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Moulton, near Barry, CF62 3AB.

TEL: 01446 710428 ATMOSPHERE: Tucked away on a country lane just off the Five Mile Lane linking Barry and Bonvilston, the Three Horseshoes offers a relaxed and cosy atmosphere for the whole family. During the most recent visit on a weekday lunchtime, the pub was quiet and calming, but during busier periods - Sundays and during the summer, for example - it can feel cramped and slightly chaotic.

17/20 CLIENTELE: While you're guaranteed to find the odd local propping up the bar enjoying a quiet pint, the Horseshoes caters primarily to families who are enticed by the pub's spacious outdoor play area complete with giant wooden play castle, beer garden, and undercover pods, and also by its supervised, indoor playbarn. While tucked away on a quiet road, the pub has built up a solid reputation over the years, so there is never a shortage of customers.

17/20 STAFF: A small team of informal, polite and friendly middle-aged women seem to make up the waiting staff. While kind and attentive, they steer clear of the falseness and pushiness often found in more 'trendy' pubs and restaurants, allowing customers to enjoy their meal or swift half at their leisure. The kitchen and bar staff appeared to be equally casual (if a little scruffy), with the chefs often seen outside of the kitchen, and the bar left unattended when there was no-one to be served.

15/20 FOOD AND DRINK: A big selling point for the Horseshoes is its tasty home cooked menu. As well as the expected pub classics of steaks, burgers and fish and chips, it also offers an extensive specials menu. In comparison to other pub prices, the menu did seem a little pricey, but the generous portions and the chunky homemade chips definitely helped soften the blow - and put paid to any plans of tucking in to the mouthwatering desserts that were on display.

18/20 DECOR: With its stone walls, wood panelled bar and numerous beams, the Horseshoes certainly feels like a traditional country pub. The dated decor would be off-putting to some, but others would undoubtedly feel it adds to this watering hole's charm. However, the modern playbarn and outdoor dining pods feel a little at odds with the main pub and restaurant area.

15/20 TOTAL: 82/100
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 15, 2012
Previous Article:You have to HANDit to them.

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