THE Covid-19 lockdown has given my wife Feona and I the opportunity to explore some of our local pubs, restaurants and cafes that, for some reason, we've never been to before.

Which is well and good because one of them is The Cross Keys at Rode, a village inn which appears to be at the centre of its local community.

The much-loved pub, known locally as The Key', lies in the heart of Rode, only five miles outside of Bradford on Avon and Trowbridge.

The original building dates back to the 1900s, originally being the face of the Fussells Brewery, then a Bass depot and finally in 2003 the local inn.

Licensees Mark and Hannah have been running the pub, restaurant and B&B since 2013, starting as managers for Butcombe Brewery and then buying the business in 2015.

Their aim is to offer good food and good service in a relaxed atmosphere at affordable prices.

Fee and I decided to order two takeaway meals for Saturday evening ahead of settling in to watch the Masked Singer on television.

Fee opted for the Freshly Beer Battered Haddock & Chips with Mushy Peas & Tartar Sauce at £10, while I chose the Braised Beef Chilli with Rice & Garlic Bread, also at £10. There are gluten-free options for both, and a vegan option for the chilli, to cater for those who don't like meat.

We placed the order during the early afternoon and arranged to collect in the evening. I arrived at the appointed time and probably waited for a further ten minutes before staff came out with the meals, respecting social distancing and Covid restrictions at all times.

Fee opted to eat her fish and chips straight from the box, instead of putting them on a plate. Afterwards, she declared that the meal was one of the best fish and chip suppers she had ever tasted.

The haddock was fresh and well cooked and the chips firm and crispy. She is not a big fan of mushy peas, so they were consigned to the waste bin along with the tartar sauce.

My beef chilli with rice and garlic bread was lovely, nicely cooked and spicy enough to give it some zip without tasting overly powerful.

The rice was well cooked and the garlic bread tasty and not too filling. All in all, it was one of the nicest pub takeaway meals I have eaten recently.

The only criticism I have is that the Cross Keys was not supplying takeaway puddings, despite my protestations. We had to go out and buy two treacle sponge puddings and custard from our local supermarket to finish off the meal.

The other odd thing is that the Cross Keys is allowing customers to order takeaways, collect them, and then asking them to pay by BACS within 24 hours. Usually, I have to pay by credit/debit card on ordering or on collection, so this was somewhat of a surprise, but I paid immediately.

I still have never been inside the Cross Keys but intend to go back for a proper sit-down meal once the Covid pandemic lockdown has ended. At just £20 for the two meals, they were good value for money and well worth the effort to collect.

John Baker

20 High Street



BA11 6NZ

Opens for takeaways: Thursday 5-7.30pm; Friday & Saturday 5.30pm-8pm; Sunday lunches 12-2.30pm.

Phone: 01373 830900, email -, or text - 07891 793542

Our ratings:

Delivery: almost on-time and Covid-safe

Ease of ordering: easy

Portion size: good

Food: 9/10

Parking: on street