Restaurant review, The Shepherd and Dog, Forward Green: “You have to try the Philly cheesesteak”
PUBLISHED: 13:24 31 August 2017
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis experiences proper service with a smile at The Shepherd and Dog, Forward Green
It’s worth saying, straight off the bat, that the landlord here is probably one of the best we’ve come across in a long time. He offered a proper, genuine welcome. I visited with my kids and hubby and he made us feel right at home, showing our son a card trick and offering plenty of banter. There was a lone diner at the bar, and he made an effort to chat to him with interest. It really did warm the cockles of my heart.
But onto the food. Apart from the puds and a few other bits and bobs, everything on the menu (an homage to American cuisine) is homemade, using locally sourced meat and other local ingredients where possible.
To start were freshly baked doughballs, all gooey inside with a blend of cheeses. Not earth shattering, but as good as any we’ve had before. Could have done with a touch more power in the garlic butter.
For the main event we sampled the ribs, a beer burger and Philly cheesesteak. Good lord the portions were big. And I mean Man V Food style. The ribs fell apart around the bones and were glazed in a sticky, rich, almost apply sauce. Served with sweetcorn, chips and onion rings, this is one for big eaters.
The beer burger was to die for. I couldn’t taste any beer which was odd, but was told the burger (made with pork) contained beer and treacle bacon- hence the name. It was smoky, a touch sweet, drippingly juicy, and oh so moreish, with an IPA cheese sauce and onion rings inside the bun too.
But the stand out star was the Philly cheesesteak - made with big chunks of proper steak mince, rather than thin slices of steak. I am literally drooling as I write this. The mince was cooked on a hot plate with onions, peppers and barbecue sauce, then topped with four types of cheese, which melded together into an ooey, gooey, crunchy mess of lip-smacking goodness. I want another one right now!
We tried a couple of (bought-in) puds – sticky toffee and brownie. Both were passable but nothing special and a bit of a let down after the greatness of the main courses.
There’s not a huge range of wines but a great range of local beers including East Coast IPA, which went well with our main courses.
The pub is massive and has been nicely done inside, with wooden benches and tables giving it a relaxed vibe. There’s some rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia here and there – but not enough to make it gaudy. It wasn’t very busy when we visited for an early dinner, although there were several locals having a good time around the bar.
Just off the A140 near Stowupland. Very easy to get to.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think we’ve had a more genuine welcome anywhere. We absolutely could not fault the service and the children were made to feel so at home – like mini VIPs.
It averaged out at about £20-22 for three courses for an adult.
Spotless and fresh. I liked the oversized fancy table top sink in the ladies’.
There’s a huge car park to the side and back, and plenty of room out the front for passing cyclists to stop in.
The cheesesteak. You know the crunchy, chewy cheesy bits on the edge of cheese on toast or pizza that taste the best? This was like that, but with chunks of meat and lashings of sauce.
I really hope this pub does well. After all, they’re doing everything right. They’ve created an inviting interior, offer great service and food, and haven’t alienated locals by pricing them out. It’s a smashing place for a cracking burger and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
You can call The Shepherd and Dog on 01449 711453 for bookings and the pub’s on Facebook too.