Review: Quigleys On The Rocks, Rugby

Published on April 29, 2015

By Ellen Manning

When popular music and sports bar Quigleys in Rugby, Warwickshire, opened its restaurant – On The Rocks – a few years ago, some weren’t convinced. Would people really want to dine in a place they regarded as a drinking venue? Well, the doubters have been proved wrong.

The original idea was simple. Steak. And a rock. The clue is in the title: at On The Rocks you are given a raw hunk of meat, a stone heated up to a gazillion degrees, chips, a side salad and some tasty sauces, then spend the evening cooking your steak exactly how you like it. With an idea that simple, it’s fairly obvious that your key ingredient – your meat – is going to be vital to the restaurant’s success. Cue local family-run butchers Joseph Morris (winners of a Which? award for Local Business of the Year in 2009), who have branches in Rugby, South Kilworth and Wigston, and source all their meat from local farms. The original meat choices were sirloin, fillet or rib-eye, delivered with a tangy chimichurri, pepper sauce, and simple garlic butter.

A few years on, and as demand has rocketed, so the menu has expanded. The ‘on the rocks’ element is still centre stage, but now you get to choose between beef, lamb, duck, chicken, vegetarian mushroom stacks and more. You can even order ‘The Rocks Feast’ – a bit of everything from fillet to lamb, prawns, scallops and duck.

The starters have been kept simple, as they were when it opened. A basket of warm breads, a mezze platter of meats, olives, dips and bread, or gooey breaded mozzarella sticks. There are side dishes too. We tried halloumi chips on a recent visit, served with sweet chilli sauce. And let’s not forget the desserts – often including huge slabs of rich cheesecake just in case you weren’t full enough.

The decor is simple and comfortable, the service friendly and knowledgeable, and the wine list (found on the label of a wine bottle on your table) is pretty good for a small establishment.

But what lies at the heart of Quigleys is the sociable dining experience. As you walk into the upstairs restaurant, you’re greeted with an informal setting and the heady smell of cooking meat. The sizzling of steaks and hubbub of conversation is what I think restaurants should all be about. Eating out is about socialising, talking, laughing, and enjoying food together. How better than when it’s all about enjoying decent ingredients, good service, and the fun of cooking it together?

Ellen Manning lives in Warwickshire and writes the food blog, Eat With Ellen

The author:

Matt lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. He is passionate about the independent food & drink sector and founded Great Food Club in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town.