Food review - The Rams Head, Disley

Rams Head Disley (c) Gavin Dando

Rams Head Disley (c) Gavin Dando - Credit: GAVIN DANDO

Brilliant ‘pub’ food in a genuinely laidback space that fizzes with fun.

We love a good 'ole pub in Cheshire. Quite frankly though, I have a bit of an up-and-down relationship with pub food. When it's good, it's spirit lifting. But when it's bad, it's lousy.

For me to get excited about a pub's menu it needs to focus on the simple joys, the old-fashioned combos, the quality produce cooked with respect. I'm not asking for fancy foams or smoking iced puds.

The good news? I've found all of this and more at the revamped Rams Head in Disley - a huge pub with vaulted arches, flagstone floors and moody-romantic corners next to stoked fires. It's got that winter warmer feel where you rock up for 'just one drink' and are still there hours later, ordering another bottle from the excellent wine list and completely forgetting your kids will be up at 6am. Just wait until the sprawling beer garden is in full swing this spring - even if that means huddling around heat lamps.

Before you do anything, nab a table and order a G&T - they have every kind you can think of - and a bowl of smoked almonds. Starters dart around the globe from Massaman chicken skewers and tempura squid to panko-crusted fried brie with sloe gin chutney.

Scallops arrived on a bright green pea velouté with crispy lobster bon bons (almost like posh fish fingers) and a scattering of edible flowers. For mains, it's a case of if-it's-not-broke-don't-fix it: steaks and pork belly, pies and pan-fried salmon.

But there are details of elevation: the rotisserie chicken is marinated in truffle or chimichurri with confit garlic and preserved lemon aioli; and the steaks are twinned with the sort of chips you'll dream about and a caramelised onion, stilton and panko-crumb tart. My rack of lamb was big and bold with fiery chorizo, cavolo nero, dauphinoise potatoes and a chimmichurri and red wine sauce to smother over your meat and nibble to the bone.

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Desserts, meanwhile, are proper puds - sticky toffee pudding, treacle and pecan tart and tiramisu. Oh and there's an interesting vegan menu with a stonkingly good salted caramel billionares bar.

My verdict: brilliant 'pub' food in a genuinely laidback space that fizzes with fun.

The Rams Head, Buxton Road West, Stockport, SK12 2AE

01663 767 909