At first glance it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a great village pub and an average one. The garden can be a giveaway and the signage is sometimes an indicator. But you just can’t tell till you go in and try the food and drink.
The Wheatsheaf looks lovely, with a stream trickling gently along in the garden and the pub’s neat exterior giving passers-by the come on. So those entering for the first time will expect good things. But from the outward signals they certainly won’t predict the exceptional dining experience they are about to enjoy, because with chef Carol Craddock in the kitchen, the food served here is up there with the very best in the region.
Great Food Club was hugely impressed after eating at The Wheatsheaf. Carol has worked in kitchens for the last 20 years and has a CV that includes a stint at Bibendum under Simon Hopkinson and a head chef position at The Phoenix Restaurant in Putney. She is clearly talented and from her food you can tell she enjoys her job, producing stunning flavours that you just don’t expect to taste in most village pubs. Our visit was enhanced by homemade breads, a stunningly vibrant chicken and chorizo dish and a seriously good homemade pavlova.
It’s great to see, too, that The Wheatsheaf hasn’t sold its soul in pursuit of Rutland’s affluent dining market. The front bar remains a sociable drinking zone where locals can enjoy a pint.