Salt, STAFFORD, ST18 0BX
This thatched inn is situated in the village of Salt, which has been a settlement since the Saxon period. It is thought to be only the second pub in the country to receive, back in Charles II's reign, a licence to sell alcohol, although the building itself may date from 1190. When landlord Geoff Holland's son Joseph became a joint licensee six days past his 18th birthday, he was the youngest person ever to be granted a licence. The pub's comfortably traditional interior contains all the essential ingredients: heavy carved beams, open fires, attractive prints and cosy alcoves. The kitchen has a strong commitment to limiting food miles by supporting local producers, and to ensuring that animals supplying meat have lived stress-free lives. The main menu features dishes such as breaded whole-tail scampi; grilled pork chops with cheese, beer and mustard topping; free-range supreme of chicken with Guinness; mixed grill; and Greek lamb, namely roast shoulder with red wine, herbs and spices and Greek salad. Look to the blackboards for the day's vegetarian options. Lunchtime and evening specials change every session, with examples including Cajun spiced beef tortilla wrap with sautéed peppers, onions and sautéed potatoes; grilled panini filled with bacon, mozzarella, Stilton and tomato; pan-fried fresh monkfish tails in creamy smoked bacon and button mushroom sauce; and trio of home-made sausages - venison and chilli, beef and horseradish, pork, apple and cider - with colcannon mash and caramelised baby carrots. Seasonal puddings include traditional bread and butter pudding, and apple crumble. During the warmer months hand-made pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired brick oven. June and September are the months for beer and cider festivals.