Situated in the most rural of Northamptonshire countryside, the summer months make it ideal to enjoy dinner in the garden.
Unfortunately, as I was driving to The Navigation Inn in Cosgrove, the heavens opened and dining out was not going to be an option.
But eating inside at the recently transformed venue was more than an adequate replacement.
The fresh and open decor sees plenty of windows at the back of the pub. This gives diners the gloriously rural sights of the Grand Union Canal and rolling countryside which is a perfect backdrop to dinner.
The decor has also been sympathetically decorated, plenty of wood panelling has been used throughout. Between the windows and the wood panelling, there is a perfect balance between the modern and contemporary while making it sympathetically fit with the village location.
My only criticism with the arrangement is that you are a little squashed together, and I did feel like I was intruding on another family’s dinner and a birthday party sat next to us.
It is safe to say that when walking into The Navigation Inn, both my partner and I had high hopes.
Upon arriving for dinner, we were shown to our table by one rather looked harassed looking member of staff, who then handed us over to a far friendlier waitress who was polite and took our drinks order.
With orange and apple juices ordered, a glance at the menu gave us plenty of choice. We plumped for some nibbles of pork belly bites with bramley apple sauce.
These were edible bits of heaven although these came out at the same time as the starter and would have been nice to have had while we mulled the menu over.
My partner often talk about the food lottery when dining out and with the starter, he had won the triple rollover.
The Saltimbocca Scotch Egg costing £6.95 had a free range egg (with a runny yolk!) wrapped in sage, proscuitto and sausage meat was from the very small mouthful I had absolutely exquisite.
I chose the gambas pil pil, prawns cooked in butter, chili, garlic and white wine which was nice and some sourdough bread. It would have been better had it been warm rather than toasted to mop up the delicious butter.
For the main course we both chose a pizza with dough made out of double 00 flour, usually used for making pasta.
The calabrese calzone (a folded pizza) filled with spicy nduja sausage, chicken, chilli, garlic, mozzarella and tomato sauce was a sight to behold. Impressively domed and had me, and the family next to us, salivating.
It was nice, and the dough combined with the wood burning pizza oven did give a nice authentic Italian flavour. The fresh chilis and seeds did contain a real kick and had to order some water to finish it off. It was pleasant but not spectacular.
My partner chose to have a Napoli Forte with spicy nduja sausage, Napoli salami, chilli, garlic, tomato sauce and mozzarella which he said he found disappointing. It even looked a little greasy and lacked in toppings despite the numerous ones on offer.
Our waitress, who was so polite and friendly at the start, wasn’t always on hand as well. I sat with an empty glass for quite a while before I was offered another drink. Indeed, my partner later told me she had been promoted by someone a little more senior.
We were rather full from dinner and didn’t have room for dessert so elected to settle the bill.
There is plenty going for it. The view is spectacular and environment is luxurious. You could easily take a date there and they would be impressed.
However, a few extra finishing touches would transform the dining experience from being a good one into a great one.
Service: Great at the start, got worse as the night went on.
Disabled access: Entrance through the pub
Parking: Own car park