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Muddy eats: Overstone Arms

A village pub with countryside charm...

LOCATION

I often drive past the picturesque village of Pytchley on my way to the cinema or to Kettering. Maybe you do too, if so I’m here to tell you about this little hidden gem. Chris Jones and his Father Trevor welcome everyone to The Overstone Arms, a classic English village pub nestled in the rolling hills of the Kettering countryside. I went a few year’s ago when it was a bit of an ‘old man’s pub’ (which I’ve been known to frequent and enjoy on occasion), but now it’s much more pleasing to the eye and family friendly, and literally minutes from the A14, although you wouldn’t know it.

STAR TURN

I live in Wellingborough and often struggle for a spacious pub garden that allows dogs and also has enough room for friends of mine who have buggies or kiddies who want to run free. I cannot believe this large orchard garden and play area is 11 minutes drive from Welly and it’s been there all of this time while I battle on street pavements ‘cafe stylee’ trying to catch some rays. There’s loads of room here, it gets the sun all day, but there’s also trees and shrubbery if you prefer a bit of shade. This is a HUGE selling point for the pub, so much so, I went back the next night after my review and dragged the kids along for some pre-Wonder Woman tapas : )

This is all very nice ma, but we’re late for Wonder Woman!

VIBE

This is a real hybrid pub/cafe/restaurant. During the day the restaurant has a really farmhouse kitchen vibe and sells fresh coffees, loads of posh teas along with cakes and brunchy style eggs on crumpets, yum. Head Chef Mark Law and his team have really thought about the menu with light lunches, big bowl salads and reasonably priced tapas. For the bigger appetite there are still hearty British pub classics and for the restaurant evenings, a selection of specials and favourites. Sunday is topped off with the very popular three meat Sunday Carvery, served from 12-6.00pm.

The pub has its locals who’ve been going for years, and there’s a selection of real ales and lagers and shows sport for those who like a bit of, er, spectator sport. Grand Muddy and I had a natter to Chris, one of the regulars, he said he’d been going for over 20 years, and the current incarnation of the pub is the best. He did look very happy, as did the horses out of the window right next to the bar!

 SCOFF/QUAFF

We had tapas both nights, and at £8.50 for three dishes you can’t complain at that value. The burger meatballs were tasty and filling, while the fish and chip croquettes were a firm favourite with all parties (on both nights). I’m a big fan of garlic prawns, and although these were more shrimp like, they were very tasty and all the garlic juices quickly mopped up by the homemade croutons. It was the trainee chef in the chair on the evening we went, and I have to say, he did a pretty decent job (we did have an unusual tapas the next evening of a dish full of cherry tomatoes and jarred jalapenos, but we ate them anyway).

 

 KID/DOG FRIENDLY

Yes to both, the owner has kids and there’s a very friendly, relaxed vibe (Grandma friendly too)!

OUT & ABOUT

Local villages Great Harrowden, Little Harrowden, Orlingbury and Isham are all walkable (some connected by pubs). Check out the walks here, or go in and ask for my new mate Chris at the bar, he’s got a few good pub to pub walks up his sleeve! You can see All Saints, the 12th Century Church from the pub garden too. All worth a visit!

Good for: Lots. Coffee mornings, an unpretentious lunch stop with friends/family on a pretty walking route if you want to combine a walk/meal out (with car parking for over 40 cars and free Wi-Fi a good alternative for the Kettering Park business crowd to have a working lunch). Ideal for a beer and bar snack over summer. Perfect for groups or couples, there’s room for all (doggies and kiddies too), busy Sunday lunches and the restaurant can hold up to 60, so probably good for a last minute meal that you haven’t planned.

Not for: True gastropub mavens. The Overstone Arms has ample charms but the pub is bigger on tradition and warmth than stylistic finesse.

The damage: Excellent value, particularly the tapas and salad bowls (lunch and a drink less than a tenner)! Evening menu has starters around a fiver and mains around the £12 mark.

The Overstone Arms, Stringers Hill, Pytchley, Kettering, NN14 1EU, 01536 790215

 

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Northamptonshire