The Viper, Mill Green, Ingatestone
Last Wednesday was my dad’s birthday as he works from home, I booked the day off work to take him out for lunch. He chose to go The Viper – one of his favourite pubs – in Mill Green. Set in scenic woodland, it really is a traditional country pub and it’s the only pub in the UK with that name. With a reasonably-sized beer garden, it attracts cyclists and ramblers, while in the winter, log fires burn in the cosy interior. It even has that traditional pub smell. If you’re wanting proper pub grub and a real ale, there really is nowhere better.
Cheese & ham ploughman’s
I knew what I was going to order in the morning – for some reason I really craved a ploughman’s lunch. I’d never had one before, but recently, I’ve loved meats and salad with pickles. The concept is totally up my street.
The Viper have a fairly extensive lunchtime menu, with sandwiches, baguettes, ploughman’s and jacket potato compiling the menu. I was initially tempted by the pate, but ended up opting for the cheese and ham – which was a very good decision! It was a proper pub lunch: three hunks of French bread, a large salad with coleslaw and pickles, a chunk of mature cheddar and a couple of slices of (real) ham with some pickle. The plate was piled high, as you can see and £5.95 was more than reasonable. Surprisingly, I managed to eat it all – and even helped dad finish his sandwich (he chose turkey, stuffing and cranberry on granary bread – doorstep style!).
It was rather blustery outside, although when the sun was out, it was lovely. Because of that, we were the only ones sitting outside in the beer garden – the inside was pretty full considering it was a Wednesday lunchtime. The interior is cosy though, perfect for winter. There’s a real country vibe about the place, with groups of old men having a sociable drink.