Muddy Eats: The revamped Fox and Hounds
As far as transformations go, The Fox and Hounds pub in Kingsthorpe is something to behold. Northamptonshire entrepreneurs, McManus Pubs, have added some real quality into what was always a busy pub. Aside from the fact that it is now very stylish, the team here are at pains to make everybody welcome, Drinkers, Diners, Dogs and “Dropper innerers”
If you’ve visited any other of the groups pubs then you’re already used to very good pub grub, focused on quality not quantity. You’ll also know that the staff are brilliant, the drinks are served with a smile, and there is a breadth of menu to serve every palate and appetite very well. And McManus do pubs VERY well (as you can see).
In case you haven’t visited some of the groups hostelries, check out highlights in Muddy’s guide to great pubs. Every good McManus pub Muddy has visited has always had a good team in place. And every great pub we’ve visited has had a fabulous manager in situ, and the Fox & Hounds is brilliant, largely because of the enthusiastic and passionate manager, Louisa, who simply wants you to have a good time. It’s refreshing and genuine hospitality even on a very busy Sunday afternoon, and it made a big difference to our visit.
The pub itself looks beautiful. Modern finishes in a traditional pub environment, blues creams and yellows (I sat in front of that fire with a lovely cider and watched the world go by). Lovely atmosphere and possibly the most beautifully appointed toilets I have ever seen in a pub.
And now the really good stuff. Food and drink. A couple of palate cleansers in, we were ready for some sharing starters (Muddy style – Mr and Miss Muddy’s eyes roll as Muddy takes charge of proceedings). We went for pan fried king prawns, crab croquettes and grilled halloumi with Pesto.
Then Mr Muddy pipes up that it would be a shame to leave without ordering the deliciously named Filthy Fries – which were less than filthy and more than fabulous – spicy fries with grilled cheese (because everybody needs chips as a starter right?)!
All starters were fresh and excellently seasoned, so was there any room for main course? You betcha. The three main courses, a turkey roast dinner, turkey and ham pie and a pork belly with braised cabbage, were all delicious.
The portion sizes aren’t huge, but are very tasty, and I actually prefer not to be overfaced, so this worked for me. As such, there was just enough room for one of the delicious homemade desserts. In this case, the three of us shared an amazing winter berry cheesecake and we’re still talking about it now. Like all of the other food we’d eaten it was elegantly presented, and lasted for only seconds before we’d demolished it.
There are other great aspects of this pub; dogs are welcome in the bar area and children dining with adults are welcome until 10pm.
And get this, such are the talents of the kitchen and bar staff there’s a very impressive cocktail menu in the pipeline too (although we managed a taster margarita with a secret beer ingredient) so watch this space for a Muddy revisit with the ladies very soon.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Catching up with friends or just popping out of the house/office for a couple of hours. This is a good pub for groups of lads, lasses, chatty couples, really most people (and any age)! Sunday dinners look to be a speciality and given that it’s located on the busy Harborough Road this pub presents itself as a real oasis after a day shopping in Northampton or at the nearby Supermarkets.
Not for: Those looking for a quiet bolthole, or a romantic uninterrupted meal. This is a bustling local that opens it’s doors to everyone and has a real buzz about it from the moment you step inside.
££: There is excellent value for money here. The menu is more sophisticated than average pub fare, and it’s obvious that care is taken over the ingredients and the presentation. The pub does offer great traditional dishes too, but many of the plates have a cosmopolitan twist, whilst the wine list is comprehensive and fairly priced. The Chapel Down Bacchus on offer also indicates that the wine buyers are clearly focused on quality over quantity and they’ll always have a friend in Muddy because of this. Starters around a fiver, mains £8.95 upwards and wine around £15 a bottle.
The Fox & Hounds, 186 Harborough Road, Northampton, NN2 8DJ