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A proper boozer-like gastropub at the end of Chapel Market, the Compass is a laid-back and low-key hangout, with diners sitting alongside drinkers in the relaxed, dark-painted bar.
Food is pretty typical of the genre – rump of lamb, risotto, confit duck – with the odd more adventurous dish thrown in, such as our starter of ox heart: a big success. Thin, tender curls of ox heart had a distinct, but not over-strong, flavour: a good foil for the tartness of the accompanying pickled beetroot and horseradish. Grilled sardines with herbs and chilli was a generous portion of fresh, plump, perfectly grilled herby fish, although the chilli was not much in evidence. A confit duck main was again a large helping, with mushy butter beans: robust, homely and full of flavour. We also sampled a fall-off-the-bone tender whole grilled plaice, served with salty strands of samphire and clams.
A Capito pinot grigio made a fine, fresh accompaniment, and a shared pudding of lemon tart ended the meal well. Staff are professional, the pace is leisurely, there are three real ales (plus a real cider) on tap, and our food was great. Just what a gastropub experience should be.