Strawberry Fields Forever (or at least for lunch)
I have been driving across that damn A14 for years without realising that nestling just a stone’s throw away in Rothwell, lay food emporium, Strawberry Fields; an utterly fabulous relaxed Mediterranean dining experience (where you can get delicious homemade dishes every day of the week, without an utterly silly 2pm cut off period for lunch)!
I’ll be doing a more in-depth review of one of their various events at a later date (more details on some of them below), but I couldn’t wait any longer to let you know about Father and Daughter team, Jen and Kerry Mcstay and their treasure trove of edible goodies (apologies for photos not being blog friendly, landscape, normal business will be resumed in next feature).
Having lived in South Africa and travelled extensively around Europe, there is a very continental vibe to the whole Strawberry Fields experience, eating as you would on your holly bobs, relaxed, casual and informal while nibbling on fat, juicy olives and supping on some excellent wines. Jen and Kerry are passionate about food and it seeps out of every crack of this wonderful little eaterie. While we were there, there were some local artists having a late lunch and it all felt very bohemian and very un-afternoon, mid-week in Northamptonshire.
It used to be more of a deli, but is now a deli and dine; and although it suits daytime chill out perfectly, the evenings are a roaring success with Pudding Clubs and Dine with the Sommelier events (picture the flickering candles and buzzing chat). You can buy platters from the deli, something on the side for your impromptu glass of chilled white or choose from a great daily menu.
The proprietors could make you lose afternoons with their stories of travel and food, and to them, what we eat is a story in itself. We had a deliciously rustic cod provencal and an AMAZING Moroccan lamb. An issue that I have with the UK and lunch time dining is it’s hard to get decent food throughout the afternoon (without resorting to a kid’s Play Barn pub), but not anymore (Strawberry Fields is open from 11am to 10.30pm Tuesday to Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm). We ambled in mid afternoon and it was no trouble whatsoever; in fact, the white wine was being poured and colourful ditties being told before I’d taken off my coat. Jen talked of recipes taught in Capri and various French influences that pepper her cooking; it was hard not to be captivated.
All the dishes are created freshly and reflect the seasons, and you can taste that, you really can. It’s warm, welcoming and utterly delightful; there should be more like this out there; maybe then we would all slow down a little and enjoy the Mediterranean pace of life; if only for one day.
(Keep your eyes peeled for an evening review; the blurb on t’internet says ‘drive out of Kettering you won’t be disappointed’, and I whole-heartedly agree)!
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Mediterranean food lovers wanting the real deal; foodies in general; anyone after a casual dining space with genuine atmosphere; romantics on an evening and larger groups will enjoy the ambience and feel of a smaller restaurant that’s still able to cater for them. There’s also some sweet outdoor space to watch the people of Rothwell busy by or catch a small vino while out shopping (natch).
Not for: I’d go so far as to say this would suit most people. No awkward steps for wheelchairs or buggies and welcome to all. I suppose if you’re after white linen table cloth and fine dining affair, this may not be your best bet, but I reckon they’d win you over anyway.
££: Day time menu extremely reasonable, around £9 for mains and Sunday lunches come in at two course meal £16.95, three course meal £19.95. Special events like Dine with the Sommelier include a five course meal centered around several spectacular wines and evenings usually start at 7.30pm, with a glass of bubbly and canapés for around £60 per ticket.
Strawberry Fields, 24 Market Hill, Rothwell, Kettering, Northants, NN14 6BW, 01536 713 623