Dining Out: The Walnut Tree Inn

Walnut Tree Inn
Walnut Tree Inn
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The Walnut Tree Inn is a secret gem of an eatery so well tucked away that you would simply never stumble across it unless you were badly lost.

Blisworth itself is a village hidden to the south of Northampton and the pub is on the very outskirts of the village.

The beaten track is a distant sight from here.

Not that such factors are hindering the restaurant. It was recently named Booker Food Pub of the Year at the Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards.

Expectations were high, then, for my wife and I as we navigated the pitch black country lanes for a Friday night meal in the restaurant side of the pub.

The building is discreetly lit from the outside, giving it a warm and cosy feel, while inside the décor is clean and modern, but with a genuine sense of the old-fashioned.

What was not old-fashioned was the hugely convenient option to book online, eliminating the often painstaking daytime wait for someone to answer the phone while out of hours.

The pub also sends you a reminder by email on the morning of your visit.

I wouldn’t have thought you’d forget a meal out, but it was a nice touch and something from which other establishments can learn.

The menu is not vast. There are about five or six lighter options alongside the same number of more traditional but upmarket dishes, such as partridge and duck.

We briefly looked into the bar area, which looked nice and cosy and a more informal affair than the restaurant half of the pub.

For a future visit it would be worth trying a bar meal of one of the many sandwiches they do, washed down with a pint of real ale.

When we visited, there was a couple of local brews on tap, but I always find I get a little bloated if I have beer with a meal and so stuck with the wine.

Our pre-meal plan was to not have any starters, but instead share a cheese board after dinner, a plan which we had to put on ice when the main courses left us suitably stuffed.

Although it was the most expensive dish on the menu, I went for the rib eye steak (£22), which came with three crisp onion rings, a miniature cage of chips, so thick cut they were more like roast potatoes, and a red wine jus which added a subtle flavour to the proceedings.

The steak was a good enough size, although I always think the bigger the better, and was cooked to perfection, exactly as per my order (medium rare, of course).

I washed this down with a glass of always-excellent Malbec, which was £6.10 for 250ml.

My wife opted for the vegetarian burger combined with a glass of Pinot (175ml, £4.20).

The burger was made up of chickpea patties and grilled halloumi cheese and was more than enough (£11).

By the time we’d finished with that lot, there was sadly no room for the cheese board, so we ordered a couple of Americano coffees (£2.20) and shared an ice cream, which was £6 for three flavours.

The white chocolate was the pick of our selection, which also included strawberry and vanilla, and was a nice way to round off a satisfying and hearty meal.

It was homemade and completely delicious.

The service was good and brisk without ever feeling like we were being rushed and the pub offers a huge range of after-dinner drinks as well as more than 30 whiskys to help ease the digestion process.

We will definitely visit The Walnut Tree Inn again, but would next time order something different and certainly find room for a starter.

The food at this outpost restaurant is fully deserving of an award.

The only problem was that we couldn’t eat enough of it...

The Walnut Tree Inn

22 Station Road, Blisworth

NN7 3DS

01604 948904

VALUE: Good

FOOD: Very Good

SERVICE: Excellent

DISABLED ACCESS: Very Good

PARKING: Yes

TOTAL COST: £53.55

STAR RATING: 8/10