I have to admit I was quite pleased when I saw recently The Paper Mills was under new ownership.
Having been a fan of the place for a number of years I did feel it had lost its way a little on my most recent visits, somewhat tired.
So with new owners (they took over last summer) making a bit of noise on social media, I headed off along the A47 to Wansford to see what the fuss was about.
It is a fantastic looking building and the interior looked just how I remembered it - typical country pub feel with lots of wood and stone - and a nice, airy conservatory at the back overlooking the garden.
The menu online screamed gastropub with fish and chips, steak, burgers, curry, a pie, mussels and clams, and pasta, rather than anything overly adventurous. At lunchtime, when I arrived, it was more limited.
What did catch the eye though was the new “Low Carbs & Light Meals” menu, with plenty of variety (brunch cocotte, crab and pink grapefruit, free range chicken and heirloom tomato) and all dishes £12.50.
For wife Donna this was right up her street and on the whole she was very impressed with her warm steak salad - which was very colourful and vibrant.
It was packed with peppers, onion, tender stem broccoli cooked with strips of ribeye served on fresh leaves. The pine nuts and salsa verde dressing added great flavour and texture. The one gripe: the fat hadn’t been trimmed from the “healthy” dish.
I went traditional with a burger - a tad on the expensive side at £14, but it was probably the best I have had in the area. The bun was nice and soft and the burger big, meaty and unbelievably succulent - perfectly cooked. It was topped with bacon and cheese, both outshone by the meatiness of the pattie, and a smidgeon of onion relish. The skinny fries were crisp and salty how I like them, although the lettuce and gherkin were, for me, just filling out the plate.
I didn’t perhaps see the place at its best, but saw enough to warrant a return visit sometime soon.
Brad Barnes has lunch at The Paper Mills, London Road, Wansford, tel 01780 782328
Brad’s rating: 8