An original, independent review by Rowena Heal:
As I enter the Dancing Jug I immediately notice the warm and welcoming air that fills the room.
It’s well-lit with wall lights, spotlights and candles without being blinding after a long day. Acoustic music competes with the general buzz of post-work chatter, but this adds to the homely feeling of a local, without the huge crowds that often populate larger chains.
The cream and mauve walls give the place a more chic feeling than the average bar but it doesn’t deter too far from a traditional pub feeling, with wooden tables and leather bound bar stalls. With only a few round tables at the entrance and a small row of dining tables at the rear, the Dancing Jug is an intimate place, which is perfect for a drink after work or relaxed dinner with friends.
My guest and I are greeted by a very friendly barmaid, who allows us to choose where to sit. We opt for a table towards the back and begin scrutinising the menu, which is printed on one side of A3.
Although not hugely extensive there’s something to suit all tastes, with pasta dishes, salads, burgers or a selection of tapas-style starters. The lunchtime menu also looks appetising, with paninis, soup and wraps, but unfortunately doesn’t run into the evening.
In true pub fashion I go for the ‘secret recipe’ burger, made from locally sourced minced beef and accompanied with homemade chips and a side salad. My guest chooses the less traditional option of a Caesar salad.
After a short wait our meals appear, looking well presented and a generous size. I eagerly pop a chip into my mouth to discover a crispy coating over a deliciously fluffy potato filling and cant wait to taste my burger.
I cut through the perfectly toasted bun –not a burnt bit in sight to reveal a mouth-watering looking burger, topped with tomato and a pesto sauce. Its cooked wonderfully and has clearly been freshly prepared. The sauce is also a pleasant accompaniment, making a nice change from the usual mayonnaise that many pubs provide.
My guest’s salad is topped with a generous amount of chicken and just the right level of Caesar sauce, so the leaves are neither too dry nor drowned in a sea of dressing. The croutons are beautifully crispy, the lettuce tastes fresh and the anchovies offer a fishy kick.
Our meals are cleared and the waitress asks if we’d like anything else. Her smart-casual dress of jeans and heels suitably matches the sophisticated yet relaxed vibes felt in the Dancing Jug. Her smile never falters and she’s constantly polite and friendly, making our dining experience even more enjoyable.
She regrettably tells me they don’t have a desert menu but each night offer a choice of puddings, tonight’s consisting of New York Cheesecake or Chocolate cake, so I decide on the latter.
It soon appears, complete with decorative mint leaf and splashes of raspberry sauce. As I slice through the spongy layers I find they’re lovely and moist, without being too rich. The cream inside tastes fresh and the crumbly flake topping adds a crunch to the hugely tasty desert.
I finish my meal feeling full and thoroughly satisfied, my bill coming to a reasonable £13.95. Although not ideal for a romantic meal, the Dancing Jug is obviously a great venue for a group looking to enjoy a good hearty pub lunch/dinner, or to unwind after work over an alcoholic drink, which I will definitely be doing in the future.