Tout Suite – How the Talbot Hotel made everything truly scrumptious
Muddy loves a Friday night jaunt, cocktails, drinks, dinner and the luxury of 500 count Egyptian cotton sheets – all within 20 metres of each other. And so it came to pass that The Talbot Hotel in Oundle extended a very generous invitation to sample their fabulous new cocktail menu and partake in all of the other delights that the Hotel and Restaurant has to offer.
We started off the evening in the bar (as you do) and perused the cocktail menu which was definitely more female friendly, with a sugary summery vibe. Mr Muddy tells me he likes his cocktails just like his women, one at a time, strong and preferably, during happy hour! He settled on a Cucumber Collins and relaxed into the cocktail evening, which was a great success with lots of locals and “out of towners” congregating in the main bar. The Talbot’s singing barman Nick was absolutely fantastic, providing us with various good renditions of Old Blue eyes and the rat pack. Because it’s not a cocktail bar, per se, so you may not get the speed and choice of a hostelry focused solely on cocktails from a mixologist, but nontheless, they’re pretty decent.
We really enjoyed the meal, and although the bright light of the restaurant created a less than romantic ambience, it did bring to bear the full glory of the Mary Queen of Scots mural, which is huuuuuuuge. Admittedly Mr Muddy did complain that the dog’s eyes were following him as he tucked into his beautifully prepared rib eye steak (he tells me he still sees the dog in his nightmares, ha ha). I had a fish platter with an assortment of battered fish, prawns and smoked salmon (brain food)!
The piece de resistance of the meal was the dessert. A really clever rhubarb panna cotta, made with yoghurt and honey as opposed to milk. We shared it. I wish we hadn’t. It was so beautifully presented by our Chef for the evening and we really appreciated it. These guys are a whizz when it comes to desserts and I should also mention the really attentive waiting staff, who were flexible, and happy to help, both during our evening meal, and the next day in attendance at breakfast. Now that is some dedicated staff going on right there, well done guys.
The Mary Queen of Scots connection is a strong one. The staircase at the Talbot hotel is thought to have come from Fotheringhay Castle, along with the stonework. It’s said that Mary walked to her execution down those stairs and she left her mark by gripping on the staircase to keep her balance. Her ring, in the shape of a crown, apparently left an indentation on the staircase. Going in the opposite direction, we had to grip onto the staircase for dear life given the lovely Malbec, local beer and cocktails that we’d consumed in three short hours, but I’m not sure my carat was as impressive as Mary’s.
To be honest it was no hardship to go back to the room and take advantage of the lovely suite on offer. A four poster bed, sitting proudly in a good sized bedroom suite, leading to a gorgeous low lit bathroom featuring stand alone bath and shower. Oh, and those Bath robes – did I tell you I have a thing about bath robes. And in a sad reflection of my age, and energy levels, I was tucked up whilst the party carried on downstairs for another couple of hours at least (but I have earplugs. The glamour).
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Family celebrations, meeting with the girls, business trips and a good local night out. A charming hotel with plenty of history and a great springboard for exploring the lovely countryside on offer, including Lyvedon New Bield, Fotheringhay and nearby Barnwell Country Park.
Not for: Those who want to hide away in a cosy dim lit restaurant. It’s quite bright and you also have to pass through the bar to get upstairs (not that that’s a problem unless you’re incognito). Kids are welcomed, but there isnt alot for them to do in the hotel itself, but you have Oundle on your doorstep.
£££: Not bad for what you get, and there are always specials on. The new cocktail menu is small but perfectly formed for the sweeter tooth, and very reasonable at £7 a pop. The Talbot Hotel has 34 Bedrooms and has a great range of room types to choose from. The prices currently range between £99 and £139 but does a great Dinner, Bed and Breakfast Offer. For only an extra £30 per person you can add a full 3 course dinner to be enjoyed in any of their eating areas (and you can choose anything off their menus with no restrictions).
Their current Autumn Offer includes bed and breakfast and a hamper full of goodies on arrival for 2 adults sharing a Classic Double or Twin room. You can upgrade to a Superior or Deluxe room from £20 per night (subject to availability).
The Talbot Hotel, Eatery and Coffee House, New Street,Oundle, Northamptonshire, PE8 4EA. Telephone : 01832 273621