Review: The Finch’s Arms, Hambleton

The Finch’s Arms on the Hambleton peninsular, Rutland, enjoys one of the best locations in the region.

Surrounded as it is by Rutland Water, it occupies a unique position and has fantastic views from its terrace across the north arm of the water to Barnsdale (see picture below, click to enlarge). The perimeter track of the peninsular offers the perfect way to work up a thirst or appetite, but no excuse is really needed to drop in for a pint or a bite.

A pub of three parts, the front is in archetypal village pub territory, complete with open fire, uneven flagstone floor and a few rosy-faced regulars. It’s a very good place for a pint and packet of crisps. The back of the Finch’s is a bright and airy restaurant with no hint of pitchforks on the walls. The terrace, even if the weather is a little on the grey side, is quite special for the view, and is frequently the only area that might have a bit of space to sit down.

A rolling selection of guest beers from the four normally available, always including at least one from the Grainstore Brewery in Oakham, are likely to include one of the following: Phipps IPA, Black Sheep, Grainstore 1050 and Timothy Taylor Landlord.

The kitchen uses some local producers including Grasmere Farm, Hambleton Fine Foods and Hambleton Bakery. ‘Bar’ versions of many dishes are available at slightly cheaper prices than the à la carte. Set lunches – two courses for £11, three for £14.95. If you are vegetarian or gluten intolerant then the kitchen is happy to accommodate.

CUISINE: British with European influences.
PRICE PER HEAD: £35-£45 (for three courses and drinks).
KIDS WELCOME: Yes.
DOGS: Only in the small front garden.
CUSTOMER CAR PARKING: Good-sized car park at the front of the pub and ample on-road parking at busy times.
FOOD TIMES: Mon to Sat 12-2pm and 6.30-9pm; Sun 12-8pm.

MENU SAMPLES
Starters
Smoked salmon and lemon crème fraiche, £6.50
Seared fillet of beef with wasabi dressing, £7.50

Mains
Honey roast duck breast, creamed celeriac and sweet potato, £14
Grilled fillet of sea bream with basil mash and chorizo sausages, £14

Desserts
Chocolate and hazelnut tart with vanilla ice cream, £6
Apple and raspberry crumble with pouring cream, £5.50

WINE HIGHLIGHTS
Ten or more are available by the glass.
Bottles available from £14.95.
Pick of wines by the bottle:
White: Picpoul De Pinet 2008, Domaine Félines-Jourdan, Languedoc, £32.95
Red: Crianza 2005, Pagos De Araiz, Spain, £16.95

The Finch’s Arms

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'.