Hercules Revived

April 10, 2017

Here’s a review from my Leicester Mercury column of a rather nice country pub out near Market Bosworth. We went midweek and it was doing good business – I suspect it’s one that many people could usefully bear in mind for Sunday lunch too:


Hercules Revived
Main Street
Sutton Cheney

01455 699336

It’s been a while since we’ve been out to the West of the county to report on good places to eat. They do seem a bit harder to ferret out than in some other parts of Leicestershire and Rutland.

There are though some lovely old villages which seem to be calling out for great dining pubs. It’s good to report that Sutton Cheney is one of those villages and that Hercules Revived is one of those pubs.


I’ve a memory of stopping off for a pint here a decade or so back and thinking it a nice enough old village pub. Back then it was just The Hercules – named after a celebrated racehorse in the 18th century owned by the Dixies, the owners of nearby Bosworth Hall until, ironically, losses on the geegees caused the spendthrift 11th baronet Sir Beaumont Dixie to sell up.

Hercules Revived opened its doors in December 2012 after a total refurbishment that retains a smart but cosy country pub environment downstairs and an upstairs restaurant which has a suite of stylish rooms for small and large groups. The pub has a good selection of local and regional cask ales, bottled craft beers and rare gins and the food offers a broad choice of menus over the week from full à la carte to lunchtime sandwiches, good value Monday and Tuesday night set menus, comfort and retro food nights and one-off special events such as a six-course beer-matched menu.

The main evening menu, like virtually all such pubs, offers it collection of staples – fish and chips, burger, steak and a penne arrabiata for the veggies. Looking at other tables, these seem to be well done but we were after more interesting fare. I started with a leek brulée, a savoury custard with a parmesan crust and served with two sizeable slices of lightly smoked applewood cheddar and grapes. The smooth bruleé was an excellent vehicle for the sweet flavour of leeks, though I would have liked more of the excellent wholemeal crostini – it worked best when the creamy leek was combined with crunchiness of the bread. Leek and cheese are of course a champion flavour match and while I suspect not everyone would warm to the texture, there was no doubt that the dish delivered on freshness and flavour.

We also had a terrific haddock fishcake – round and fat, lightly crumbed – served with lemon and pepper mayonnaise and surrounded by fresh prawns and a tomato concasse. Nicely made and elegantly presented, it tasted great and gave a sense that there was experience, skill and good judgment in the kitchen.

Mains were both substantial meaty feasts but also showed culinary intelligence. My duck breast at first seemed not quite pink enough for my preferences but on investigation it was moist and flavoursome and I wouldn’t have changed it. Coming with it was a delicious little shepherds pie made from leg meat which – in a slightly larger form – would have made a great comfort food lunch on its own. It was advertised as having a redcurrant jus, but that suggests simple meat juices and this was more of an epic sauce – thick, fruity and intense. Not subtle, but I really liked it.

Slow-braised belly of pork, a staple dish of your country dining pub but which can be deadly dull, was first-rate. A man-sized tranche of meat had a nice crusty outside and softly yielding inner, and there was much more porky goodness on the plate – a loose-textured honey-roasted sausage, a satisfying wedge of crackling and a pile of mash with faggot distributed through it. Apple sauce, wholegrain mustard and another rich, glossy sauce completed this unashamedly hearty dish which still had an elegance about it.

Wines are clearly an enthusiasm here with monthly tasting events designed to widen horizons of regulars and the list, while not huge, looks well chosen. There are tempting Meursaults and Barolos for those able to push the boat out, as well as around a dozen more humble bottles available by the glass. Our Argentinian malbec was excellent.

For desert passionfruit cheesecake was light, well-made and with neat slices of sweet, ripe mango and refreshing raspberry sorbet the plate was another goodlooking one. An individual dark chocolate tart needed finer pastry but with a rich ganache, a dab of salted caramel, peanuts and white chocolate ice-cream it was still polished off with a smile.

This independent pub is offering self-confident, highly competent pub restaurant food. It may not be at the very first rank of the region’s restaurants but under head chef Glyn Windross Hercules Revived is stretching out a lead over its competitors.

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