Tollemache Arms review
Dishes made from quality, local produce makes the Harrington pub a winner
By Sarah Ward
The Tollemache Arms has had a good run on award wins recently, only this week adding another to its heaving mantlepiece.
Run by Flo Pearce and Joe Buckley, the 17th century pub nestled in the small village of Harrington near Rothwell, has made a name for itself for tasty local food and excellent service.
The welcome on the pub’s website explains what the couple want their place to be:
“We took over ‘The Tolly’ in 2015 with a pipeline dream, tons of ambition and a bucket-load of passion for everything hospitality. Our aim was to create the perfect pub, the place for every occasion, somewhere everyone felt at home and that place you called your local.”
And that’s what we found when we went along on a hot lunchtime this week.
Decorated in the traditional country pub style, the dining area was homely and bright. But it’s the food rather than the decor that left an impression.
Flo and Joe are big advocates of using good quality, local produce and a map on the back of the menu flags up where the ingredients have been sourced from.
Troops & Son of Brixworth supply the fruit and veg; local forager Jonny Easter provides the honey; the cold meats come from the Northampton Charcuterie Company; Pat Butler from Rothwell supplies the rhubarb; Harrington Oils provide the dressings and the ice cream comes from Kettering’s Rocky’s Gelato. And there is of course the acclaimed Warner’s Gin, distilled just a short distance from the Tollemache at Falls Farm.
And those ingredients are used to create an enticing menu, far removed from the usual country pub grub.
The starter choice includes Northampton Nduja, ricotta, local bread and Harrington honey; a gin cured salmon taco and bang bang cauliflower served with their own wing sauce and sesame. Prices range from a reasonable £6 to £8 for a tempura king prawn dish served with a fennel salad.
For the main course there is a wide burger selection including a veggie version made from pea and spinach alongside a variety of delicious sounding meals from seabass with a cauliflower puree and asparagus and a beef bourguignon pie.
There’s also steaks from the grill on offer - with a choice of rump, gammon or hanger steak.
And for those wanting a lighter summer menu, there’s a range of salads which can be topped with steak, sea bass or harissa cauliflower.
Being lunchtime we skipped a starter and instead decided we’d have a main course and dessert. My husband chose the Tolly Burger and was happy with the choice. The patty was flavoursome (supplied by a local butcher of course) and it came with crispy bacon and a punchy cheddar source. On the side were chips, which were chunky and crispy and he also ordered onion rings - which came out looking like a large bowl of donuts. He saved them until the end of the meal, and they defeated him. More a sharing dish than for one person.
I had the king prawn linguine which came with chorizo and chilli oil. It was spicy and simply delicious.
My favourite part of the meal was dessert. The lemon and verbena panna cotta with rhubarb was one of the best desserts I’ve eaten for a long while. Thick, creamy and citrusy, it was superb and well done to Rothwell Pat for the rhubarb, which was sharp and robust. My husband had the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream and thoroughly enjoyed it. Other desserts available which we had debated were a chocolate orange creme brulee and the limoncello gelato with strawberries.
The prices were great for the quality - with the most expensive dish being the £19 sea bass or £23 for the rump steak. The burger was £15 and the linguine was £17, with all deserts priced at a reasonable £7.
My only small moan would be that despite it being a hot day, the nice terrace at the back of the pub was off limits to diners. The outdoor choice was a picnic table at the front.
But that’s a tiny gripe on what was a lovely meal with outstandingly attentive and friendly service. I can see why the awards have been racking up and would recommend going along if you haven’t been already.
The bill came to £57.60 for two main courses, two desserts, one alcoholic, and one soft drink. (We were anonymous diners and this is an independent review).