Although it had been a couple of years since our previous visit, when thinking about a venue fit for a glorious Mothering Sunday lunch in March, I knew I'd be in safe hands at The Samuel Fox Country Inn. It was here that I ventured on a lengthy hour-plus drive with my wife and two young children, hoping for a meal equally as impressive as the last time we ate here.
One notable difference since our previous visit is the fact that the restaurant now only opens for lunch on Sunday's (our previous visit being on a Saturday). That's a real shame but completely understandable given the rather remote location of Bradwell and the tough economic times many restaurants currently face. After parking in the sufficiently large on-site car park, we strolled in slightly late for our reservation but were nonetheless the first people in the restaurant. The welcome was warm and there was absolutely no problem with our young daughter or baby son (high chair provided) from any of the staff during our visit. The decor hasn't really changed since our last visit, but that's no bad thing; there's a smart country pub vibe here which is exactly right for what's on offer.
After a little aperitif and a glance at the wine list (rather impressive for a small venue such as this with many wines available by the glass) it was on to the food. Following some decent if slightly uninteresting bread came my starter of ham hock and black pudding terrine. It was a well presented dish but more importantly packed some seriously earthy flavours, perfectly complimented by the zing of pickled beetroot; an excellent start to the meal. My wife had the same; lucky her.
For main I opted for the roast lamb. To only be served a couple of small lamb slices on this dish did feel slightly mean but it was nonetheless delicious, as was the accompanying lamb ball, all topped off by some top rate gravy. My wife's dish on this occasion wasn't quite so good, her chicken on cous cous being borderline too dry and lacking the punching flavours she'd hoped for. It's worth noting that the restaurant is happy to offer not-on-the-menu kids options and my daughter was perfectly happy with a more than edible plate of chicken and chips.
Last up came dessert and I have to say, my white chocolate cheesecake was a seriously good piece of work, absolutely delicious and genuinely one of the best tasting desserts I've had in quite some time. The accompanying rhubarb was a sensible combination albeit I felt it could have been done in a way to pack a little bit more flavour. Nonetheless though, I loved that dessert. My wife and daughter both very much enjoyed an equally accomplished pavlova with mango dish; desserts here really are quite impressive.
And so, a thoroughly enjoyable meal came to an end. Service throughout was fine; it did feel as though the staff were slightly inexperienced and it was clear one particular waitress really didn't want to be there unfortunately. However, I had no real complaints around service and regardless, nothing could detract from some super food. Even on Mothering Sunday lunch the place was far from full (although granted that could have been snow related) which is a real shame; the food here is well worth a special journey and I've no doubt whatsoever I'll be making the long trek back in the not too distant future.
|Ratings||Michelin Guide||AA Guide||Good Food Guide|
|At time of review||Listed||4|