A true taste of tradition at historic pub - The Leamington Observer

A true taste of tradition at historic pub

Leamington Editorial 26th Jun, 2024 Updated: 28th Jun, 2024   0

THERE will many the length and breadth of the land who have never heard of the village of Lowsonford, let alone the village’s Fleur de Lys pub

But while they may be oblivious to the existence of both, chances are there are many of them who have enjoyed the very British food favourite for which both village and pub are famous.

For the Fleur de Lys pub is the home of the pie which bore its name for many decades, during which it was Britain’s pie of choice and a staple of fish and chip shops across the country.

The remains of the bread oven, installed in the 1930s, can still be seen at the side of the main fireplace, and it was here where a Mr Brookes, licensee for most of the 1950s, began cooking his now famous Steak & Kidney and Chicken & Mushroom pies.

They quickly became hugely popular, particularly with farmers – the pub’s main customers at the time – who would drop in for a pie and pint after a hard day’s harvesting.

They proved such a hit that Mr Brookes soon upscaled production with a move to Emscote Mill next to the canal in Warwick. The smell of baking pies became a familiar aroma to those passing the factory on Emscote Road.

The original Fleur de Lys pie was consigned to history after being taken over by Pukka Pies when production moved to neighbouring Leicestershire, where it continues to this day.

But the pie-making tradition at the Fleur de Lys continues thanks to current husband and wife licensees Nick and Emma Woodhouse, who are marking a decade at the pub which started life as a row of three 15th-century cottages later knocked together – giving the current pub its wonderful quirky character.

Quite literally with a taste for tradition, the couple started serving Lowsonford Pies in 2020.

Reflecting on the pub’s past, Emma said: “People would come from all over to have a pie served to them through the kitchen hatch, directly from the chef’s hand, which is something you obviously couldn’t get away with today.

“We’ve had people come in who would say they used to come here for a pie before they even had a car!”

Those pie-lovers of the past would be every bit as impressed with today’s current pie offerings, all of which are handmade on site.

Encased in short crust pastry with a puff pastry lid, only the finest ingredients win a place in these hearty pies made with real passion – reflected in the number of awards they’ve already collected. Served with chips, seasonal veg and a pot of gravy on the side. You will need to go a long way to beat these pies, the range of which has certainly expanded since Mr Brookes’ days, with the likes of Steak & Stilton, Wild Mushroom & Asparagus, Butternut Squash, Spinach & Goats Cheese and more, together with a range of gluten free options.

And if that wasn’t enough there are pie specials and they’ re always looking to develop new combinations. Mr Brookes would be proud!

Of course man cannot survive on pies alone, and the Fleur de Lys offers an excellent ever-changing menu, and it has to be said, also very reasonably priced for the quality. And customers can enjoy inside, in one of the many nooks and crannies, or outside in the spacious canalside garden, complete with covered canopy, which has just seen it named among The Top 100 Restaurants for Outdoor Dining by OpenTable.

* This weekend (June 29 and 30) the pub is hosting Fleur Fest which will be helping raise money for Warwick children’s charity Molly Ollys.

There will be a host of entertainment and activities throughout the weekend, from live musicians and performers – including stilt walkers and bubbleology – to craft and circus skills workshops, market and charity stalls and a dog show with prizes.

Visit www.thefleur.co.uk for full details.


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