The Stable‘s Kai greeted us with Cider Board stocked with some of his personal favourites from the bar. We had a great mix of ciders to try, including a perry, a raspberry cider, a scrumper, a classic cider and their bestseller, the Devon Mist. My personal favourite was the Black Country Scrumper. At 4.8%, this was a very classic ‘farmyard’ style cider, which I love. It was fruity, earthy and very drinkable.
I was surprised by Sheppy’s Raspberry, which I expected to be too sweet for my taste, but was actually more like ‘real’ fruit tasting than the usual syrupy fruit options.
As a special treat, we tried Lancombe Rising, which is a naturally sparkling cider. It’s made in the french style of Keeving. A keeved cider is made with bittersweet apples, and bottled while still young. Natural sugars allow the cider to ferment slowly in the bottle, creating a sweet, sparkling drink, reminiscent of champagne. I’ve never tried cider like this, but I’m a complete convert. Light, with a nutty finish, this was delicious.
There’s far than just pizza at The Stable, although naturally we ate plenty of that too.
On Kai’s suggestion, we started with the Pot of Gold (£13). Three kinds of cheese are melted together with cider and served with sourdough for dipping. The cheese clearly involve some sort of good, strong cheddar, as there was some beautiful sharpness to this. A warm, comforting starter, perfect for autumn. I’d be quite happy to share one of these with a cider board over a Sunday afternoon.
Moving onto pizza, we went for the Royale With Cheese (£14), which is topped with ground beef, onion, cheddar, lettuce, pickles and burger sauce, all on a sesame seed crust. I loved this, as I’m a burger fiend. The sauce and the pickles bring a bright tanginess to the pizza, which was excellent. The toppings are plentiful with good quality beef.
From the specials, we tried the Ragin’ Cajun, which has an unusual sweetcorn base, with chorizo, cajun chicken, red onion and mozzarella. This was spicy with smokey heat, and the sweetcorn base was a surprising hit, adding sweetness to the spice.
We shared a Purple Haze (£5.50), a salad packed with red cabbage, sweetcorn, sprouting broccoli, fresh chilli, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes. I loved how colourful this was, with perfectly crisp veg. The citrus vinaigrette made this a refreshing side to split.
The Pot of Gold is a revelation and I’m furious with myself for never noticing it on the menu before. As always, I enjoyed the pizza choices, and would definitely pay more attention to the sides and salads options, which I generally ignore. I’ll be back for more cheese and lazy autumn afternoons.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Hoot Hospitality and The Stable, and I didn’t see the bill. All words, images and opinions are my own. All prices are correct at the time of writing. Read my full disclosure policy here.