The likes of Argo Lounge and Bill’s in Peterborough city centre are proof, if needed, of the current vogue for the industrial chic look loved by bar/restaurants.
Stamford has its Cozy Club and Oundle now has the Tap & Kitchen, a great new waterside venue I spotted on social media recently and called into a couple of weeks ago.
It was only a matter of time before we returned to eat and further sample what it has to offer; which is plenty.
From the outside, to passersby, it looks little more than an industrial unit on a small riverside estate, shared by the Nene Valley Brewery, a flower wholesaler, bike builder and outdoor specialist.
There is more than a nod to its waterside heritage with anchors and a boat hoist at the entrance.
Inside, the ceiling is open with exposed pipework and lighting, and the bar area decor is quite simple but very effective – tall tables and chairs, exposed wooden walls and a smart bar – absolutely loaded with real ales courtesy of the brewery next door. The dining area is carpeted and a bit more plush with comfortable seating.
The menu changes daily, and is packed with home-made offerings using locally sourced ingredients. “If we can make it ourselves, we generally do,” is the proud boast.
The menu is by no means extensive – and I have no problems with that. I could quite happily have entertained any of the starters or mains.
When it came to ordering, brawn terrine with tomato chutney came a close second to butti farra dulce de polo – something I had never heard of and was none the wiser after consulting Google.
In short, it was a sausage, quite a sweet one at that, served sliced on a bed of couscous with a crispy, leafy herb salad. I was impressed – lots of textures and flavours.
Donna sampled the roasted vegetable tart – big chunks of courgette and pepper, with a rocket and parmesan salad that smelled and tasted lovely.
Another new one on me, hanger steak formed the mainstay of my main course. It says on the menu served pink– which is the way this cut needs to be – and it was right on the money. A beautiful colour, warm all the way through, and a great mouthwatering taste.
It came with chunky chips, which I enjoyed, and a leafy salad with flavour-packed dressing and little hints of mint and rocket.
My only grumble, I would have liked a little more meat, and I don’t think that is me being greedy.
Donna had a wonderfully cooked supreme of Suffolk chicken, served with a great combination of fine beans and bits of bacon, and a crisp-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside potato cake.
Not cheap, but terrific food, first class service and a great venue.
Brad Barnes dines at the Tap & Kitchen Oundle Wharf, Station Road, Oundle,
tel 01832 275 069, www.tapandkitchen.com
BRAD’S RATING: 9
From the menu:
Heirloom tomato salad, beetroot, goats curd
Butti Farra dulce de pollo, couscous & herb salad
leek & potato soup, toasted muffin
Grimsby fish board for 2
Classic prawn cocktail, bread & butter
Spring vegetable risotto, rocket & parmesan salad Plaice Mornay, new potatoes, garden vegetables
Grilled hanger steak sandwich, horseradish