Have you ever driven past a pub you keep meaning to go to, but never actually go in?
I can't count how many times I've driven past The Runner, formerly The Running Horse, on Wootton Bassett Road, and last month my curiosity gave in.
During the winter months I'm an avid fan of pub lunches, often accompanied by an ale. As I was driving, this particular pub lunch was without ale, but it was not without a full plate of warming comfort food.
I frequently opt for vegan choices but given The Runner's one catering option I didn't fancy a burger. My alternative go-to was the vegetarian Spring Veg & Minted Pea Quinotto (it's risotto with quinoa). It could have done with some more seasoning, but - as a seemingly healthier version of a risotto - it was hearty and filling without inducing a food coma. At £9.95, with some added salt and pepper, I was left content.
Peering around the table, with only some minor food envy, it is evident that The Runner plates up like a mother showing her growing boys how much she loves them - with big boy portions. For most, like myself, this is ideal winter servings.
Going in for one of the more staple pub dishes, Swindon Link editor - Jamie Hill - went for a classic serving of gammon, eggs and chips. He said: "It was a good, well-cooked, slice of gammon that had just the right amount of sass to keep my mouth yearning for more.
"Was it the best gammon I've had? No. But as far as pub food goes, I'd happily choose it again."
Another usual suspect is the Chicken & Bacon Caesar Salad, selected by Swindon Link's Office Manager Karen Randall. She said: "For someone who doesn't like salad, I thought it was great. I'm quite a fussy eater so this was a nice alternative to a meal with lots of carbs."
It's safe to say our table left full and satisfied and for a fair price in a cosy atmosphere. As far as places to pop in and grab some lunch, The Runner is another great contender in Swindon's pub grub scene.
It's safe to say that this is one pub where you would not do a runner.