Published in The Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 27 August 2010
Nestled amongst former stable buildings in the village of Alwalton just off the A605, The Cuckoo exudes a warm, relaxed country-pub style welcome.
Metaphorically rising above the pub for a moment, The Cuckoo, formerly known as the Wheatsheaf Inn, is situated close to the East of England Showground and the Nene Park, and is an established fixture in the area.
My girlfriend and I dined around 7pm on a Tuesday, so it wasn’t too busy, but steadily built up whilst we ate. The staff were friendly and attentive, although the speed of service did drop off later in the meal.
We sat near a window, an olde world feel to the place with dark wood tables, candles on the window sill, and exposed stone and beams.
There was a also a real fire in our area always a plus on cold winter days and nights. the bar area does have a more modern feel, and there is a sizeable beer garden area.
The menu offered plenty of traditional English pub-style options a separate wine and drinks list listed a good variety of whites, reds and rosé options.
There are real ales on offer, and I had a pint of Harviestoun’s Schiehallion situated at the blonder end of the scale but very drinkable, it was on offer as part of a mini Cask Ale festival running until Friday 17th September. Topically, this ale also features at the 33rd Peterborough Beer Festival currently entertaining the crowds and a large amount of rainwater not four miles down the A605 on The Embankment.
Among the starters were some tempting sharing options including a Greek-inspired Mezze platter, but we went for a very tasty baked Camembert with accompanying celery, toasted Ciabatta and and onion relish. Inevitably there’s never quite enough bread, or is it just me wolfing it down?
For the main course I had a 9oz Rib-Eye Steak with garden peas, chips and onion rings, mistakenly having the steak well-done as I’m not overly fond of the more raw end of the scale – meant it was slightly over on the outside, but was of good quality all the same. Personally I wasn’t convinced by the red wine, onion and bacon sauce, a little rich – there are more options – but it added an alternative flavour sensation.
Now, I’m not a big fan of onion rings, I mean you wouldn’t just slice up wodges of onion and start munching it like crisps, and just coating it in batter doesn’t really improve that scenario for me, but the crispy crunchy coating made these a rare treat.
My partner had the generous homemade salmon and broccoli fishcakes with herb mayonnaise, chips and dressed mixed salad which all looked impressive and salad was fresh.
The portions were about right throughout, with plenty of reasonable skinny chips with our mains.
Gently approaching being filled up, we shared a Warm Apple Flan with warm caramel sauce and a dollop of clotted cream which was OK and not too heavy. Overall, reasonable value for money in a pleasantly rustic atmosphere.
The Cuckoo, 20 Oundle Road, Alwalton, Peterborough, PE7 3UP, 01733 239638, www.vintageinn.co.uk/thecuckooalwalton/
Food served all day Monday to Saturday all day from 12 noon to 10pm, Sunday all day to 9.30pm.
- Whole Baked Camembert £6.95
- with Vintage tomato chutney, celery and toasted bread
- Mezze Platter £9.95
- houmous, Roquito pepper aioli, Greek Kalamata olives, minted feta tzatziki, falafel and flatbread
- Duck Liver Pâté £4.75
- with redcurrant and juniper jelly and toasted brown bread
- Roasted Flat Mushrooms £4.95
- stuffed with forest mushrooms, cream cheese and thyme, served with crisp sweet cure bacon and rocket
- Goats Cheese with a Dhukka Crunchy Coating £5.50
- with rocket and cherry tomato salad, olive oil and balsamic glaze
- Tempura Prawn Skewers £5.50
- with plum sauce, toasted sesame seeds, spring onions and fresh chilli
- Premium Fish Pie £8.95
- cod fillet, smoked haddock and king prawns in a smoked salmon and dill cream, topped with crushed potatoes and cheese, served with seasonal vegetables
- Organically Reared Shetland Salmon £10.95
- served with warm salad of baby potatoes, green beans, beetroot and rocket with a honey mustard dressing
- Fish Mixed Grill £12.95
- swordfish, red snapper, mahi mahi and king prawn skewers, marinated and grilled, served with asparagus, spring onions, Roquito pepper aioli and seasoned chips
- Five-Spice Duck Leg Confit £9.95
- served on an Asian style salad of chilled egg noodles, mango, red peppers, green beans and mooli dressed with soy sauce and sesame seeds
- Smoked Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad £8.95
- with crisp cos lettuce, baby spinach, plum tomatoes, croutons and a honey mustard dressing
- Warm Black Pudding, Bacon and
- Mushroom Salad £8.95
- tossed with crisp potatoes, baby spinach, croutons, and smoky garlic dressing topped with a soft poached egg
- Mixed Grill £13.95
- lamb cutlet, rump steak, sausage, sweet cure bacon, egg, black pudding, white pudding, roast mushroom, tomato, seasoned chips and garden peas
- 8oz Prime Beef Burger £7.95
- 8oz Lamb Burger £8.95
- 9oz Rib-Eye Steak £12.45
- served with seasoned chips, crispy onion rings, chargrilled plum tomato and garden peas
- 7oz Fillet Steak £14.95
- served with a mini mushroom pie, seasoned chips and green beans
- Stuffed Chicken Breast £10.95
- succulent chicken stuffed with brie and smoked bacon, served with spring onion mash, steamed green beans and pepperonata sauce
- Hunter’s Chicken £8.75
- butterflied chicken breast served with smoked cheddar and sweet cure bacon with barbecue sauce, seasoned chips and garden peas
- Scampi and Chips £6.95
- breaded scampi served with seasoned chips, garden peas and fresh tartare sauce
- Warm Apple Flan £4.25
- Normandy style flan served with clotted cream and toffee sauce
- Orange and Passion
- Fruit Tart £4.25
- with a passion fruit coulis and crème fraiche
- Apple and Rhubarb Crumble £4.45
- served with vanilla ice cream and custard
- Banoffee Cheesecake £4.45
- served with fresh banana, dolce de leche and whipped cream