I have not had the best of luck recently when I have strayed from the independents to what falls into the large family pub category
A string of disappointments over service, food - or both - meant I had some reservations when booking a table at The Sugar Mill on the edge of Bourne (we were up that way), particularly as it was likely to be at the height of the Sunday lunch rush.
And I must admit my heart sank a little bit when I saw the car park jam packed as we arrived.
I needn’t have worried.
It is a relatively new place, a couple of years old, and is well maintained on the outside with a little play area for kids and some outdoor seating.
Inside is very pleasant, too, and spacious , so no squeezing around tables to avoid other diners.
It was also very relaxed, due in part to the staff who seemed unflustered and in control despite the numbers involved.
It is a big old menu - grills, burgers, salads, and of course a Sunday roast. And you would be hard pushed to find anything on the mains menu that wasn’t two for one - even the huge “favourites” board that greets you as you walk in.
In fact, that is where I spotted my main - the 20 oz mixed grill - a real meat feast.
There is not a lot of points to be won for presentation, but it was a real treat.
Rump is not my first steak of choice and it came medium rare - absolutely perfect - juicy and a great just griddled taste.
The lamb chop was nice and juicy too, no qualms about picking it up to nibble the bone, the pork chop was nicely cooked and the sausage had a great flavour. For me the chunky piece of gammon was perfectly done but just a little too salty for my liking.
The fried eggs were spot on with a runny yolk, onion rings were the right combination of crispy coating and soft onion and the chips were decent enough,
The was a little more finesse with regards to the dessert - a very sweet and doughy Belgian waffle with refreshing chocolate and vanilla ice cream, coated in flakes of chocolate.
Across the table Donna had an impressive and packed salad, all very fresh tasting, and a delightful and plentiful griddled chicken breast, with a light little dressing on the side.
Another plus for presentation with the summer berry and white chocolate tart - a sweet, light white chocolatey mousse and a thick summer berry coulis on top, although the pastry was a bit soggy.
Two great lunches and we only paid for the most expensive - the mixed grill at £16.95.
I was even impressed with the kids’ menu - tasty fish fingers, fresh vegetables and yummy potato waffles - a bargain at £3.99.
Venue: The Sugar Mill, Milestone Road, Bourne
T: 01778424520 E: SugarMill.Bourne@marstons.co.uk www.sugarmillpubbourne.co.uk
Brad’s Rating: 7