Lunch review: The Vine in Ware

Food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne samples a doyen of gastro-pubs...

Food and drink editor Richard Cawthorne samples a doyen of gastro-pubs


About the restaurant

The Vine in Ware’s busy high street has been doing what it does for long enough it has become almost the benchmark for gastro-pubs. Customers heading for the food walk through the drinking area to reach a large dining room designed for cosiness. A tried and tested layout, and it works

Atmosphere and decor

The pub plus the restaurant make up a large space but even on a quiet autumn day there is a sense of bustle. It helps the feeling of a go-getting operation while the soft colours, plush sofas and light wood flooring calm things down for the serious business of eating.

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Friendly and conscientious sums up the two smiling waitresses on duty. A good sign is that both take time over and above the order-taking to chat about the food and current Australian wine promotion.

The menu

A lavish selection of familiar dishes leaves us temporarily dithering over what to order. There is a deli selection, starters and light bites, mains, sandwiches and paninis, a soup-and-sandwich choice, winter salads and stone-baked pizzas, not to mention what are called Vine Classics such as fish and chips, a burger and sausage and mash.

To start

Squid tempura and grilled Mediterranean vegetables, both �3.25, turned out to be winning choices from a list of no fewer than 15 starters. The squid were properly chewy and tangy and the veg especially tangy. A good beginning.

Main courses

More middle of the road than the starters, the mains menu served up the star of the show - a duck leg confit in a cannellini bean cassolette (�12.95), meaty and flavourful for a cold morning. I chose the fish of the day, swordfish with green beans and buttered new potatoes (�13.95), solid and filling but not quite fishy enough for my taste. The braised beef and house ale pie (�9.95) could have been a contender.


With two courses accounted for, a third proved a bulge too far but pudding fans can choose typically between traditional vanilla cr�me brulee, bread and butter pudding, chocolate brownie or pumpkin strudel, all at �5.50, plus ice cream at �1.50 a scoop.

The experience

The Vine promises ‘freshly-cooked seasonal dishes in a home-from-home environment’. It’s fair comment, and we enjoyed ourselves.

The cost of lunch for two was �44.30 plus service, including two glasses of wine.

This is an independent review featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and drink editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.


The Vine Pub & Dining Rooms22 High StreetWare SG12 9BY01920

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