Dining Out at The Leagate Inn, Coningsby
One of the oldest continually licensed pubs in the county, The Leagate Inn at Coningsby has a thoroughly up-to-date approach to providing really satisfying dining, not least with its seasonal special… a festive pie which tasted fantastic, but definitely isn’t for sharing!
Just a friendly warning. In mid-November The Leagate Inn, on the B1192 between Coningsby and Boston, will once again offer its Christmas Cracker Pie to diners on a Tuesday evening. I will be first in line, and as generally conciliatory as I am, should anyone come between me and that pie, there will be trouble.
It’s a dish which owners Harry Dennison & Laura Hazell, plus chef Thomas Spivey and team describe somewhat understatedly as ‘quite popular.’ In fact, if there aren’t queues out the door and panic on the streets of Coningsby I’ll be surprised… especially after my ringing culinary endorsement.
The only problem I can see is that this is a ‘sharing pie’ – designed for two diners – and the present Mrs Davis is not always that tractable when it comes to sharing food. Especially food this good. I foresee a battle to the last forkful of the silken gravy, big chunks of turkey, sage-ey stuffing, sprouts and the golden shortcrust pastry (made to a recipe passed down from Harry’s grandmother), with pastry now made by Harry’s mum, Sharon.
It’s believed there has been a pub on the site since the 16th century. For 39 years Harry’s family has owned the Inn making him and Laura the third generation owners. Harry’s father literally wrote the book on it, detailing its history from 1542 to 2022 in an entertaining volume.
Harry & Laura took over from Harry’s father and mother, Mark & Sharon, in 2019 and wanting to put their mark on the place, treated it to a refurbishment including a super new beer garden and terrace, with Laura creating seven new rooms. I don’t normally include images of bedrooms in Dining Out features, but they look so lovely that to leave them out would feel like an omission. If you’ve friends or family looking to stay in Lincolnshire over the festive season, this is a much better option than some stable in Bethlehem.
Along with a refurbishment, 2020 also saw the arrival of Head Chef Tom. He and his brigade reinvented the menu to comprise nine starters plus sundry grazing dishes, then five à la carte-style ‘specialities,’ and four further pub-restaurant inspired ‘classics,’ as well as seven grill options including a 1.1kg 30-day dry-aged Tomahawk steak. Actually, I might throw the latter at the present Mrs Davis for her to gnaw on, leaving me with a clear run at the festive pie…
“Tom’s a fantastic chef, relying on talent and investing time, not cutting corners,” says Harry. “He really understand what diners enjoy, which is why we attract customers from all over the county.”
“We’re keen to not reinvent the wheel and that means offering good quality local food in a non-pretentious environment, as well as being consistent for our returning customers.”
“It also means not cutting corners where ingredients are concerned because what the kitchen produces can only be as good as what they’re working with.”
“In our case that means butchery from R Wisby of Wragby, and Price & Fretwell, plus fish sourced from really good suppliers like Cook & Lucas, based in Grimsby and local fruit and veg from Boston’s Freshdrop.”
Tom and the team bake their own speciality focaccia, and source other bread from Horncastle’s Myers. Desserts are home made too, with speciality ice creams and the very festive spiced apple cheesecake made with apples picked freshly from the pub’s gardens. Can’t get more local than that.
Our visit saw us sampling a number of new dishes being introduced to the menu for the autumn/winter season. Our venison was a particular treat, as were our starters of langoustine scampi with a light tempura-style batter, and our moules mariniére.
Diners can enjoy the 40-seater bar, a garden room with 14 seats, or the main restaurant with its 65 covers. In the warmer months, the 150-seater outside area is also popular and features the odd afternoon of live music, performances too.
Our favourite place in the pub, though, is by the very welcoming open fire, sitting on a couple of former church pews and enjoying one of the pub’s well-kept craft ales.
There’s also a wine list with 26 bins. Most are under £30 but there’s a couple of really nice English sparkling wines (Champagne in all but name – from Nyetimber). Christmas dinner at the Leagate is available for £100/head, and the place is open on Boxing Day.
A traditional pub, brilliantly located with a really lovely team and great food… Harry & Laura are great custodians for the family’s pub restaurant. And being a family-oriented restaurant, it’s worth pointing out that there are areas of the bar in which diners are welcome to bring their four-legged friends or just make a fuss of pub dog Ollie – Harry & Laura’s Springer Spaniel.
It’s a strong recommendation for dining this autumn and right across the festive season. You’ll enjoy your visit… just don’t attempt to come between me and that pie.
On the Menu
Langoustine scampi tails in a tempura batter, served with a toasted sesame and red pepper dressing, £9.95.
Slow cooked honey and ginger pig cheeks glazed with honey and ginger, served with carrot ribbons, £10.95.
Leagate Inn Classics
Boston Mountain Sausages with wholegrain mustard mash, onion marmalade, sauté cabbage topped with a sage & cider jus, £15.95.
Traditional steak & kidney pie, homemade in house, served with triple cooked chips, peas and gravy, £15.95.
Christmas Cracker Pie
Served Tuesday evenings from mid-November. Homemade shortcrust pastry, turkey, gravy, stuffing, pigs in blanket £30/two people.
Leagate Inn Specialities
Madeira chicken, pan fried chicken supreme served with dauphinoise potatoes, parsnip purée, crispy kale and a madeira jus, £19.95.
Traditional Italian dish of slow cooked beef shin, served with wholegrain mustard mash and shredded cabbage, £20.50.
Leagate Inn Puddings
Spiced apple cheesecake with Bramley apple ice cream.
White chocolate crème brûlée with homemade cinder toffee honeycomb.
Dining Out at…
The Leagate Inn at Coningsby
The Pitch: “Celebrated home-made food with fresh, local and seasonal produce. We hope it will help you enjoy your visit to our historic inn!”
Opening Times: Open seven days a week, for breakfast lunch and dinner to the public 8am-10:30pm daily. Later on Friday and Saturdays.
Booking Recommended: The Leagate Inn, Leagate Road, Coningsby, Lincs LN4 4RS. Call 07957 756495 or see www.theleagateinn.co.uk.