The Tame Hare, Royal Leamington Spa.

I stumbled on this restaurant by sheer chance. I’d gone to the Leamington Wine Co next door and the owner was helping me load the car when the heavens opened and she enlisted the help of the man next door to expediate the process. The man next door was Jonny Mills, the Chef from The Tame Hare. In my haste to avoid the rain I didn’t even notice his newly opened Restaurant but I’d noticed his help and subsequently a tweet between the two neighbours. After some cyber stalking I realised that this Restaurant had only been open for a matter of weeks but the menu and the pictures they had posted on social media of the food caught my eye. I just needed an excuse to visit…

Technically I should set up a new blog site for this review as I went with my mate Chris and not Beverley, so It was not peregrinations with a pesky pescetarian, instead it was two old mates putting the world to rights over dinner. Not the catchiest of titles for a blog!!

We opted for the tasting menu which was six courses, seven if you include the Sourdough with home churned butter. I’ve got to mention the butter as it was shaped like a Hare, a nice little touch.

As we were both driving I can’t tell you anything about the wine list but I can say that the table water came in a beautiful bottle with a stopper.

Our first course nearly went by unnoticed as we were deep in conversation. The first thing I noticed was that we had finished it. We broke off from talking, looked down at our plates and it was gone. Our eyes lifted from the empty plates and we looked at each other…

…and I realised Beverley was missing out on some seriously good cooking. Chris was opposite me!!

The second course was probably my favourite of the night. It sounds simple when you say spelt and barley, hens yolk and asparagus but there was nothing simple about the execution of this dish. It just worked, The asparagus both sliced and whole provided different textures, along with the grains, then the rich yolk – once cut into – then running through and combining all the ingredients together.

I’ve just written that the previous course was my favourite but as I sit here and type this and remember all the flavours and textures that came with the Hake, fennel, brown shrimp, peanut and an incredible bisque, it’s a really close call. Probably the most telling thing is we both looked to see if there was any bread left to mop up the bisque.

So I’m splitting hairs over which is the better course so far, the Asparagus or the Hake… And then the next course arrives…

Single Muscle Rump with Crispy Cheek, Onion, Asparagus and Creamed Potato. I don’t know where to start with the description as Rump isn’t one of my favourite cuts of beef (and believe it or not I’m a former butcher) but this was superb, unbelievably tender. The croquette like ball of crispy cheek was full of flavour not quite packing the punch of Glynn Purnell’s cube of corned beef or Tom Kerridge’s pork cheek beignet but close, bloody close. As for the creamed potato, mash to you and me, that was up there with L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon and they do some seriously good mash.

Anyone who has read the previous blogs will know that we are not fans of dessert, occasionally one will catch my eye, so to be faced with two on the tasting menu did make me nervous. The first one was white chocolate, rhubarb and sorrel. First fear was white chocolate, this is going to be too sweet for me. How wrong was I. Perfectly balanced between the sweetness of the white chocolate and the tart rhubarb, they combined superbly. I didn’t pick the sorrel up, but did I miss it? Probably not. The last course arrived, banana, celeriac toffee and milk ice cream. Would I have preferred a cheese board? Probably but it wasn’t an option. I hoovered up Chris’s banana (that really sounds wrong!!) as its not one of his favourites but yet again it was a superbly balanced dish.

Before I finish this post, a little more background to Jonny and the Tame Hare. He’s started this up with his Dad’s backing, his mate Lee is alongside him in the kitchen, they have no pot washer, they do it all themselves from the cooking to the cleaning, and one of their girlfriends is running front of house on her own. They want this to succeed and having been there once I want their venture to succeed. If you live near Leamington this restaurant is one to visit. If you don’t live near Leamington, it’s worth the journey.

So in conclusion…

No idea what the wine list is like.

Superb food.

 

Adam xx

 

 

 

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