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I tried a huge cob sharer from a proper Black Country pub and it was bigger than my head – Dayna Farrington

Are you really from the Black Country if you haven’t devoured a big crusty cob at a local pub?

Especially as the summer months creep up on us – you’re enjoying a beer garden with your friends and family – and you suddenly get that pang of hunger. Step forward to cob.

And lets get it out there early and settled. It is a cob – not a batch, roll, bap or bun. I don’t want to hear it. It’s a cob, end of.

Readmore: Nine Black Country pubs you should visit for the best pint and a cob

That beautiful, round, crusty cob is just the perfect way to line your stomach with your drink of choice. Whether you go for ham, cheese and onion, or beef and tomato as your filling.

They are just perfection. Even better with some salad, chips or crisps too.

I can always be persuaded by a cob at the pub. Especially when they are just lovingly staring at you from the bar when you go get your drink.

That’s why when I spotted a Black Country pub doing a cob sharer – described as perfect for groups or occasions – I was immediately intrigued. The Red Lion in Amblecote, near Stourbridge, offered just that.

Their menu stated the cob sharer included ‘a selection of ham, cheese or homecooked beef cobs’. And they include homemade chips and salad. Sign me up.

And with the warm sunny weather approaching, it sounded like the perfect treat to demolish in the beer garden. So my partner and I headed right off to the Red Lion on a sunny Wednesday evening.

I checked out some of the reviews on Tripadvisor to see how popular the Red Lion was. It has a 4.5 rating overall. A couple of reviews mentioned the cobs and said how they were on the smaller side, but I remained optimistic. I needed to see (and taste) for myself.

The Red Lion, off Brettell Lane in Amblecote

First things first there’s no car park for this pub. It’s got a few pull-up spaces in front of the boozer in Brettell Lane, but otherwise you might have to park down one of the side streets.

It looks very small from the outside, but definitely felt a bit like the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe as we walked through the front door as the pub went very far back. It wasn’t what I expected on the inside.

Yes it had elements of your traditional Black Country boozer, but it also felt very traditional and modern. And it was busy inside, it always fills you with high hopes when there’s plenty of people in there.

Due to the warm evening, my partner and I made our way through to the outdoor beer garden to grab a table, which was even nicer. It’s very spaced out, with plenty of tables and chairs and twinkling lights. It felt very intimate.

It was covered and there were outdoor heaters too. Really cozy – and I could imagine it would be a very popular place to enjoy a pint or two in the summer evenings.

The beer garden felt intimate and cozy with the twinkling lights
The beer garden felt intimate and cozy with the twinkling lights

The menu options were great too. Cobs, burgers, hot dogs, wraps, salads and loaded chips. We already knew we were going for the cob sharer. But the next two decisions were key – how many cobs? And which variety?

You could either get five, seven or 10 cobs and pick to have all the same cob, or a selection. As there were only two of us we went for the five and a selection of ham, cheese and beef.

Some of the menu available at The Red Lion in Amblecote
Some of the menu available at The Red Lion in Amblecote

It was £23 for the five cobs – as well as homemade chips and salad. Which we didn’t feel was too bad, as a single cob alone was £7. If you went for seven it was £34 or 10 £45.

It arrived in less than 10 minutes. And it was huge. It was served in a wooden box/crate and that was bigger than my head. It also looked amazing and I liked the rustic feel the box gave.

We couldn't believe how big the cob sharer was - and we had the smallest portion!
We couldn’t believe how big the cob sharer was – and we had the smallest portion!

The cobs were big too. Not your normal supermarket cob you can get in a pack of six. These looked fresh and you could tell they were of the crusty kind. Delicious.

The salad portion was also as large and looked very fresh. There was lettuce, cucumber, tomato, peppers and red onion. While the homemade chips looked cooked to perfection with a nice brown colour.

We dug into a ham cob each first. The bread was soft and doughy, while the top was beautifully crusty. It was really fresh. They didn’t seem like they had been lying around all day, they seemed like they had been perfectly crafted right there and then.

There was a small lashing of butter on the cobs and that’s all they needed. It was big chunks of ham too – super tasty.

We chose a selection of cobs - which included ham, beef and cheese
We chose a selection of cobs – which included ham, beef and cheese

It was soft and not chewy at all. I added some of the salad serving to mine which just made it even better. If I’m honest, the ham was my favorite out of the three.

The beef was the next best. Again big chunks of fresh, home-cooked beef. Again the meat wasn’t chewy, I can be quite fussy when meat is chewy but this was far from that. When you bit into it it melted away and kind of dissolved in the mouth.

We split the fifth and final cob in half, so we could both try the cheese. Cheese is cheese and while I love myself a bit of cheese, I couldn’t help but feel like this could have been made even better with some onion (which I later added in from our generous portion of salad). It would just give a bit more excitement to it going up against the delights of ham and beef.

There was a lot of salad and apart from adding it to our various cobs to enjoy, we didn’t finish it all. Apart from hunting down all the cucumber because it’s my favourite.

The wooden box/crate was packed full with cobs, salad and homemade chips
The wooden box/crate was packed full with cobs, salad and homemade chips

The same with the chips. They were delicious but there was a lot after eating two and a half cobs each. You could tell they were homemade – and better than any chips I’d ever tried to make from scratch.

They were fluffy and soft inside, while the outer coating was a dark brown color and gave it a wonderful crunch.

Overall, these were some fantastic cobs. It was like they had been made with love and really gave that tradition of having a cob at the pub a new meaning.

It ticked all the boxes. Fresh cobs, deeply filled, served with delicious crunchy salad and homemade chips.

I will definitely be going again – and can’t wait to enjoy a sharer box again with friends and family in the summer months. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.

This was an independent review and food was paid for by BirminghamLive.

Read more: All the Black Country and Staffordshire pubs in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2022

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