Fleet Lane
Tel: 01684 274020

NOT very long ago this picturesque inn and restaurant beside the river Avon was attracting reviews of the sort no proprietor wants to read – poor decor, disinterested staff and overpriced food among them Not so today. New management and a new approach have seen a turnaround, with the Fleet reaping plaudits from satisfied customers, although a few are unhappy at what they see as the loss of a genuine pub atmosphere.

Last Saturday night, the restaurant was doing a roaring trade and we were hard-pressed to find a place in the car park.

“You should see it in the summer when it’s really hectic,”

said our very attentive waitress.

“Our riverside location really pulls in the customers then.”

We were found a table near a window overlooking the river and the slight chilly draught squeezing its way around the frame was more than offset by the warm welcome.

No disinterested “Is your meal ok?” delivered without waiting for an answer – the staff seemed genuinely concerned that we were happy with our meals.

My chicken liver parfait with warm toasted ciabatta and fruit chutney was served with a nicely dressed crisp salad, while the crispy devilled whitebait, garlic aioli and mixed leaves chosen by my wife also met with approval.

Both starters were priced at £6.

The braised pork belly I chose as a main was cooked to perfection – although the dauphinoise potatoes and honey roast carrots, Stowford press cider and sage beurre blanc made the £13 dish somewhat too rich for my liking.

My wife was much happier with her two pan-seared sea bream fillets served with oriental egg noodle stir fry, pak choi and spicy Singapore dressing. The dish cost £15.

There was a rather short list of desserts, each one priced at £5.50.

I am a sucker for crème brulee and the Fleet’s white chocolate one ticked all the boxes.

My wife’s banoffee Eton mess was also a hit, although she said there would have been enough for two diners.

A glass of pinot grigio for me and a white wine spritzer and glass of lemonade for my wife brought the bill to £60.45.

Prices at the Fleet may seem a little on the high side, but there is no doubting the quality of the food, the attitude of the staff and the beautiful location.

We plan another visit when the lighter evenings return.

Food 4
Service 5
Value for money 3
Ambience 4