Muddy Eats: The Oat Hill
This stylish and spacious pub serves wonderful food and won Best Destination Pub in the Muddy Stilettos Awards! Loosen those trousers, I’m going in.
Just a hop, skip and jump from the high street but close enough for a bit of fuel after a few hours of shopping. It also has a lovely outdoor space, ideal for al fresco dining during the warmer months.
This modern gastro pub/restaurant manages to combine cosy and cool really well. Plush purple and green furnishings light up the lounge area and there’s gorgeous potted green plants scattered around the room and it looks more like a stylish bar you’d find in central London. The pub is split into a lounge and a small restaurant area but you can choose where you plonk yourself for food.
The restaurant is set up in a smaller room to the left. It’s intimate but done up really well with shabby chic/vintage touches including hanging birdcages, vintage clocks and mesh fronted crockery cabinets.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The food here is delic and so it should be as it won Best Destination Pub in Leics (did I already mentioned that)? I dined here for lunch and it was quieter than I thought it would be but a lovely change from the busy cafes I end up in. The pub offers the choice of 2 courses £12.95 or 3 courses £15.95 per person which is a bloody good deal for this part of town.
I couldn’t decide between the mushroom and spinach tart (from the 2 course for £12.95 menu) or the grilled halloumi salad. Trying to be good, I opted for the warm salad and as soon as it arrived, I knew I’d made the right choice – I just wish it was a little bigger (does that sound greedy)? It came with summer salad leaves, roasted mediterranean vegetables, baby new potatoes and a lovely zesty pesto dressing which gave it a lovely fresh kick. The halloumi pieces were juicy and griddled to perfection. I was still hankering for more after I’d finished the small salad so picked the warm Belgian chocolate brownie for dessert.
Luckily for me, it came with two reasonable-sized slices of brownie, drizzled with chocolate sauce and a scoop of vanilla pod ice cream. I only got through one piece of brownie but it finished my meal off perfectly.
Yes! Although there were no kids when I visited. Food on the children’s menu varies from burgers with cheddar in a toasted bun to fish and chips. The lounge area in the pub is really informal so you can sit here too – and if it’s good day, there’s ample of space outside for the kids to run around in. No swings or climbing frames but probably one of the largest pub gardens I’ve seen (they even have outdoor theatre events on in the summer) and there’s also a little terrace out back to escape to.
OUT AND ABOUT
It’s a stone’s throw away from the lovely shops and cafes in Market Harborough. My tip for great indie shops would include Lily Loves Shopping for fun home accessories, Bagel and Griff for home and decor and The Growing Tree for kids clothes, toys and The Garage Bakehouse for their coffee. It’s really worth wandering around, I love ADA Gallery tucked away down an alley; tiny but filled with beautiful and unique pieces of jewellery. If shopping is not your thing you can take in one of the lovely but long walk through the town to the lovely village of Great Bowden.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Families, big parties, a great pitstop for food and water after spending the day shopping.
Not for: Cheap and cheerful. It’s a step up from that.
The damage: Reasonable. Children’s menu main course £6.95 or 2 course £9.95. Lunch 2 courses for £12.95. Evening menu starters start from £4.95 and main from £10.95.
The Oat Hill, 31 Kettering Road, Market Harborough, LE16 8AN. Tel 01858 462324