CORONAVIRUS has changed lots of things in life this year, but since the national lockdown was lifted, those of us lucky enough to live in areas where local restrictions have not hit have been able to get back to enjoying eating out again.

Having been keen supporters of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme in August, we felt it was our duty to the local economy to carry on visiting local venues when it ended, and for our first night out in September headed to the Milk Churn, in Melksham.

The pub is on the edge of town, with ample car parking, and when I rang to book offered a warm welcome, with the now-familiar ‘Please don’t come if you develop any coronavirus symptoms between now and then’ warning.

Quickly settled at a table, we looked at the menu, which didn’t seem much reduced in quantity to us. Deciding the puddings were pub standards, we opted for starters and mains, and so have this advice: if you’ve a small (or actually, normal) appetite, you might want to just have the main course.

For while the prawn cocktail (£6.75) was the usual size, and the squash fritters (£5.25) a reasonable portion, the bowl of deep fried whitebait (£5.25) which arrived would have fed us all. It was delicious, crunchy on the outside and fishy on the inside, but even after we had all sampled it there was still lots left. The prawn cocktail was the classic you’d expect, and I thought the cardamom, tomato and coriander mayo a great match for the fritters.

On to the mains, and by now we were a tad apprehensive, having seen some loaded plates coming out to other tables - a monster dish of fish and chips sailed past at one point.

Sure enough, they were all really generous portions - and also all very tasty indeed. My husband went for roast ling (£12.50), a fish he couldn’t remember having tried. It was served with crushed new potatoes and watercress and flaked beautifully when eaten, perfectly cooked.

My daughter’s spiced red lentil daal (£10.50) had roasted squash and cauliflower florets in a lentil sauce flavoured with chilli, coconut and coriander, and came with mango chutney and jasmine rice. She was really pleased , and said the blend of flavours was great, but there was far too much and she felt guilty at not being able to finish it. I suggested she ask for a doggy bag and was met with an eye-roll and the ‘Oh Mum’ look - I’m sure if she had asked they would have obliged.

I tried the steak and Tangle Foot pie (£12.50), served with mash, red cabbage and Badger beer gravy, and it was yummy. I like a good pie, and think the combination of shortcrust for the bottom and puff on top works well as its not over-loading you and still makes sure the filling stays inside. The steak was good quality and the gravy, both in the pie case and the Badger beer sauceboat, was really good.

We were far too full for pudding, and went home very satisfied, even more so as when we came to pay it turned out that pub owners Hall and Woodhouse had extended the EOTHO scheme on their own initiative, and our bill had a hefty discount. Whether this still applies I don’t know, but even without it we would have felt well fed for a good price.


The Milk Churn

Commerce Way, Melksham

SN12 6AD

01225 706496

Car park and disabled access

Our ratings

Food 8/10

Decoration 6/10

Service 8/10

TripAdvisor: 3.5/5