Review: The Fox and Hounds at Tugby, Leicestershire

By Joan Stephens

When Stef and Emily Bell, formerly of the Langton Arms in Church Langton, took over the Fox and Hounds in Tugby some 18 months ago, their revamp created a much improved and welcoming restaurant, where diners can enjoy freshly cooked and locally sourced gastro-pub food.

At mid-day, the restaurant offers a snack menu, with jacket potatoes, sandwiches and ciabattas, and while £7.95 may seem pricey for a sarnie, I should point out that when, as here, it is filled with fillet of beef, onions and mushrooms, plus chips and salad – the Earl of Sandwich would certainly have found it substantial enough to alleviate his hunger pangs while recklessly gambling away his fortunes.

There are cheaper sandwiches and ciabattas, for £6.50, while jacket potato fillings include the usual tuna, beans, chicken curry and smoked salmon with prawns, with salad – a good, filling plateful for £6.95.

There’s also the main menu and a specials board which changes fortnightly. Offerings included monkfish, venison and lamb, while mains on the menu included home-made steak and Guinness pie, seabass, cod loin, chicken curry, and whole-tail scampi. There are also rib-eye and fillet steaks, and a vegetarian option: we were offered three – a curry, a pie and a cannelloni.

For starters, I opted for baked mini Camembert with onion chutney. It was excellent. The crispy confit duck leg won praise too, as did the mussels in a cream sauce. Attractive presentation is a feature of the Fox and Hounds food – several dishes come on black slate platters, which provide an opportunity for the chef to show off artistic talent.

The scallops I chose as a main course were plump and perfectly cooked – a generous, succulent plateful. The accompanying pea puree was a garnish rather than a serving, and I’d have liked more chilli sauce.

My husband’s pheasant pie came with a wonderfully light puff of pastry on top and selection of four vegetables on the side. The sauce was full of flavour, but the meat itself was bland. “Needed longer hanging,”, opined the game expert at our table.

For desserts (which, by the way, come free on Tuesdays), cheesecakes are the speciality here with at least two always on the menu – probably a chocolate version and a fruity one. Gorgeously gooey steamed puds with cream, custard or ice-cream also rate a special mention from regular diners.

Wednesday at the Fox and Hounds is steak night – great value at £15 for two, and Friday is fish and chips night. A recently introduced take-away service includes fish and chips, scampi, chicken Madras, beefburger and Steak and Guinness pie. Good beers and a reasonable wine list complete the picture.

Service rates a special mention of its own – the staff are young, welcoming and very efficient. Our bill for four included three courses, beer, wine and coffee, for under £30 a head.

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