The Oat Hill

January 15, 2012

Now I’d better get something sorted straight away.  I do not look to the Leicester Mercury and its reviews for advice on where to eat. The fact that I was eating in The Oat Hill at the weekend had everything to do with my friend Deborah living in Market Harborough and nothing to do with the fact the Mercury sent Joan Stephens to review it last week.  OK? Good.

A short way out of town on the Kettering Road,  the Oat Hill is in the shadow of the local branches of both Aldi and Lidl. If that puts you off, it shouldn’t because this is a really rather good dining pub. There’s a smart and comfortable bar – big comfy sofas, heavy red velvet  curtains, young staff all in black and so on.  The restaurant is equally appealing and the menu is well designed and seemed to be well-priced. We passed on starters because it was really just a quick supper but given the quality of our mains I wished  I’d gone for something such as roasted breast of pheasant  with roasted honey soused root veg or baked figs with melting gorngonzola and rocket salad.

My main was slow braised shin of beef   – a flavoursome cut I’ve eulogised on this blog before and done very nicely here, presented beautifully on excellent creamed mash with two contrasting sauces making the plate look a ying and yang symbol, a dark port jus and a creamy, mustardy sauce. The cheffy parsnip crisps were just right and a bowl of veg were perfect.   Deborah’s sea bream with crayfish and tomato bisque  was also very good indeed – two large fillets with crispy skin and real depth of flavour and a well-made sauce.  These were well-conceived and well-executed dishes.  We shared a desert that was well up to standard, a creme brulee with beautifully pared slices of ripe pear and excellent homemade shortbread.

It’s always nice to find a place that exceeds expectations and The Oat Hill did for us  – Deb immediately booked to go back with a friend next week.  There is a proper chef in the kitchen and while it may not have the picturesque setting of some gastropubs out in the South of the county,  I think this place should definitely be on your radar when in the area.

Oh and Joan liked it too.

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