The Bradgate

December 4, 2014

 

I had dinner last night at The Bradgate, Newton Linford,  as a guest of David Keatley-Lill.  I first met David when he was GM at Grayson’s, a terrific fine dining venue in Quorn in the mid-noughties. He now runs the White Horse in Quorn and, since last year, this venerable institution on the edge of Bradgate Park.

It’s not fine dining, it’s tasty pub food designed to please the hordes who descend all year round on Braggy for a yomp. It’s a huge place with high overheads – in the summer with its outside space it can serve some 300 – and it’s been nicely smartened up in an unpretentious way.

WP_20141203_20_56_19_ProDavid gave some interesting insights into running this kind of place, where people still turn up regularly and expect a £5 carvery that they had on their last visit five years ago. He recognises he probably pitched it a bit high to begin with, but eventually refined the offering, introducing barbecue ribs and wings – including an outdoor rib shack in the warmer weather – and a big pizza oven. This knocks out great thin and crispy pizzas with local themed names such as the Old John, with pulled pork, sausage, caramelised apple sauce and chilli – not for the traditionalists clearly but very tasty. Part of the inspiration here is the success of the award-winning Bulls Head in Repton Derbyshire, which has made a name for itself with inventive pizzas.

WP_20141203_20_24_06_ProI tried the ribs and a main of boeuf bourguignon and a ginger and toffee cheesecake, with other dishes tried at our table including piri piri chicken wings, that Old John pizza,  smoked mackerel pate, rump steak with king prawn skewer and nutella brioche bread and butter pudding. So you get the picture  – hearty stuff,  and enough nice touches to take it a level or two above those identikit family pubs that seem to thrive on the edge of our city, whilst remaining accessible and inclusive.

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