The Ox Inn, Lebberston: Hearty pub grub served with a warm welcome

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It was a wet, wild and windy night – I say that not only because I have always want to write that hackneyed first paragraph to a crime novel – but also to emphasise it was cold and damp.

The Ox is a big barn of a place with plenty of charm and character – wooden beams and a huge fireplace.

Unfortunately, the fire was not on so it was chilly throughout our stay.

If the place had been heaving, it might have been warmer but there was only a handful of people there – not that that’s a reflection on the welcome from the landlord, that was warm friendly.

Plus it was early Saturday evening, plenty of time for the place to fill – and warm up.

Recommendation from a colleague inspired us to seek out the village pub; they went to The Ox for a family celebration and found the food and service excellent.

Themenu makes no pretentions to be anything more than it is – hearty, home-made pub grub.

On the main course bill fof fare are three pies – steak and ale, fish and chicken and mushroom – all priced at £6.75. In fact none of the main courses, apart from steak, costs more than £7. All came with plenty of accompaniments.

There was also homemade chicken curry and beef chilli, bangers and mash, scampi and gourmet burger. These were priced just over £6, which is great value.

Black pudding also makes an appearance on the main and starter menu – not a taste I have acquired but good to see it there for those who do like it.

I opted for steak, medium cooked, accompanied by tomatoes, chips, salad and onion rings. It was alright, but really made me wish I’d gone for one of the homemade dishes.

The tomatoes were a little bit black and the batter on the onion rings could have been crispier. Steaks ranged from £8.95 to £10.95, and a range of sauces were available.

My companion opted for the homemade lasagne also served with chips and salad (£6.75) and said it was absolutely delicious – the sauce creamy and cheesy and plenty of meat between thin sheets of perfectly cooked pasta.

Vegetables, sprouts, peas and carrots were also served on the side.

There were plenty of starter choice ranging from prawn cocktail (£4.25) to black pudding and baconstack served in a creamy mustard sauce (£3.85) and soup (£3.50) and Yorkshire pudding with gravy (£3.50).

I opted for the pate – very meaty with creamy consistency – with toast (£4.25) – and wow, there was enough for two. My companion tucked into a tasty prawn cocktail – retro maybe but a winner all the same.

We really did not have room for dessert – though there was plenty of homemade delights to choose from.

With drinks we paid less than £40, which we thought was good value.

The Ox is a pub – it has a snooker table, TV on the wall and live music nights – which serves hearty homemade fare with portions and presentation to match, and priced very reasonably.

The service from bar staff to waitresses was cheerful and helpful. The only complaint was the pub was chilly – but the food and service were warm and welcome.

Ratings out of 10

Food, 7; menu choice 7; service 7; decor 7; ambience 6; overall 7