01373 830900

The Cross Keys

20 High Street, Rode, BA11 6NZ

01373 830900


Parking: at rear

Disabled access: Yes at the front, but lots of steps to rear entrance and beer terrace

Times rating: Food 7/10

Choice 9/1-0

Decor 7/10

Customer service 9/10

Main course prices £9.75-£17

Trip Advisor rating: 4.5

ON A rather nippy night, the prospect of a pleasant meal in a pub while we waited for a friend seemed a good thing, so we headed out to Rode, where the Cross Keys is in the centre of the village.

The car park is tucked away behind the pub and rather confusingly seems to serve several local homes, but we found a space and negotiated our way down the sets of steps that lead to the rear entrance.

Inside the welcome was warm, but we felt the pub itself was a little chilly, and kept our coats on until half way through the meal.

The bar was quite full with people starting their weekend socialising, as well as lots of diners: the better informed had realised that Friday night is Steak night and were taking advantage of the £10 special offer.

However they found us a table without any trouble and we settled down to make our choices. Surprisingly, my meat-loving son turned down the chance of a steak to try the pan fried duck breast, which came with fondant potatoes and seasonal vegetables (£14.50), leaving me to see if the advertised specials lived up to their promise.

Working on the principle of always being willing to try something I've never had before, a I chose a flat iron steak, a cut of meat new to me which I was promised was very tender, with traditional chips and peas.

We sat back to enjoy our drinks while we waited for the food, and I sampled the Ashton Press cider which was excellent.

The food arrived and both platefuls more than lived up to their promise: the duck breast was pronounced perfectly cooked, succulent without being too rare - Masterchef has a lot to answer for as we all now know far too much about how duck should be cooked. The fondant potatoes were soft and the seasonal veg, which included kale, all disappeared.

I had followed the advice to have the steak cooked medium rare and found myself cutting into some wonderfully tender and flavoursome meat.

It was a larger steak than I'd expected, too, and the chips soaked up the juices beautifully.

Pleased with our firsts we moved on to pudding, but sadly the chocolate brownie didn't match the sticky toffee pudding (both £5.50). Mine was a small portion but very flavoursome, in a good puddle of toffee sauce, but my companion said the brownie was too dry (he considers himself something of an expert, as this is his favourite pub pud) and would have been better with cream rather than ice cream.

Finding the friend had been delayed we relaxed with some soft drinks and enjoyed the atmosphere in the pub, with its stone walls, flagstone floors and traditional decor, before making our way home.

The Cross Keys has clearly found a place in many people's hearts, as a local pub, good dining venue to travel to and it also had rooms which make it popular with weekend break guests visiting the West Country.

Our total bill came to £45.30, which seemed very good value for the quality of the food.