Newest Review: ... The décor is contemporary, using woods and green/brown tones together with brick fireplaces, making it warm and inviting. The use of colo... more
After a Hard Day's Work - Volunteer!
The Old Volunteer (Nottingham)
Member Name: helencb
The Old Volunteer (Nottingham)
Advantages: Great food, fantastic surroundings, good offers make it affordable
Disadvantages: a little on the pricy side if you dont have an offer
Although the Old Volunteer in Caythorpe was refurbished almost one year ago, we somehow never managed to make it for dinner there until a little over six weeks ago. Since then we have visited five times in total, four times for dinner, and once for a cheeky wee glass of wine after work. Situated just a couple of miles from my house, it has quickly become my restaurant of choice in the area - and we are quite spoiled for choice around both banks of the Trent close to where I live.
The Caythorpe in question is located at postcode NG14 (Notts), with the pub being in a fairly remote location as you enter the village. There is usually adequate parking at the side or rear of the restaurant, and the rear car park has outdoor seating, although we have not had the opportunity to sit outside, given the time of year. What you cannot miss, are the fantastic old apple trees in the grounds.
While on the subject of outdoor seating though, there is a very attractive outdoor seating area adjacent to the main restaurant, and which also serves as a secondary entrance/exit. This area, which would seat approx 16-20 is heated with external patio lights, so it is possible to sit outside even at this time of year, and of course makes it slightly more comfortable for the smokers. However, most will enter through the front door, and the contemporary décor will not disappoint.
The décor is contemporary, using woods and green/brown tones together with brick fireplaces, making it warm and inviting. The use of colours and textures, slates, wood and tile all add to that designer feel. This is not for you if you enjoy the old fashioned décor, although we liked it enough to copy some of the colours into our kitchen! The pub is mostly given over to dining, in 2-3 key dining areas, although there is a cosy seating area for pre dinner drinks, or simply for those who want to have a drink only. You may find yourself sitting on a large chunk of a tree-trunk instead of a stool however!
On to the food. We have eaten here four times now, once as a table of seven including four children under six, and on the other occasions a rather more orderly table for two. Normally, for a midweek meal, we would typically have a one course and our first meal order was for the beer battered fish, and for the Old Volunteer Burger. Both meals were top class, and well presented, utilising the small copper pans which are trendy in pubs of this type over the last few years. The Old Vol has plenty of midweek offers to encourage midweek dining, and one such offer is a "two for one" on pizzas before 7pm, which we have also taken advantage of, making this a midweek dinner for around £4. We have also taken advantage of the 2 courses for £10.50 offer before 7pm. On this occasion, both hubby and I opted for Bubble and Squeak starter served with a poached egg and hollandaise, which was to die for, and retails at £5.50ish normally. I then had the fish again, whereas hubby opted for steak. His only criticism of the steak was it was served on a wooden board, rather than a plate, a trend he is not overly keen on.
The children's option consisted of a three course meal for £5.50. This was excellent value, as the food was essentially the adult food, but slightly smaller portion, so no junky kids food here. The three children we dined with had the prawn cocktail starter/soup starter, and then all had fish and chips, which was almost identical in size to mine, although I can also report that they all cleared their plates to the same degree I did!
It is worth joining the Old Vol mailing list (or follow them on Facebook) as this means you may get more offers. For example, we received an offer to be a restaurant critique - we could get our main course free if we ordered a starter and a pudding, on selected midweek nights, to celebrate the new autumn menu. This was a great opportunity to try more different courses. I opted for a scallop starter for £7.50, which included three scallops dressed with a peach puree, apple, and a lemon sorbet, so certainly a fruity choice, but very tasty. For main I had a seafood linguine, served with chorizo sausage. On initial presentation, I thought it looked quite tomatoey, but it was delightful, portion size was adequate without being over-facing, and had ample mussels and prawns as well as chorizo. OH had a seabass dish, and he stated it was the best seabass he had ever tasted, I didn't get to taste it, but it did look delicious, and the plate was clear - which is as good a testimony as anything. This was a fairly expensive option at £16.95 normally, but he said it was good value for money, he would have been happy to pay that. A large glass of wine is around £5.70, which is slightly higher than a run of the mill pub, but it doesn't add a lot to the cost of a meal out, and it is worth it for the great ambience and surroundings.
Service has always been very attentive, but friendly and not too fussy, staff are always immaculately groomed, and knowledgeable on the menu choice, so are able to answer questions on the menu with confidence.
The Old Vol appears to be the first restaurant in the group which is north of the Watford gap, as the owners have several sister hotels in London, as well as Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire and Berkshire. They seem to enjoy hosting events, although I have not had the opportunity to attend any yet, but there is plenty going on most nights of the week. They are ahead of the game with their use of emarketing and the internet, and it is possible to book a table on line, and we have always had a prompt response to enquiries.
In summary, The Old Volunteer is highly recommended.
Summary: A fantastic pub restaurant in the East Nottinghamshire region