The Green Man at Ropsley Review
As featured in The Yellow Belly’s guide to 10 of the best Lincolnshire Gastropubs, The Green Man is situated in the heart of the sleepy Lincolnshire village of Ropsley, slightly off the beaten track, but not too far from Grantham.
The Green Man is one of a growing number of Lincolnshire gastro-style pubs offering great food, a very full and well-chosen selection of wine and beer and friendly, professional service, all delivered in a casual, relaxed dining environment. Already a winner of several awards including Trip Advisor’s Lincolnshire’s Best Pub and the prestigious CAMRA pub of the year – twice.
It was with genuine excitement and anticipation that we set off for lunch at The Green Man.
Set in a lovely 17th century Lincolnshire-stone building in the heart of the village, The Green Man also has a secondary role housing the village Post Office, which highlights owners Phil and Leanne Docherty’s dedication and determination for the pub to be a focal point of community life in the village.
On the day of our visit, the weather was typical of Lincolnshire early spring – weak sunshine with a cold wind. However, on entering the bar directly from the main street, we were immediately greeted by a warm welcome from Kerry behind the bar and the glow from a wonderful wood burning stove at the far end of the room. This was a great first impression and makes you want to take your coat off, sit down with a drink and get comfortable – fast.
The Green Man offers a wide choice of current and ‘next on’ cask beers: Loxley Ale, Lancaster Bomber, Rutland Beast to name but a few.
Displayed on chalk boards on the shelves behind the bar there are intriguing suggestions of other liquid temptations ‘Something to Discover’, ‘English gins and vodkas to sip’ or, why not, something to ‘treat yourself (or a friend)’? This all adds up to a convivial and warm introduction to the hostelry.
Even a request for a low-alcoholic lager (usually quite a disappointing necessity for the driver) provided a more interesting option in the form of Erdinger 0% wheat beer. What a choice. Refreshing, delicious and even isotonic! I’d happily be the driver for the next trip to The Green Man.
The wine selection, although not vast, has been particularly well-chosen by a local importer and has an excellent, Picpoul de Pine, which proved the perfect partner to both of the sea-food dishes that we chose. I also tried the house Chardonnay which proved equally quaffable and very keenly priced at £5.95 for a large measure.
Drinks secured we were led away (somewhat reluctantly!) from the cosy bar through to the main dining area complete with a second wood burner generating an equally welcoming, warming glow.
This part of the pub also encompasses the tea rooms where walkers seeking a final gastro-destination after a brisk countryside stroll are invited to not only sample the wide range of beers, soft drinks teas and coffee, but also chose from an extensive food menu which includes a selection of daily-changing specials.
What is on the menu?
The menu provides something for every taste, to fully appreciate the extent of choice available requires a visit, but in summary, for those who enjoy locally sourced meat, fish and vegetable, Phil and Leanne go to great lengths to provide meats in season from across the county such as: venison, lamb, rabbit and pheasant and of course, fresh Lincolnshire fish.
A really good range of sensibly priced steaks looked extremely tempting, each offered with a choice of sauces and served with hand-cut chips grilled tomato, portobello mushroom and a side salad.
The chalk board was full of hearty homemade options such as pan-fried ox liver with bacon and onion gravy or if you fancy something slightly lighter – smoked haddock with a poached hen’s egg and a lemon, cream and white wine sauce.
Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free choices are widely available and the staff welcome discussions about food choices and are extremely flexible, adapting dishes to suit the preferences of the customer wherever they can.
Signor Verde pizzas are also available in the restaurant or as a takeaway with classic Italian toppings or how about a Lincolnshire Venison Meatball Pizza complete with pickled chillis, onion chutney and an infused marinara sauce?
To start we ordered the calamari to share. This arrived piping hot and was accompanied by a delicious fresh seafood mayonnaise, liberally peppered with chopped gherkins, taking it to an altogether different level. The accompanying green side salad was crisp and freshly dressed.
Whilst the calamari came from the freezer, it was very good, delicate, well-seasoned and quickly demolished.
For the main course we chose the coconut-infused chicken balti and the pan-fried monkfish cheeks in lemon oil from the specials board.
The coconut sauce ensured that the chicken was tender and moist. It also gave a hint of sweetness with a slight hint of chilli delivering just enough spicy punch. Steamed rice, naan, poppadom and minted yoghurt accompanied the dish. Although it was perhaps a little sweet for my palate, it was nonetheless delicious, very filling and excellent value at £12.95.
Monkfish Cheeks Fried in Lemon Oil
The monkfish sat proudly on quenelles of buttery mashed potatoes, surrounded by a panache of peppers, leeks and tart baby onions all dressed with a tangy lemon oil that beautifully complemented the plump, tender and perfectly cooked monkfish. What a stunning and cleverly presented dish; it was the perfect option for lunch.
The Green Mans puddings are cleverly displayed on a wine bottle and offer a lovely selection of traditional favourites, some with a modern twist and each with a recommended tipple!
Three courses each would have been a mammoth task with such generous portions for starter and main courses, so we decided a pudding halved is a pudding shared!
We opted for the ‘Ropsley Mess’ which comprised a layered tower of tart summer berries, lightly crushed meringue and vanilla ice cream topped with cream. Following the recommendation on the menu, this was accompanied and contrasted by a glass of warming sherry topped with a fresh orange slice – terrific. It was surprisingly light and refreshing and made a great end to a fabulous lunch.
This two-course lunch for two (one starter and one pudding), drinks and coffee brought the total to a very reasonable £54 – excellent value.
Phil and Leanne have a large, close-knit team that ensures The Green Man runs smoothly and it really shows. From Kelly’s warm welcome, to head chef Emma’s detailed knowledge of her food and the enthusiasm and generosity of staff and owners alike.
This is a rare village treasure with a customer-focused ethos, pride in locally sourced, seasonal food and a genuine community spirit that should appeal to anyone who enjoys and appreciates a really good English pub. The Green Man at Ropsley is firmly lodged on the “definitely going back there’ list and I can’t wait for the next visit.
Wow factors: 1/3
Total Score = 19/23