Last weekend I was kindly invited to The Wheatsheaf in Bow Brickhill (on the outskirts of Milton Keynes) for dinner. The pub has received a top to bottom makeover and within just 4 short weeks has been transformed into a modern looking bar and grill with a London inspired design. I’ve also managed to source some ‘before’ photos so you get a real feel of how much the team have achieved!
First impressions of The Wheatsheaf on arrival were great – it has modern signage and a fresh, welcoming facade. Also, with it being located just 5 minutes from the A5 it’s really easy to get to and stands proudly in the village where it’s hard to miss, boasting ample parking around the back.
And how was it before… well take a look for yourself, what a difference a lick of paint and a fresh new sign makes!
The Dining Room
The dining room is a well decorated space with the walls being adorned by old industrial moulds and plants and utilising a look and feel that’s ‘a bit Shoreditch’ on the ceiling with exposed metal piping.
Quite a world apart from how it used to look!
One thing that I did find with the dining room however is that it suffers from the same issue you experience in other modern bars and minimalist restaurants – quite a lot of background noise. With very few soft furnishings lining the walls and lots of large flat surfaces it’s inevitable as there’s nothing to absorb the sound waves and keep things to a manageable level.
It was a full restaurant on a Saturday night however so noise is to be expected and this certainly didn’t detract from what the team have achieved here especially as the design of the space is right up my street – I’ve tipped past 30 now so maybe the noise is just me getting old!
The Private Dining Room
As part of the refurbishment the owners have created a brand new private dining room that was set out for 8 people however it can accommodate 10 with additional tables in the room. The room backs onto the kitchen so service here arrives directly.
Offering an intimate feel with a design that has been kept in line with the rest of the restaurant this space offers the perfect place to hire for a celebration or simple private dining experience. For a restaurant like The Wheatsheaf in a location such as this it is a rare feature to have so certainly offers something a little more special.
The new bar area offers a relaxing space in which to sit and have a drink and on the Saturday night that I visited there was a great buzz in the room. The bar area is a really good size, stretching across the entire width of the building. More than enough room to have a drink!
Again, what a difference – apologies for the stupid text over the image, a consequence of borrowing images from other websites!
One of the highlights of the refurbishment for me was the new terrace area that sits across the back of the restaurant. This has been completely re-done with new decking, furniture and bamboo. Additionally they have installed onto the terrace what I can only describe as a shed with a window in it (it is of course far better quality than that!!) from which they can serve draught beer – you can just about see it at the far end of my photo – what a great addition for the summer!
So what about the meal? Well, on arrival we were shown to our table and like the rest of the restaurant this was set out beautifully with a plant, candle and copper salt and pepper shakers.
We ordered our drinks and also some warm bread and olives to pick at with the 3 different types of break packed with flavour!
Crackling Pig Bites
For my starter I opted for the “Crackling Pig Bites” with smoked apple sauce. I’ve got to admit, what was served to me at the table really wasn’t what I was expecting but it tasted amazing.
For Sarah’s starter she opted for the “Tomato Tart” with mozzarella and balsamic vinegar.
Surf & Turf Special
For my main course I opted for the surf & turf from the specials board which included an 8oz steak which was cooked beautifully. My only niggle here is that the sauce I ordered took a few minutes to arrive after my plate was served whereas it really should have been served at the same time.
Sarah opted for the 1/2 chicken served with sweet potato hash and honey roast garlic. The chicken was really succulent and is certainly what I would order on my next visit.
Being a sucker for fattening desserts this was an easy choice – cheesecake. Not only that but it was something I’d never seen before where they have turned a Snickers recipe into a dessert and I’m not going to lie, it was bang on containing salted caramel and peanuts.
3 Scoop Ice Cream Coupe
Sarah went with something classic for her dessert – a trio of ice cream! This included vanilla, chocolate and honeycomb.
Now I must be really clear on this point that we didn’t receive any bad service however 2 things could have been improved during our visit. First of all when we were seated and handed our menus our waitress immediately walked away – we were only told about the specials around 10-15 minutes later when the waitress returned to take our order.
Secondly, when our waitress returned to take our food order (15 mins after being seated) we were only then able to order drinks. Our starters then took around 15 minutes to arrive at the table and our drinks were brought over about 5 minutes after that when the waitresses noted we didn’t have them – over half an hour after being seated at the table which was really disappointing.
Not exactly bad service as the rest of the experience was excellent however I do think a lack of drinks order on arrival and then having to wait until after a starter arrives to receive them isn’t a great experience, especially when you have invited a blogger in to publish an honest review!
Our overall experience at The Wheatsheaf was excellent. During our visit we were given a tour of the restaurant by Alex who explained how the refurbishment had been considered. He also made us feel welcome and made every effort throughout our meal to ensure we had everything we needed.
The refurbishment has been undertaken to a very high standard and you can really tell that it is going down well based on both the full dining room and the busy bar area. Additionally, with the menu being revised and having a new fish special option available the food was also great, packed full of flavour and presented beautifully.
If you’re looking for somewhere local to visit for your next meal I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Wheatsheaf pub & grill. Great food, great environment, great experience – 9/10.
Address: 21 Station Road, Bow Brickhill, MK17 9JU
Menu: View online