to find room for the rest of the delicious spread!

We also tried the Crispy Pork Belly, mouth-wateringly tender, with the crispy crackling layer adding a delightful textural contrast.

However, the standout of all of these was the Gardener’s Steak and Ale Pie. The hearty meat and gravy encased in perfectly flaky pastry was a true testament to their home-cooked style, and it was absolutely packed – it felt like there was more meat in there than the mixed grill! It was a treat, and we were left stuffed and satisfied.

And yet, we somehow managed to round off the meal with desserts.

The Lotus Biscoff Cheesecake was a delight, soft and flavourful, complimented perfectly with a generous scoop of ice cream and sauce. The triple chocolate brownie was decadently rich, made just right – crispy at first bite, then giving way to a dense and gooey middle. Finally, a playful dinosaur sundae was presented, a colourful confection that would win the heart of any child (or indeed, any adult with a sweet tooth).

We had a great time at the newly refurbished inn, and it really has taken the quintessential country pub experience and elevated it to a new level. With a menu that is as rich in character as its surroundings, it’s a place where rustic and refined meld beautifully.

So give it a try, and let us know what you think!

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