A really good pub with great food, drink and surroundings can be hard to come by these days but when you find one it feels like a real treat.
The Plough in Shutlanger is one of those places.
The small village, which neighbours Stoke Bruerne, is a place I hadn’t come across before.
Character stone cottages, winding lanes, open fields and a beautiful village pub add to its rural charm.
It had already grabbed my attention but the best was yet to come inside.
New owners Jim Kay and Jessie King took over The Plough just six weeks ago and have already made a huge impact.
The pub was refurbished throughout ahead of the reopening night and The Plough and its team of new staff has gone from strength to strength ever since.
The pub was full of customers and buzzing when we arrived for Sunday lunch.
The bar area is warm and cosy with plenty of comfy seats and tables to enjoy a pre-lunch drink and a chat.
The refurb, which has given the pub a modern but cosy look, has been done very well.
With smiling faces behind the bar, candles lit and the comforting smell of roast dinners gently floating out of the kitchen, it’s hard not to feel at home.
We enjoyed a couple of glasses of perfectly chilled Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs before our lunch while we studied the menu.
It was hard to choose because all of it sounded tempting but we made our decision and took our seats in the equally cosy restaurant.
For starters we went for a sharing plate with camembert, bread sticks, homemade red onion and fresh bread.
It’s easy to say it was the best camembert we’d ever eaten and was beautifully presented on a wooden board.
The flavours from everything on the board went perfectly together and the camembert was wonderfully gooey but not thick and stodgy like many serve it.
It was a great start to our meal which seemed to get even better as we went along.
Although there were some fantastic-looking roast dinners being served in the restaurant, we opted to divert away from the traditional Sunday option.
I went for Jim’s beef and ale pie with a tender filling and wrapped in a crisp tortilla parcel, while the husband went for roasted rack of lamb with a herb crust and redcurrant jus.
All the main courses come with a choice of potatoes and vegetables on the side.
The meat in the pie was delicious and, because it was wrapped in tortilla, it was much lighter than the normal thick crust pastry.
The lamb was meaty, tender and perfectly cooked with the crust bringing it to life.
The dauphinoise potato which came with the lamb was beautifully flavoured without being over creamy.
The vegetables were fresh, varied and cooked to perfection.
We finished with a Belgian chocolate mousse to share with cream, chocolate pieces and strawberries served in a wine glass.
It was the perfect Sunday lunch.
The Plough rivals expensive restaurants in terms of attention to detail, flavours, quality and presentation of the food but with the comfort and price of a fantastic Northamptonshire pub.
I think I’ve found my new favourite pub and just 15 minutes from my house!
DISABLED ACCESS: Available
PARKING: Small car park
COST OF OUR MEAL: £43.45 (NOT INCLUDING DRINKS)
ALICE’S STAR RATING: 9/10
Telephone: 01604 864644