Din dins at 185 Watling St
I’ve already reviewed this gem back in the early days of Muddy Northants (check it out here for everything from the parking situ to the gorgeous grub), but I wanted to do a summer update as I’d heard there was a cute little garden bar and some damn fine weather to keep me propping it up for a while! So here’s my little revisit and 5 reasons to visit 185 this summer…
The great outdoors
The garden is luvverly, really spacious and well looked after and is perfect for weekends when the Towcester town crowds are spilling out. There’s no rush to the main bar when you have the little garden bar serving your fave gins and the conservatory style of the restaurant means you can eat inside but feel an outdoor vibe.
It is a town centre kitchen/restaurant, but it’s also a destination bar for out of towners who want something a bit more upmarket. So if it is the drinks and vibe you’re after, you’ll be pleased to know the nibbles and starters are superb (the welsh rarebit was super oozy with delicious cheese and the squid was some of the best I’ve tasted this side of the channel).
The main event
The food was super delicious the first time, but I’d say I was even more impressed this time. The crispy duck looked sublime (and tasted it too, so said my Muddy team mate dinner companion), and the sides of greens with bacon were fresh and salty and perfectly complemented with the vinegar drenched (my fault) thick, cut, super crispy chips. My chicken with broccoli and chilis was really tasty, but I’d had so much welsh rarebit I had to have a doggy bag and wrapped up a significant amount for ‘not so’ Mini Muddy (he loves my job).
The pub has just been shortlisted as a finalist in the Great British Pub Awards 2017, with winners being announced in September (eeeeeek). The awards celebrate the achievements of the best pubs in the business with 185 Watling St Pub & Kitchen selected as a finalist in the Best Managed Pub category.
It has already gone through two rounds of rigorous judging to reach the final, and will now battle it out against five other pubs from around the UK to try and take the category title (come on Northants)!.
Great value and choice
It’s not the cheapest joint in town, but you get what you pay for. Unless you order the excellent value ‘Bill of Fare’ set menu, then you get more than you pay for! It’s available Monday to Friday 12 noon to 6pm with 2 courses for £12.75 and 3 courses for £15.75. There’s also the new afternoon tea menu which runs daily from 3pm to 5pm, with customers selecting cakes etc from the afternoon tea trolley (and champers or cocktail if you’re that way inclined)! There’s also events like a seafood picnic – night under the stars and various summer BBQs. 185 are very keen to mix it up for the very mixed crowd!
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: The ornate art deco interior and mix of traditional and contemporary dining areas mean 185 will suit most tastes, relaxed or special occasion lunches and dinners! Day times are lovely for parents/kids and business lunchers, and great for a grabbed bite and espresso as it’s right in the middle of town. Evenings are deal for dates or groups of friends looking for a good bar vibe in the evening and a classy dinner.
Not for: Anyone who likes very intimate or olde worldy dark rooms where you can just make out the silhouette of your ‘blind’ date.
£££: High mid to upper price range but you get what you pay for. Sandwiches around the £8 mark, starters around £6/7 upwards, mains averaging at around £15 and the all important cocktails around £8.
185 Watling Street, Towcester, 01327 317 177