Discoveries of the Weekend – January 21, 2019: The Four Bells at Woodborough and other fantastic finds

A road trip around rural Nottinghamshire kicked off the weekend. Two highlights were within a stone’s throw of each other. The Four Bells at Woodborough is a unique and beautiful pub built in the late 1920s in a faux Tudor, faintly gothic style. Inside it’s furnished simply but stylishly, cosy and atmospheric – fire roaring away on our visit. With hearty, comforting mains (example: shin of beef stew with butter beans, crusted onion dumplings and rye & caraway bread), this is a pub to bask in and enjoy.

Inside The Four Bells

Just up the road is Spring Lane Farm Shop in Mapperley – a spacious, traditional, no-nonsense farm shop with its own bakery, impressive cheese counter and large butchery. Much of the meat sold here is raised on Spring Lane Farm. It’s a good, honest and down-to-earth farm shop selling local produce.

Back in Leicestershire, a quick trip to Beardsley’s Tea Room & Village Shop in Rearsby left us feeling all warm and cosy. Entering is like walking into the house of your favourite grandma after she’s been on a cake-baking, tea-making, fire-laying masterclass. Delightful.

One of the rooms at Beardsley’s

Next came a journey to Warwick. The Rose & Crown is tucked just behind Market Place. It’s a cracking pub that serves well-cooked food and local beers. The only negative (we’re being petty now) was waiting an aeon to get served at a quiet bar. Pubs that serve cocktails can suffer from this problem. As two bar tenders mixed mojitos, two other staff on restaurant duty chatted among themselves, studiously ignoring the bar. Guys – if a thirsty guest needs serving, they need serving, no matter where they are standing, OK?! That said we enjoyed our time here and would definitely recommend this pub. We especially loved the local beers – Mad Goose from Purity and Harry’s Heifer from Church Farm Brewery.

Next up: Italian food, three minutes’ walk away from the Rose & Crown. Micatto is a strong contender for the most Italian restaurant in the UK. Proud and extremely smart Italian waiters – not a Brit member of staff in sight – strutted around this sleek, ultra-stylish restaurant taking good care of the equally smart (except us) guests. The atmosphere buzzed and the food was enjoyable – as authentically Italian as the team who run this place. A drink in the Rose & Crown and a meal at Micatto is a great way to spend a night in Warwick.

Micatto

Meanwhile Philip, our editor-at-large, squeezed in lunch at The Abbot’s Elm near Huntingdon, cooked by talented chef-patron Julia Abbey: Welsh rarebit and crisp pancetta followed by roast skate wing with a sauce vierge, finishing with a citrus posset with blood orange sorbet.

In the Big Smoke, Philip also enjoyed a bite in The Bull, Devonshire Row (EC1). “Good pub, good food,” he says. “And interestingly owned by Kent’s Hush Heath Winery.”

On Sunday night we returned to our own stoves in Melton Mowbray. A sausage casserole made with Lincolnshire sausages from Northfield Farm, Cold Overton, Rutland, hit the spot. If there’s a better sausage out there, we’re yet to find it!

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Leicestershire with his wife, two kids and dog. He is passionate about British pubs, slow food and home brewing. He founded Great Food Club (originally as Great Food Magazine) in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town of Melton Mowbray - Britain's 'Rural Capital of Food'.