There is nothing like a warm welcome to get a dinner date off to a great start...and this was nothing like a warm welcome!
The waitress, who under duress was sent to greet us at Peterborough’s newish Lithuanian restaurant, The Shepherd’s Inn, was frostier than a January morning in Vilnius. A far cry from my previous visit, it has to be said.
“Upstairs” she barked with a face like thunder. So we took ourselves up as requested, made our way to a table and set about finding a high chair.
I did think about leaving, but thankfully someone else brought the menus and order was restored.
And I am glad we stayed; the service improved, even if the language barrier didn’t help with ordering from the menu,the food was good and the kids loved the play area.
It is certainly a quirky place, and looks like no other in the city centre. There a false front as you walk in, a huge tree complete with owl (both fake, of course) and an odd woodland scene complete with moonshiner.
It is a bit dark downstairs but nicely set out and comfortable enough.
We dined upstairs which is much brighter and, as mentioned, has a great play area for little ones which we sat adjacent to.
The menu is packed with traditional Lithuanian fayre, lots of grilled meats and stews - with descriptions in English too.
As a starter we chose to share a plate of minced pork filled dumplings (£7.50). A good portion, they tasted lovely and came with a delicious mushroom sauce.
The only quibble - it was brought out with the main courses despite being a “starter”.
Previously I had enjoyed the farmer’s stew - beef, pork, rabbit - and went for something similar -described as a spicy pork stew.
It wasn’t spicy as such, but was very nice indeed. Thick, warming and hearty, a terrific flavoured stew with lots of soft chunks of pork and lashings of kidney beans. It came in a hot cast iron bowl with a side serving of gherkins and incredibly crusty bread. Good value indeed at £9.
Donna’s grilled salmon was a fair sized portion, and nicely cooked, but quite plain, even if it did have a little yogurt-type sauce at the side. It came on a huge, plate-filling serving of plain rice with griddled carrots and courgettes. And it wasn’t cheap at £13.
The children’s menu was unfortunately not in English and very out of focus, but we managed to order a plate of spaghetti with flavoursome smoky sausages and a morish cheesy sauce, but not cheap at £6.90.
Shame about the first impression, but the food just about made up for it.
VENUE: The Shepherd’s Inn, Park Road, Peterborough 01733 315897
BRAD’S RATING: 7