Peterborough, Stamford & Bourne restaurant news
By Brad Barnes
Peterborough food quarter
The recent resurgence of Peterborough city centre continues with the opening on Monday, February 9, of Bill’s, the breakfast-to-bedtime restaurant chain. Something of a ‘food quarter’ has grown up around the city’s expensively refurbished Cathedral Square and St John’s Square, attracting the likes of Carluccio’s, Wildwood, Nando’s, as well as fine dining establishment Clarke’s (free dessert on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings with your Great Food Club card – Ed), and in mid-December the industrial chic Argo Lounge.
A former Lakeland store in Church Street has undergone a three-month refit to provide a home for Bill’s, the quickly growing, award-winning chain that was founded in Brighton. Founder Bill Collinson said: “I think what makes us a bit different is the effort we put into everything, from the menus and staff training to me picking bits and pieces up from auctions and antique fairs to give the restaurant a really welcoming feel. Bill’s has a real bustle during the day and then come the evening we get the candelabras glowing and it’s a really different vibe.”
And it doesn’t stop there, with Handmade Burger Co set to start work imminently converting a disused pub into one of its gourmet burger restaurants. The award-winning chain, famed for making more than 40 varieties of burger from scratch each day, will transform the Old Still pub, at the heart of the Queensgate shopping centre. Handmade Burger Co. owner Chris Sargeant said this week: “Our plans for The Old Still include maintaining the charm, look and feel of this much-loved pub. We are looking at bringing The Old Still back to life by creating something special for the people of Peterborough to be proud of.”
Lion to roar once more
I am expecting big things of the Golden Lion in Bourne, a historic and listed building, which has been closed for some time but is now in the hands of farmer Mark Richardson. Mark, who lives in Baston, bought the Spinning Wheel pub in the village two years ago when that closed and reopened it as the White Horse – not only a nice village pub again but a terrific eating venue, which I reviewed a couple of months ago and left very enthused by the menu. The Golden Lion is undergoing quite a lot of work inside but should open next month. Watch this space.
Taking it slowly
I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some great slow-cooked meat dishes – a staple of any good winter menu – on my eating out travels. Standing out are last week’s beautiful braised shin beef at the Falcon Inn at Fotheringhay (10% off food Monday to Friday before 7pm with your GFC membership card – Ed); and the 16-hour cooked (on the bone in red wine) venison shin at the excellent two AA Rosette Queens Head in Nassington.
But can anyone beat the menu offering from The Dog in a Doublet – a Peterborough institution on the back road to Thorney – with its 92-hour shin pie? The man behind it is John McGinn, who people might have seen on Master Chef a couple of years ago and runs the place with partner Della. John realised a dream by taking on the gastro pub, serving top quality fresh and local British food three years ago, and says off the dish: “It’s Moor Farm shin cooked sous vide at 58c for four days. It’s sticky and unctious yet still pink!” I don’t know how he finds the time, as the pub also has a deli, a bed & breakfast, camping, and its own little farm.
You’d be Mad not to
A quick word on the Mad Turk in Stamford (10% off food on Saturdays before 4pm with a GFC card – Ed) – a busy, bustling, vibrant little venue that has been packing punters in for the past couple of years. It’s just opened up its first floor, creating room for another 20 or so diners, which should help with the long waiting list for Friday and Saturday nights.
Simon McEnery (formerly of Nick’s at Oakham), is the new man at the helm of what used to be Jim’s Yard in Stamford. He tells me that as well as getting a new name – it is now known as No. 3 The Yard – it has had a minor makeover in recent weeks and has some special events planned for this year. With head chef Tim Luff (formerly of The Olive Branch and Jim’s Yard) in the kitchen, the menu is a little more quirky and less classic French than before. I expect standards to stay sky high.
Brad Barnes is the assistant editor at the Peterborough Telegraph. He has been reviewing restaurants in the greater Peterborough area for the past 15 years and writes a weekly food and drink page. Follow him on twitter – @PTbradbarnes –or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org