“My new favourite thing in life is a cauliflower cheese croquette, great texture and went well with the gravy which was full of flavour.”
This was not my first visit to The Hopping Hare, which can be found nicely set back on the Harlestone Road in Duston. In fact it’s probably my most visited restaurant in Northamptonshire, being conveniently situated less than five minutes away from our Barn it turns in to a convenient location for our weekly meetings and client lunches. Taking this into consideration we have always found it difficult to justify doing a review here, even though we have enjoyed many meals of a very good standard and often recommend it to family and friends. When the news that the Head Chef was changing, it presented the ideal opportunity for a review to ensure that we were not going to have to find a new local haunt.
A few weeks before this visit, my family and I had a great Sunday roast here, one I was describing to friends as the best I have ever had; big words you might be thinking. I was pretty keen to get back to see if it was still going to be as good as my last visit. My wife called to book for her and I on the Sunday morning, we requested a table for 1.30 but they could only fit us in at 3.30 in the bar area, which we were happy with. I arrived slightly before my wife, we travelled separately as I was off to the rugby after our meal. Lots of the other diners appeared to have the same idea so it was busy, something The Hopping Hare deals with well due to the spacious bar area and ample dining room/conservatory. I was warmly welcomed, although the staff know us, they are always very polite and professional, but never overly friendly. There was also a new waiter who I had never seen before.
I was offered a drink, I ordered a soft drink as I had a heavy one the night before. I was directed to wait in the cozy bar area while our table was prepared, the new waiter almost instantly came over and said our table was ready, I decided I would wait in the bar for my wife, who arrived soon after. We were then taken to our table which had been upgraded to the conservatory, a nice touch which the team had said they would try to do on the phone to my wife earlier, I should just say that I always enjoy a meal in the bar area also.
After being seated we were asked if we wanted water on the table, we both had soft drinks that we ordered from the bar but didn’t get offered the wine list. This could be a result of the staff knowing us but I would suggest we should have been asked if we wanted any wine with our meal, one that we would have most definitely politely declined on this occasion :-).
The menu is everything you could want on a Sunday, a selection of five starters, all of which sounded delicious.
I’m a big fan of the homemade soup here, but I often have this so decided to go for the ham hock terrine, served with a black pudding scotch egg and mustard mayonnaise, it was really tasty and a nice way to start my meal. My wife had the chicken liver and smoked duck parfait, it was huge and thoroughly enjoyed.
I went for the chicken roast and my wife the pork belly, the roasts were served with duck fat roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese croquette and seasonal vegetables.
The chicken had great flavour, you were given a breast and leg along with a yummy sausage meat stuffing ball.
The vegetables were all cooked really well and tasted like they should, some were served on your plate and others in a bowl to share.
My new favorite thing in life is a cauliflower cheese croquette, great texture and went well with the gravy which was full of flavour.
Suitably stuffed we decided we would share a desert, it would have been rude not to as we were doing a review of course. We went for the homemade treacle tart with clotted cream ice cream, the ice cream was really nice but the tart although tasty was a little dry and may have gone down better with a custard.
Our meal was £53.25, we didn’t have any alcoholic drinks but I feel this is great value for money for what was another really quality meal.
The standard of food was as good as ever I’m pleased to say, with the autumn and winter months setting in I would openly suggest The Hopping Hare as a must try venue for an evening meal or comforting Sunday roast.
18, Hopping Hill Gardens, Northampton, NN5 6PF
01604 580090 | www.hoppinghare.com