Les Rosbifs

July 31, 2012

I spent an interesting hour last week talking with Sallie Hooper. She’s spent the last few years co-ordinating Leicestershire Foodlinks, the body that helps promote and develop local  food producers across the county. She’s now sort of gone over to the other side  and started her own business in the form of the restaurant Les Rosbifs. 

Sallie and George Hooper

The restaurant is located within Northfield Farm in Cold Overton, a few miles north of Oakham. It’s well-known for its fantastic rare breed beef and pork and high standards of animal welfare.  Owner Jan McCourt has developed a popular farmshop and tearoom and then restaurant.  For various reasons,  including his own health problems, he had to shut the restauarnt but Hooper has seized the opportunity and relaunched it as a family buisness with sons Duncan in the kitchen and Gorge and Ollie front of house. Duncan was previously cooking at the Queen’s Head, Nassington, a rather smart inn on the Nene near Peterborough.

The name is a nod of course to both the fine beef produced at Northfield and to the model of Ferme Auberge, the informal farm restaurants serving up quality home -produced food that Francophiles dream of finding as they drive through the Dordogne.  The style is rural – all check tableclothes and riding tack on the wall.

Les Rosbifs

I’ve not eaten there yet but all the signs are promising. Obviously Northfield Farm meats feature, but the deal is that the Hooper’s can source their produce from where they wish.  Given Sallie’s experience she’s got a very good handle on where to get the good stuff locally.  The food is pitched mainly at solid British classics with strong focus on seasonality – a blowout Sunday lunch might start with cauliflower and Colston Bassett Stilton soup with truffle oil and toasted almonds, followed by roasted Nothfield beef, yorkshire pud and  goose fat roasties and ending up up with sticky toffee puddding with salted caramel sauce.  Evening menu offers steaks and crowd-pleasers such as corn-fed chicken breast with spring onon and cheddar risotto or Belvoir-ale battered fish and chips. Bread is all baked on site and the whole place gives off a nice unpretentious food-focussed air. I look forward to going at some point – do give us your views here if you get there first.

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