This capacious, charmingly un-refurbished local has made a well-deserved name for itself as a purveyor of real ale and craft beers. There’s a large choice of both: casks well looked after, and beers wide-ranging in country of origin. They help make the North Pole highly popular, and its attractions are obvious.
So we were extremely disappointed to have a lacklustre lunch on our Saturday visit. Maybe the kitchen hadn’t yet got into gear (we arrived just after noon), but there was something underpowered about the meal. A mushroom soup of the day was simply dull. A modish pulled pork sandwich was dry, and the meat lacked flavour. Ribs were cooked well but their barbecue sauce seemed generic. ‘Sweetcorn fritter with basil dressing’ was actually a sweetcorn pancake, and clumsy frying rendered it too oily.
Elsewhere on the menu lie more sandwiches, pizzas, some substantial main courses and several snacks and starters. Selecting from that list, with a beautiful brew alongside, might be the best way to go. Final down-notes: service was inattentive and lacked genuine friendliness, and we detected a faint but unmistakable musty smell about the place. Never nice to have in your nostrils when you’re eating.