Restaurant review The Nags Head, Great Missenden
PUBLISHED: 14:53 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:04 20 February 2013
Once Roald Dahl's local and the venue for the launch of the recent film of his book The Fantastic Mr Fox, The Nags Head at Great Missenden is a real star, says Georgina Gold
On a windy, rainy Friday night in mid March, the Nags Head proved a welcome refuge. Its many years since childrens author the late Roald Dahl was a regular in this popular foodie pub, but his allure is still as strong. Genial host Adam Michaels proudly told us about the visit by actors including Bill Murray, one of the voices of the film Fantastic Mr Fox at the official launch last year. The pub was featured in the movie and illustrations of Roald Dahl characters by Quentin Blake are dotted around the walls alongside numerous foodie awards.
After arriving early evening, we settled ourselves alongside the massive inglenook fireplace and studied the extensive menus devised by executive chef Claude Paillet.
The Nags Head has a sister pub nearby - the Bricklayers Arms in Flaunden, Hertfordshire - which boasts its own smokery. That helped us when choosing starters we simply had to try the Selection of Home Smoked Fish served with Lemon Coriander butter and Tomato Chutney (7.95). Salmon, swordfish and tuna were all delicately smoked and perfectly complemented by the herb flavoured butter and chutney. It was a popular choice with our fellow diners too.
Our other starter, Ballotine of Chicken Liver and Serrano Ham on Milk Bread Toast with a Honey Dressing and Grilled Almond Salad (6.95), was stunning. The ballotine, wrapped in the ham, was deliciously smooth and the delicate flavours of honey and almond were a perfect match.
For main, I chose Best End of Lamb on top of a Shredded Slowly Cooked Leg with Peas and a Mint, Red Wine and Shallot Sauce (18.95). This consisted of cutlets of lamb alongside the most incredibly tender shredded meat. For me, lamb, mint and peas are a heavenly combination and the rich jus-like sauce was the perfect accompaniment.
My husband chose Pork Fillet wrapped in Smoked Bacon served with a Leek and Cider Jus (17.95). Outstanding. For side orders alongside the potato dish of the day Potatoes Dauphinoise - we chose Cauliflower baked with Camembert and Creamed Spinach. Both were delicious.
Nags Head puddings are truly wonderful traditional crumbles, pies, tarts and sticky hot puddings. I opted for the chefs dessert trio (6.95) - mini crme brulee, chocolate ganache and raspberry chibouste in a pastry tulip while my husband chose the bourbon vanilla crme brulee.
For wine we opted for a rose voted the 4th best in the world by Decanter magazine. Chateau des Ferrages Roumery 2008 (Cotes de Provence) transported us from a dark winter night. Served ice-cold, its delicate floral yet fruity flavour was the taste of summer and a particularly good match for the starters.
The Nags Head sources much of its produce locally and everything is cooked to perfection. Daily specials feature fresh fish and vegetarian options. A three-course meal (without wine) will cost 25 upwards per head (average 38 per head). But if youre on a budget, the two-course pub menu (available Monday to Thursday) is unbelievable value at 14.95 per head.
The Nags Head, London Road, Great Missenden, HP16 ODG. Tel: 01494 862200, www.nagsheadbucks.com