The Snug, High Wycombe ****

Ask any 20 or 30-something in High Wycombe about the Snug, and they’ll almost certainly tell you the same thing – cocktails.

The “mixologists” here are very good – and their creations even better – but what you might not know is that the Snug also offers a full food menu, and serves some of the best affordable dishes in town.

I must admit, it wasn’t until my third visit here that I even realised this little place, nestled in the quiet enclave of Paul’s Row, actually served lunch and dinner.

Although that probably says more about my revelling habits than anything else, it is true that most see this as a destination for the two-for-one happy hour until 9pm – near legendary among students (and BFP staff for that matter).

However, take a punt on the range of burgers, sharing plates, mains, salads, sides or even breakfasts, and you won’t be disappointed – the Snug, as it turns out, is somewhat of an all-rounder.

Possibly with all this in mind, staff at the Snug, which is one of eight across the South East, rolled out a fresh menu this summer and my wife Tori and I headed along to sample/monumentally pig out on it.

The choices are recognisable enough to most who have either eaten here or in similar bars before – lots of ‘slaw and skinny fries and the odd flash of brisket.

But it’s not all a foray into the deep-fried forest, with hearty salads and the odd flash of veg to keep things fresh and zingy.

We kicked things off with a cocktail – James Bond’s tipple of choice the a Vesper Martini – which was everything it should be, namely dry, strong and smooth.

Bucks Free Press:

Picture - The Snug

The small plates seemed the ideal place to start in sampling the breadth of the Snug’s latest menu.

And so the breaded mozzarella chunks (£4.75), BBQ brisket tacos (£4.45) and chilli snaps (£3.95) arrived together on a loaded board peppered with condiments and dips.

The chilli-seasoned sugar snap peas were a delight, and injected a freshness across a spread that, while flavoursome, well-seasoned, attractive and generously sized, appeared to start the calorie counter ticking at an alarming rate.

The main course – and undoubtedly the main event – came in the form of the Snug’s excellent burgers.

Big, brash, fully loaded yet delicately crafted, these beasts are worth a visit alone and are really very good indeed.

They come in all forms, including the Kiwi, the Mexican and the Bloody Mary laden Devil Burger, but mine, the house Snug Burger variety (£11.75) seemed the pick of the bunch.

Streaky bacon, Monterey Jack, onion rings and homemade burger sauce stacked high inside a proper brioche bun might sound like standard fare in the age of the “gourmet burger”, but this one is among the best in town.

Add to that a generous pot of skinny fries and coleslaw, and at £11.75 it’s marginally cheaper than the fully loaded version at Bill’s and probably better.

The only criticism? One or two floppy fries here and there, but I can forgive that on the sheer strength of that slab of meat.

Tori’s roast veg and halloumi burger (£9.25) was competent and succulent, if not as humongous as the Snug Burger, but the sweet potato fries set it off well and the cheese was grilled to perfection.

It’s hard to ignore the growing competition in High Wycombe. Paul’s Row in particular has come to life in the last two years and new uber-cool bar Heidrun is in direct competition – not to mention direct line of sight just yards away.

But the Snug holds its own well among a growing budget restaurant market in town, and the new menu brings with it some bold statements along with old favourites.

Wycombe has definitely taken the Snug into its heart, and if you love its cocktails, there’s a very good chance you’ll love the food too.