A humble pub lunch at The Hawk Inn, Haslington

Haslington is a quaint little village on the outskirts of Crewe, Cheshire. It has a church, a few shops, some lovely thatched roofed houses, a cafe, a chippy and a handful of pubs. Most of the pubs are mainly just for drinkers, however, one of them has made a special effort to become a foodie attraction in the village – The Hawk Inn.

Ran by Tim Cooke, who has been manager there for a year now, has a new Social Media manager on board – Becky, who kindly invited me along to try their food and let them know what I thought.

We arrived at the pub at 1pm, went straight over to the bar to be greeted by Tim himself, who was serving some locals at the bar. A warm, friendly welcome, he seated us at a lovely table in the dining room, next to the window with a view of the thatched roof houses.

I noted they had recently been awarded a hygiene rating of 5 – which was excellent to see, and they proudly displayed the green sticker on the door into the dining room.

We were offered drinks straight away, and given the menus to ponder. Our drinks arrived promptly, and we got straight down to business, examining the menu  and deciding what to eat on this sunny Spring Saturday afternoon.

The choice on the menu, I must say, is a little basic. However, this is not an issue if the dishes are well executed. Starters on offer consist of the all-time pub classic, traditional prawn cocktail, and then a few others which were a little more ‘outside of the box’ including spicy chicken wings, loaded potato skins with cheese and bacon and tempura king prawns. Being seafood lovers, we both opted for the prawn options – I chose the classic prawn cocktail and my guest the tempura king prawns. The prawn cocktail, I must say, was lovely. Very fresh, juicy, plump prawns, a lovely salad and the bread was delicious – soft, wholemeal and lightly buttered. The presentation was delightful, as you can see from the photograph. My guest’s tempura king prawns were a little on the small side, and I am not sure if there were homemade or not – but – they tasted nice, and turned out to be quite morish along with sweet chilli dipping sauce. Overall, two nice starters.

Traditional Prawn Cocktail
Traditional Prawn Cocktail
Tempura King Prawns, served with salad and a sweet chilli dipping sauce
Tempura King Prawns, served with salad and a sweet chilli dipping sauce

Our starters were cleared promptly, and we were asked if we would like the main course right away, or if we would like a little break. As not to rush things we opted for a break, which gave us chance to have a chat with Tim about some other things the pub is now offering. He told us about how they have a pizza oven onsite, and are using it to make homemade, stonebaked pizzas which they serve Wednesday to Saturday 6-10pm. Also available for customers to take away if they pre-order and collect. Popular with the locals, this addition to the menu offered a nice alternative to the more traditional pub grub. Tim was kind enough to bring one out to show us, and even though (for my taste) it looked a little undercooked – the ingredients were clearly very fresh, and the pepperoni smelled delicious.

On to the mains. Again, a very traditional choice of mains on offer; all homemade pub classics such as Steak & Ale pie, Beef Lasagne, Vegetable Lasagne, Curry of the Day, Gammon Steak, Beer Battered Fish & Chips, Scampi & Chips and a Classic Burger topped with bacon, cheddar cheese served with a homemade coleslaw. All of these dishes are also available in smaller, Light Bite options served at lunch time. Also on offer during lunch is a variety of sandwiches and jacket potatoes.

The pub also offer a range of 21 day aged steaks (a 10oz Rump & Sirloin), but unfortunately these need to be ordered a day in advance. This is good in the sense that you know the meat is fresh and from a reputable Butcher – but not so good if you fancy an impromptu steak dinner! All their meat, however, is sourced locally from the wonderful Glebe Farm in Astbury, Cheshire.

'Light Bite' 5oz Gammon (usually served with a fried egg & homemade chips)
‘Light Bite’ 5oz Gammon (usually served with a fried egg & homemade chips)

Our mains arrived promptly and we both opted for ‘Light Bites’ – I chose the classic scampi and chips, a little guilty pleasure of mine… and my guest was ‘being good’ on her healthy eating regime – so she opted for the 5oz gammon, which they were happy to serve with a side salad instead of the usual fried egg and chips 🙂

Traditional Scampi & Chips - a pub classic favourite
Traditional Scampi & Chips – a pub classic favourite

The scampi was lovely, typical pub grub which really hit the spot. The homemade chunky chips were the real showstopper – light and fluffy inside but really crispy on the outside and not at all greasy. The gammon steak was an excellent sized potion, perfectly cooked and a really lovely slab of fresh, juicy meat from their local butcher.

With hearty portions for both starter and mains – we really did not have room for puddings, but there was a good selection on offer – Hot Belgian Waffle served with homemade toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream and Treacle Sponge with custard, to name a few.

Overall the visit to the Hawk Inn was pleasant, tasty and welcoming. Although the food is very traditional in its offerings, it is well executed, locally sourced and in many cases homemade.  They are clearly making a good effort to appeal to wider audiences, by introducing their stonebaked pizzas to the menu – and should be commended for that. The atmosphere was a little lacking, but perhaps because on a sunny day like today, most punters were out and about enjoying the long-awaited sunshine. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quaint pub lunch in the area where you can catch up with friends or family, without the distraction of a ‘hustle and bustle’ atmosphere that is present in many other pubs nowadays.

Thanks to Tim and his team for welcoming us along.

Sophie -x-

Disclaimer: Tim invited me and guest to go along to review the pub’s menu and picked up the cost of our food bill in doing so.