Michelin is clued up but is Peterborough getting a fair deal from other food guides?

Lee Clarke, head chef at Clarkes in Peterborough. EMN-140509-101820001
Lee Clarke, head chef at Clarkes in Peterborough. EMN-140509-101820001
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City centre restaurants Clarkes and The Beehive kept their listings in the coveted foodie bible the Michelin Guide when the 2016 edition was published last week.

Head chef Lee Clarke’s relaxed fine dining establishment in St John’s Square, keeps its two fork and spoon rating, with the Michelin inspectors commenting on the “spacious, formally run place; enjoy a drink in the smart bar or, in summer, make for the pleasant private courtyard. Cooking is complex, modern and seasonal.”

And while Lee was full of praise for the “awesome” guide and its “charming and helpful” inspectors, he did question a lack of recognition for the city from other guides.

“ I am very pleased with our listing, of course. We have stayed at the same level for three years running, and to be so consistent at a high level for so long is quite an achievement.

“But next year is going to be a big year for us at Clarkes. We are established, consistent, but we need to push ourselves forward to the next level.”

He added: “We now have quite a few places listed by Michelin but I don’t understand why Peterborough seems to be bypassed by the likes of the AA and the Good Food Guide? Why is the city so poorly recognised?”

Meanwhile, the inspectors had this to say about The Beehive, off Bourges Boulevard: “Dishes are well-presented, flavoursome and satisfying; the house pâté with chutney is a must-try.”

Restaurateur Jim Trevor’s other venue The Six Bells at Witham on the Hill is also listed, the inspectors highlighting : “This pub’s spacious courtyard is an obvious draw and the bright, stylish interior keeps things cheery whatever the weather. Choose hand-crafted pizzas cooked in the wood-burning oven in the bar or something more sophisticated from the main menu.”

Will Frankgate, head chef at The Blue Bell in Glinton, was pleased to see his efforts recognised once more.

He said: “We are delighted to be in the guide once again. It certainly gives us a lift when we are recognised by the inspectors for serving good quality food.

“It’s good to see what a nice handful of pub/restaurants there are in the area that have had good recognition this year. We would like to thank all of our staff for their continuous hard work and all of our wonderful customers for their on-going support.”

The inspectors had this to say about the Blue Bell: “Welcoming 18C pub in a pretty village. A colourful flower display greets you at the front and there’s a pleasant terrace hidden at the back. Lunch offers pub favourites while dinner has a more ambitious edge; save room for dessert!”

Also listed is Marcus Lamb’s The Crown at Elton, described by inspectors as a “17C honey-stone pub in a delightful country parish, with a thatched roof, a cosy inglenook fireplace in the bar and a laid-back feel. Extensive menus offer homely British dishes which arrive in generous portions.”

Nearby The Falcon Inn at Fotheringhay earned this comment in its listing: “ood ingredients feature in a wide range of flavoursome dishes and local game is a feature.”

There was a two fork and spoon rating and great comments for head chef Dameon Clarke and his team at The Wicked Witch at Ryhall near Stamford.

Inspectors said: “Seasonal menus follow the décor’s lead, offering modern dishes with an emphasis on presentation. Combinations are original and recipes have wide-ranging influences.”

The Exeter Arms at Easton on the Hill near Stamford earned this from the inspectors: “Eat either in the snug candlelit restaurant or in the stylish conservatory which opens out onto a terrace. Hearty dishes arrive in generous portions, with the occasional modern touch.”

The Bull and Swan in Stamford gets a listing. The inspectors liking the “characterful beamed bar and smarter dining room. Menu ranges from sharing slates to regional classics and locally sourced 

Finally, of the two fork and spoon rated Oak Panelled Restaurant at The George in Stamford, inspectors said: “Smart dress is required in this lovely oak-panelled dining room, which is found at the heart of an equally charming 16C coaching inn.

“Classical menus are largely British based with a few international influences. ‘Carving’, ‘cheese’ and ‘sweet’ trolleys all feature and the wine list is top notch.”