185 Watling Street Pub & Kitchen
Located in the heart of Towcester at – you guessed it – 185 Watling Street, this “pub and kitchen” is a great addition to the local food and drink scene.
Spacious but cosy, professional but friendly, individual but welcoming, this eclectic venue offers exciting food and great drink in a wonderful art deco style interior.
There is a Morning Room, a large, bright and airy restaurant with views out to the garden, a snug bar and two private dining rooms, catering for every guest and every occasion.
Food is served all day and the menus change bi-monthly, keeping it varied. Fresh ingredients are key, locally sourced where possible, all creatively combined to give delicious – and sometimes surprising – dishes. But it is no surprise that chef Shane Clarke won Chef of the Year in the 2016 Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards when his menus offer this level of variety, creativity and quality.
You can start the day with breakfast: choose from a wide selection including porridge with blueberries, white chocolate and pumpkin seeds, waffles, eggs Benedict or a vegetarian full monty. And if you need a pick-me-up, add a Bloody Mary, Bucks Fizz or The Duke to your order.
Sandwiches, small dishes and sharing platters are served throughout the day, but this is not an average menu. On our lunchtime visit we were torn between orange & clove studded camembert with spiced tomato and apple chutney and sourdough soldiers, or forest mushrooms on toast with feta and truffle oil. Spoilt for choice, we opted for starters of baked king scallops with cauliflower, ham and a parsley crust, plus a superb mulled pear & Stilton tart with watercress and walnut pesto. The main course of shitake mushroom & barley risotto with shaved Berkswell cheese and a wonderful hint of truffle oil was delicious. The chicken and tarragon pie came with flaky pastry, champ mash and sprout tops and was light but packed with flavour.
Sunday lunches are a speciality, cheeses and desserts are well chosen and the wine list is well balanced in variety, taste and cost. White wines are sensibly ordered from “elegant and aromatic to more rounded tipples” and red from “light to robust” – which makes much more sense than listing by price. A wide range of cocktails, mocktails, beer, gin, sherry, port and spirits are all available, plus seasonal drinks such as mulled wine.
Service was friendly and attentive and the prices are exceptionally good for the standard of food. This is a venue that has something for everyone, and plenty for the food lover.
By Anna Forgaard
Free bottle of house wine for tables of four. Each party of four must have at least one membership card between them. Please mention that you are a GFC member when booking