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FOOD REVIEW: The Nags Head, Lavister

After extensive refurbishment the Nags Head in Lavister, Wrexham re-opened on the 1st of May 2015.  Under new ownership the Nags Head Lavister is now a traditional pub with restaurant dining serving locally brewed cask ales and fine wines.  

 

As a leading This Is Wrexham restaurant with a great reputation, the team develop their menus by using the very best produce from local businesses and farmers from around North Wales.  To see what all of the buzz is about - we sent our in-house foodie Sarah and her partner along on a bit of a mystery shop to see if the reputation lived up to the reviews...

The Nags Head Lavister is set just near the border between England and Wales and just a short walk from the picturesque village of Rossett. The building itself is a reasonable size and looks incredibly inviting. It has a neat outside area, plenty of greenery and outside seating.

 

We walked in and straight ahead was the bar, which naturally we headed for.  We were greeted by a friendly gentleman, dressed very smart and we assumed him to be the manager.  He asked if we had a booking which we did and we advised we would like a drink at the bar first as we had arrived early.  He communicated this to the bar staff who beamed at us with a great smile and she waited patiently as we took our time to order our drinks. 

 

There is so much choice from real ales on draft, lager, Guinness, ciders and most importantly for my other half, a decent selection of gin! Whilst he stalled in making a choice of gin, the bar lady assisted in helping him make a decision, he went for Brockmans with a Mediterranean Fever tree tonic and it was served in a gin goblet with berries, perfect.

 

Whilst we were enjoying our drinks at the bar we were offered the menus to have a look at by the manager, I asked what would he recommend and he very clearly told us of the offer he had on that evening of ‘Rump and Red for £12’ (Wednesday Nights) and also advised us of their stone baked pizza’s, with homemade dough and how delicious it is. 

 

We took our time to go through the menu, there is so much choice and diversity, the menu clear and descriptive, once we had made our decision we decided to head over to our table and place our order there. We were guided into the spacious restaurant by the bar lady and seated at our table.

 

The Restaurant was decorated in festive ornaments ready for the Christmas season, the lighting was a suitable level and the seats were comfortable. We asked for a wine menu and based on our food choices we decided to order a Pinot Grigio Rose, this was crisp, chilled and delicious. 

 

"Did you know?  This Is Wrexham card holders just need to show their card to receive 20% off the food bill - any day of the week!"

 

We placed our order with the waitress, I had opted for Creamed Mussels as a starter and King Prawn Pill Pill as a main course, my partner opted for Onion Bhaji to start and Salt and Pepper Chicken Burger as a main. We hadn’t been waiting too long in my opinion when the waitress came out and apologised for the wait and advised that the chef was not happy with the mussels and therefore had brought us some homemade focaccia, oils and olives to apologise whilst he made a fresh batch.  This is my favourite appetizer, such a nice touch and showed us how much care goes into the cooking here, a great start in my view! Shortly after this gesture our starters with brought out.

 

My Creamed Mussels were cooked with shallot and garlic cream sauce served with focaccia dipping bread. I can honestly say these were the tastiest mussels I have had in ages, the sauce was impeccably creamy and the taste was incredible, the toasted thick bread was perfect to dunk in and mop up the delicious sauce, meanwhile my partners Onion Bhaji was presented beautifully, served with mango and chilli salsa, coriander and mango coulis, he said it was cooked to perfection and the flavours complimented each other beautifully.

 

"I can honestly say that these were the tastiest mussels I have had in ages, the sauce was impeccably creamy and the taste was incredible!"

 

The starters were cleared promptly and we waited patiently for our main courses, I decided to use this time to have a real look at the building behind the Christmas decorations. The restaurant is set in a part of the building which has high ceilings with fantastic wooden beams and a huge feature chandelier, the back wall has bottles of different wine nestled into them, along with a wooden log display, there are paintings of the Nags Head building on the wall and near the front door a silver ‘Nags Head’.

 

"The ambience of this building is very country pub, homely and traditional and whilst this is reflected in the menu by a ‘pub classics’ section, the rest of food is certainly not outdated, it is seasonal and on trend." 

The mains arrived and I actually gave a ‘wow’ when mine was placed in front of me, King Prawn Pill Pill served in a skillet pan with pancetta, chorizo, chilli and garlic, served with fries, focaccia and aioli, whilst my partner had a large two-piece Salt and Pepper chicken burger on a sourdough bun with fried and ‘slaw, based on the managers recommendation of the pizza, we hadn’t want to miss out so we ordered a side of the garlic pizza bread with cheese too! I was brought a finger bowl for my fish dish and we were offered any other condiments; our wine was topped up and we were left to enjoy our main course.

 

My prawns were meaty and the sauce was spicy and flavoursome, the homemade toasted focaccia again was delicious and I was grateful to have it to mop of the sauce from my Pill Pill.  My partners chicken burger was juicy on the inside, crispy coated on the outside, the fries were cooked perfectly and seasoned just right, the garlic pizza bread side was fresh, baked to perfection, the dough was beautiful, the gentleman came over to check our main course and there were no complaints from either of us. 

Once we had finished our main we were asked if we would like dessert menus, we nodded but advised we would like a few minutes before ordering.  We sat back, relaxed and enjoyed our wine, the restaurant was quiet but a few more tables had come in, there are three hotels in the area, Rossett Hall, Llyndir Hall and Grosvenor Pulford all of which have restaurants within them.  However, if people are on business and get fed up of the hotel food choice I believe that the Nags Head is certainly a place the front desk can comfortably recommend to guests staying in the area.

 

After a little wait we ordered our desserts, for me; Latte Cheesecake, hazelnut cream, baileys ice cream and for him Sweet Belgian Waffle, toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream! They arrived a little after 5 minutes and the presentation was wonderful the flavours complimented each other perfectly … I have to admit I was too full to finish it all, but it was wonderful, we decided to not have coffee and just to relax and finish off our wine, there was no rush to leave our table which is always a perk of dining mid-week.