The Maple, Cleeve: Review

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The Maple, Cleeve - Exterior

 

It was my birthday a few weeks back. With my mum visiting at the weekend, we decided to choose somewhere previously unvisited for a leisurely Saturday lunch – and having seen social media posts from The Maple in Cleeve (plus with tables still available to book on the Saturday morning), we decided to give it a go. We had a beach trip to Weston planned for the afternoon, so Cleeve was en route on our way over from Long Ashton…

What we hadn’t realised was that Saturday was the official opening date – not just of The Maple, but also of the brand new TOUT’S shop next door. Selling a mix of both Co-Op branded items and food and drink from local producers, their aim is to bring great local produce to shoppers, at a great price.

 

The Maple, Cleeve - Tout's

 

Both TOUT’S and The Maple in Cleeve source from a wide range of different local producers, giving classically trained head chef Ryan Brokenbrow some fantastic stuff to work with. In the open-plan kitchen, you’ll see him and his team working hard to create a wide range of brunch, lunch and dinner dishes, while the front-of-house team works the light and airy restaurant, resplendent with artwork representing the leaves of the trees after which the venue is named. There’s a terrace to the side as well, the view of the A370 blocked off with a high fence and hedging.

 

The Maple, Cleeve - Interior

The Maple, Cleeve - Bar

The Maple, Cleeve - Kitchen

The Maple, Cleeve - Terrace

 

On any opening day, I’m mindful that any niggles we experience may not be the norm going forwards – and the arrival of a feedback card with our bill suggested that the team are keen to make sure the dining experience is as enjoyable as possible going forward. From a service point of view, our only real concern was that our drinks took forever to arrive (after the food, in fact). From a more logistical point of view, the car park could be better signposted: with parking spaces clearly labelled with TOUT’S, it wasn’t clear that customers of The Maple could use them too.

Whether you’re after brunch, a hearty main, a lighter lunch or a three-course meal, there’s plenty of choice on the menus at The Maple Cleeve – including a kids’ menu which comes complete with crayons so they can keep themselves entertained while you’re waiting for your food.

 

The Maple, Cleeve - Menu

The Maple, Cleeve - Lighter Menu

The Maple, Cleeve - Kids Menu

 

Two of our party went for the cider battered fish (£16) – the cider creating a lighter-flavoured crispy batter, the fish itself faultless. The hand-cut thick chips were pretty good, and it was accompanied by two little pots containing crushed garden peas and a chunky tartare sauce.

The Kilner jar contained what was billed on the menu as a “lemon pickle”. In reality it tasted like a sweetened lemon juice – far too sweet to be drizzled all over the fish. While it’s lovely to see places being inventive, in this case a good old fashioned wedge of fresh lemon would have been better.

 

The Maple, Cleeve - Fish and chips

 

For me, a ploughman’s lunch (£12) from The Maple’s “lighter lunch” menu. Although billed as “lighter”, it was actually pretty filling: generous hunks of a variety of crusty breads, a mound of whipped butter sprinkled with seasalt, a zingy chutney, slivers of pickled shallot and fresh watercress. The maple and muscovado glazed ham was served in thick-cut slices, the half a Scotch egg was delicious, but the cheeses were the stars of the show. The Trethowan’s Dairy Pitchfork Cheddar is incredible: creamy, nutty and full-bodied, but my favourite had to be the Draycott Blue, made just outside Cheddar Gorge. The intensity of the blue flavour, paired with its creamy texture, was fantastic.

 

The Maple, Cleeve - Ploughman's

 

The kid’s burger (£7) was sadly the low point of the meal. The chips were tasty enough and the patty itself looked decent, but it just wasn’t very exciting. Rather than just a plain patty in a plain bun, it would have been good to offer the options of cheese, sauces, maybe a topping or two to jazz it up. With the “grown-up” burger filled with smoked Cheddar, maple-cured baconnaise, tomato, lettuce and gherkin ketchup, it would be lovely for The Maple to offer some of the same toppings to their younger customers.

With its prime position on the A370, The Maple has the potential to be a popular place – and with its beautiful interior, decent food offering and the fact that you can earn TOUT’S points on your food and drink spend too, I’m hoping that the place will continue to be as busy as it was for the opening weekend.

 

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