THERE is something homely and comforting about pub grub.
A belly full of cottage pie or a freshly carved roast is always welcome, especially as we reluctantly dive into the winter months.
But not only does The Mulberry Bush in Dunstable offer the tradional pub fayre that includes sausages and mash, a range of burgers and the compulsory fish and chips, but also a huge range of other contemporary fusion dishes from around the world.
Highlights include the beef chilli enchiladas and massaman red snapper.
The High Street North eaterie has recently had a £300,000 refurb, only opening to the public five weeks ago under the Orchid Group leisure company and run by general manager Jason Massingham.
The tables are well spaced out, clean and sturdy – very important if you have ordered a steak or similar that you are not wobbling everyone else’s meals around when you cut it.
And the decor is welcoming and understated with good lighting and a floral print wallpaper to create a cosy dining room feel in parts.
Sports fans will also quickly spot the plasma screens dotted across the restaurant for match days.
“We are very excited about our new pub and restaurant and have a lot to offer our customers,” said Jason. “The real draw for us is the Classic Carvery, which is not only excellent value but makes the most of great British produce.
“All dishes on our menu use the highest quality ingredients and are well-prepared and delivered with care. And at the end, the bill is a nice surprise as well.”
In fact the food is delicious and represents fantastic value.
A carvery dinner with six vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and trimmings costs just £5.25 during the week and it doesn’t stop there.
I opted for the breaded prawns to start, which were served in a miniature frying basket with sweet chilli dip and a salad hand-carved to resemble a flower.
Piping hot – a big thumbs up in my book – the prawns were both succulent and tasty.
My partner chose the chicken strips with ginger and soy which were a new take on a classic goujon and much enjoyed.
Both starters fell short of a fiver.
For main I ordered the red Thai chicken banquet – and what an appropriate choice of title.
It was a huge portion including red Thai curry, rice, two poppadoms, two onion bhajis, naan bread and home cooked spicy prawn crackers, all for £6.99.
And it was devine. The onion bhajis – not usually something I would choose – tasted homemade and were light and spicy.
The chicken was tender and in bitesize pieces, which was perfect for scooping up with the savoury sides.
My dining companion chose the Wexford steak, which came topped with button mushrooms, creamy peppercorn sauce and melted Leicestershire Stilton with chips and peas, and was demolished in record time before being deemed “top notch”.
It was less than £10.
And, impressively, you don’t need a note to cover a large glass of wine.
We were too stuffed to attempt pudding but I noted the Eton Mess was a favourite of other diners, with at least five hitting the two neighbouring tables.
Not only that, but three of the puddings – including the Turkish delight cheesecake – are available to take away which I thought was a wonderful idea for those who need to undo their top button at home before delving into dessert.
What you see is what you get with The Mulberry Bush. A warm welcome, friendly staff and delicious, good value food.
A fabulous addition to Dunstable.