Restaurant review - The Thorn Tree Inn, Woodlinkin
PUBLISHED: 00:00 28 June 2018
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Our reviewer enjoys traditional fish and chips with a modern twist at Woodlinkin
Landlocked Derbyshire might be about as far as you can get from the sea in the UK, but that hasn’t stopped one local restaurant group from serving traditional fish and chips to rival any seaside spot.
Founded in 1967, George’s Tradition has built a reputation for producing some of the finest fish and chips in the county. Now incorporating ten takeaways, four restaurants and a pub, with locations from Leek to Long Eaton, it is still a family-run business with a commitment to quality – as we discovered on a weeknight visit to Woodlinkin.
The Thorn Tree Inn is George’s take on a traditional English pub, given a contemporary restaurant twist. The surroundings are classic and welcoming, there’s a traditional bar area serving local ales, a variety of stylishly-decorated dining areas – think sea-blue walls and exposed wooden floors – and a cosy, relaxed atmosphere.
When it comes to food, George’s sources the freshest, sustainable wild cod and haddock for its menus, whilst all potatoes are from British Farm-Assured growers – but the offering isn’t limited to just fish and chips.
Starters range from crunchy cod pakoras to tasty-sounding ham hock and mushy pea fritters, whilst the main course menu is particularly impressive and alongside traditional fare such as wild cod, Scottish haddock and salmon, plaice and scampi, there’s a choice of burgers – with a tempting mac ‘n’ cheese variety – pies, curry and items from the charcoal grill such as steak with all the trimmings.
The emphasis is on choice: fish can be breaded or battered to your liking; you can mix and match side orders including sauces, Stilton chips and campfire ‘slaw’; and there are great children’s and gluten-free options.
The restaurant was almost completely full on the weeknight of our visit and there was a pleasant wait as our meals were freshly-prepared. My starter of grilled halloumi and tomato skewers (£5.65) was enlivened by a subtly-spiced cauliflower and mushroom curry – a surprisingly brilliant match. But my partner’s deconstructed Scotch egg (£5.75) stole the show. Coated in breadcrumbs, the sausage meat had hints of leek and ginger and was topped with a butter-baked, free-range egg and HP sauce.
His main course of traditional cod (£8.95) lived up to expectations: the batter was crispy and golden, the fish was succulent and flavoursome – it’s freshly-caught each day – and the chunky chips had just the right amount of ‘bite’.
My cod and squeak cake (£8.45) was hearty and filling in all the right ways. Made using the restaurant’s special bubble and squeak mashed potato, it was coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs and served on a baby leaf salad with chips and a tangy tomato salsa. Side orders of bread and butter – the delicious, fluffy ‘doorstop’ kind – mushy peas, curry sauce and thick onion gravy received top marks.
The very generous portion sizes offer great value for money but even so, we couldn’t resist a glance at the dessert menu and were soon tempted by the steamed sticky ginger pudding (£4.95), served with vanilla custard and homemade golden syrup ice cream – perfection!
As we left we noticed a queue of happy customers forming at the popular on-site takeaway. In fact, purchasing some of George’s fish and chips to enjoy at home sounds like a good idea!
246 Nottingham Rd, Woodlinkin, 01773 768675, thethorntreeinn.co.uk