Nene Valley Brewery Tap and Kitchen
Based at the buzzing Oundle Wharf, Tap and Kitchen is a restaurant and bar owned and operated by Nene Valley Brewery. The interior is interesting, the food and drink menus are extensive and varied, and the opening hours will take you from morning coffee to post-dinner cocktails. Head chef Chris Peasgood, previously of The George in Stamford, and his team are serving some interesting and creative dishes.
The ethos of the Tap and Kitchen is to serve “unpretentious, honest dishes” from locally sourced ingredients (where possible). Nearly everything is homemade, including pasta, sauces, home-cured bacon and sausages – even the tomato ketchup. The menu is a good length and changes daily according to the seasonal ingredients available.
We visited at lunchtime. There is a broad choice of vegetarian, fish and meat dishes, so everyone is catered for. Sandwiches are a step up from the norm – grilled halloumi, spiced tomato, avocado and rocket served on Hambleton brioche sounded wonderful. The salads are very creative, with marinated cauliflower, beansprouts, red onion, tomato, peas and feta offering plenty of colour, taste and texture. After much deliberation we started with pea and Tamworth hock soup served with creme fraiche and King’s Cliffe bread, which was packed with flavour and very well made. A dish of sweet cured mackerel with horseradish creme fraiche, prawn and lemon salsa was equally delicious.
Main courses range from staple dishes such as cheeseburger with home-cured bacon and pickles served on Hambleton brioche, to roast hake with cockles, prawns, samphire and hipsi cabbage, and a roasted butternut, kale and cranberry cous cous served with feta and toasted walnuts.
Desserts are divine. Expect favourites such as sticky toffee pudding and homemade ice creams, but don’t expect them to be boring – ice cream flavours include peanut butter and ginger. We enjoyed a roasted pear mille-feuille with creme patisserie and peach sorbet, and every dessert came with a wine recommendation.
The drinks on offer include the entire Nene Valley Brewery range and there are plenty of wines by the glass as well as by the bottle. For those who want something special there is a limited Cellar list offering more expensive classics such as Chateau Talbot, Meursault Domaine Cornu and Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Papes.
A venue that offers fabulous food is what we seek out at the Great Food Club – a vibrant venue and an eclectic clientele is the icing on the cake. The Tap and Kitchen offer all three.
By Anna Forgaard, north Northamptonshire editor